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Lessons in the Willey Studio

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.” – Shinichi Suzuki –
Interested in Suzuki Music Lessons?

Here are several articles and letters I’ve written about the Willey Studio.

What is the Suzuki Method?
Dear Mrs. ____________,
Thanks for your questions. I use the Suzuki Method, which is a way to teach violin and other instruments by ear to small children. The younger they start, the better, but usually formal lessons begin about 3 – 5. Older, non-Suzuki beginners (9-14) do indeed move faster, but sometimes by sacrificing the fabulous tone, intonation, and impeccable “ear” that Suzuki kids acquire. At age 2-6, they usually observe for 2-12 months, then “twinkle” for a year, (that’s the first piece in the books) and take another year to get through book one. My own son took four years to get through book one, but did book 2, book 3, and piano book 1 all in the next year. He was through all 10 violin books and the four bass books by age 12. He was selected for the Orchestra at Temple Square at age 13 in 7th grade, was principal bass in All State Orchestra five years in a row, in National High School Honors Orchestra, won full scholarships to college, and this year won 1st place in the ASTA International Solo competition. So starting so young is not unreasonable.

I’m not only fully-trained to teach violin and viola, and several books in cello and bass, but am also a Suzuki Association of America’s Registered Teacher Trainer. I am fully committed to the Suzuki method; I won’t ever teach another way. Yes, it is difficult to get into my studio, but right now I have one-two openings for a beginner on Friday. You and your child need to observe lessons for about 4 months, 8 full hours, or more for younger children, at no cost to you. This can be accomplished faster than four months if you choose. One lady and her son came every day and did it in one week. Also you need to read two books, Nurtured by Love by Dr. Suzuki, (and borrow my video to see the movie with your husband and older children,) and then Easy Steps to Music Reading by myself. That is available on the website.

You need also to call and phone interview about 4-5 mothers regarding being a Suzuki mother in my studio. You take notes and send me results via email. I am quite a demanding and exacting Suzuki teacher and I want you to know exactly what you are getting into before you do it. There is a one year commitment.

To get started, email me for a few mothers’s numbers so you can call, get the first book to read, and let’s get you set up to observe the first lesson. Let me know if you have questions.
Janilyn: Thanks for your question. Here is some info in a nutshell:
Talent Education (“Suzuki”) violin lessons, started by the late Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, of Japan, teaches small children to play musical instruments. The method was brought to the USA in the sixties. They also have piano, viola, cello, bass, organ, recorder, flute, voice, guitar, harp, and are starting an oboe program, I hear.

The children learn mostly by listening to a recording on CD (or now ipod) of the songs they are going to play. It’s sort of rote learning, but more “by ear.” There are 10 volumes of Suzuki literature, usually finished in the early teens. I am a maverick in the Utah Suzuki world, because I also teach my young students to read music, so they will be ready for orchestra. The mother is heavily involved in practicing at home, and taking notes at the lessons; in fact we frequently talk about the “Suzuki Triangle”, with the student, parent, and teacher being equal partners. The teachers are trained in how to teach infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. I started my own children at 3, 2, 18 months, and even 12 months. You might have seen the groups of children playing the violin very well on the news or at special events. The children review old pieces extensively, take tiny bites of learning when they learn new pieces and repeat sections ad infinitum. They move slowly at first, setting a firm foundation, turning on the speed later, so that we have 12 year olds who play pieces you might have found college and even conservatory students playing in the olden days.

We have a group class each month or so, to work with and listen to others play, including the more advanced children, and especially to perform with an accompanist every month, so they become seasoned performers. It’s fabulous for their poise, self esteem, and stage presence. The students memorize everything they play.

Observation of other lessons is also a big part of the program. Besides the 8 hours of observation before you start, you also have to observe another child’s lesson for a year after you begin lessons, usually the one right before your lesson, or right after.

