By 1971, Mrs. DiCecco, the founder of the Suzuki Program, was well established as one of the few teachers in the United States working with Dr. Suzuki’s ideas. Shortly afterwards, she was approached by twenty families seeking Suzuki instruction for their children in Long Island. This interest set the stage for an experimental Suzuki program.
Suzuki teachers use the ‘Mother Tongue’ method, which Dr. Suzuki devised while he was observing how children learn language. He reckoned that imitation and repetition could be used to learn music – and behavior. ‘I want to make good citizens,’ Suzuki said. ‘If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart. Suzuki’s big idea was that, long before the children look at music written down, they listen to it and repeat it. Every day. Until they’re singing the repertoire in their sleep.
This experimental program proved to be so successful that by its second year it had grown to fifty students and moved to its original space at the Queensborough Community College, Queens .
In 2004, when the program’s enrollment reached in the hundreds, it moved into its current location at 22 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola at the same time expanding its facility by relocating all of its group classes to a concert hall size room and group teaching rooms at the Ethical Humanist Society in Garden City, Long Island.
The program has been Long Island’s premiere Suzuki-based music school, providing outstanding instrumental instruction to thousands of children, by professionally trained teachers to hundreds of graduates from the world’s finest conservatories. In agreement with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s ideas, the School’s philosophy is that through the study of music, all children can achieve beyond their expectations. By fostering close collaboration between parents, teachers, and students, the School aims to build the love of music, self-confidence, discipline, good work habits, and outstanding achievement in every student.
When people think of Suzuki, they still think of the mass formations of three year-olds, lined up in matching outfits, playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in unison on the violin (the tune is played by the traffic lights in Matsumoto, in Suzuki’s honor). But that’s the Japanese way… in Long Island, it’s more about individuality.
The reason people come to the “Virtuoso Suzuki Academy” is not just to have fun but, by our children’s pursuit of music, to make the world a better place…. and for a child, learning music is just huge.