Penfield Central School District

Suzuki Program Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Penfield Central School District’s music program has gained national and international attention for many years. From general classroom music to band, orchestra, chorus, jazz choir and more, the District’s robust program allows students to explore their musical talents in many different ways. Perhaps one of the most unique opportunities offered in the District is the Suzuki Strings program, which allows students to begin string lessons in first grade. The program is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2015-16 school year.

The Suzuki program began in Penfield in the fall of 1966 with Project SUPER. SU stood for Suzuki, P for Penfield Central School District, E for Eastman School of Music, and R for Rochester City School District. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki visited a few times each year for the first two years to work with the teachers and students in those three locations. Twenty-five first grade Penfield students started Suzuki violin during the first year. Cello was added a couple of years later, followed by viola. Over the past 50 years, the program has grown to more than 300 students.

The Suzuki method of teaching is unique in that it requires direct parental involvement. Parents attend lessons and learn string instruments right along with their child. They provide support and work with the child on practicing between lessons. In this way, through encouragement and repetition, the children learn to play the instrument, while building upon the repertoire of music they master.

The Suzuki program provides many opportunities for students to showcase their learning at school-based and district concerts throughout the year. In addition to these concerts, an alumni concert and a special 50th Anniversary Concert will be held in April.


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