You might explore Suzuki Association of Utah, and Suzuki Association of the Americas on the internet. Just google it. There is a large community of Suzuki children in American and in Utah, particularly. The children learn more than music, as self-discipline, memory skills, industry, poise, self-confidence, problem solving, respect for adults, obedience, etc. are built right into the program. Suzuki kids virtually ALWAYS make superb students at school. Really, Suzuki is character training, with learning to play an instrument and appreciate fine music as lovely by-products. Children (and mothers) learn consistency, perseverance, tenacity, and also wonderful mind and memory skills, building their brains and spirits. Suzuki said, “…he gets a beautiful heart.” In addition, we have an orchestra program at American Heritage School which is world class. I require all of my late book one students to participate in orchestra. There are no exceptions, so be prepared to sacrifice Wednesday afternoons.

You are welcome to come and observe my lessons free of charge to see what it’s like, and if you think it would fit your family dynamics. I’ll attach my teaching schedule. I have a WONDERFUL family with a little 8-year-old boy violist, a four-year old pre-schooler, and an 11- year old sister violinist, plus a 10 year old who takes cello from my daughter. A five year old generally needs to observe (with his mother) for about two months prior to being placed on my waiting list. If you came another day of the week, and never missed, you could cut that time in half, one month. We could start up lessons in the fall. There is another fabulous family w/ a 5 year old (girl), and a 6 year old also. Their baby, a two year old, takes cello from my daughter also.

In addition to the observations, you have to do some “homework” to get into my studio. You need to call and phone interview 4-5 of my students’ mothers to find out what it’s like being a Suzuki Mother in my studio. You are also welcome to call any or all, just to get the inside story. I believe they will take a few minutes to explain the Suzuki method from the mothers’ point of view, and give you an idea of what it involves. IMPORTANT: Please call the mother you want to observe on the morning of the lesson so you don’t make a trip for nothing. You can bring books or quiet toys for your child, but they mustn’t play w/ the studio toys until after they start regular lessons; otherwise there gets to be too much of a circus atmosphere.

I’m starting a “Twinkle” class in August for the beginners. (Twinkle Little Star Variations is the first piece in the book,) a 45-60 minute class with three little children and three mothers splitting the lesson. This is the most effective way for the little ones to start. Some might get 20 minutes one week and 5 minutes the next, but they all learn from each other, even though you pay for just part of the time. They practice at home (mother is in charge) for 2-10 minutes a day at first, and gradually add on more skills and more time. When they are ready, each student and mother will go on to a regular 1/2 hour private lesson and continue to observe another child for at least a year.

Besides the observations, you would need to read the book Nurtured by Love, and see the DVD, (I have both if you would like to borrow them.) You should also read my paperback book, Easy Steps to Music Reading & watch the DVD. Also before you start you must also listen to the Violin or Viola CD for 100 hours, (that can be done day or night.) It takes less than two weeks. You should purchase the appropriate Suzuki books and CD. Make sure it’s the new revised edition, which has the CD right in w/ the back of the book for less $$$. You should also purchase my I LOVE To Read Music! Primer, Flash cards, and Sight Reading for Strings, all available at Day-Murray Music (1 866) 329 1946 in Lehi, or Best in Music on 800 North just west of State Street in Orem ,but call them first. You can also peruse the website: and order from them. Finally you need to buy or rent a tiny violin, viola, cello, or bass. I definitely recommend buying if you have younger children. You won’t want to give back this tiny fiddle. Charles Liu’s, 1800 260 5818, 7440 South State, Midvale, has quality instruments at extremely low prices, and a good trade in policy if you want to rent. Summerhays in Orem also has excellent quality instruments. I’ll be happy to measure your child so you can get the right size. We have an extensive bass rental pool of good basses, for the smaller sizes. I HIGHLY recommend that you rent instead of buy basses.

If you are interested in other instrument lessons, I am very interested in your family! I can teach violin, viola, cello or bass, and I have my six (adult) children who teach violin, viola, bass, & cello. All are trained Suzuki teachers. My older daughter, Kristina, (violin or viola), who taught at BYU, is getting a doctorate at Univ. of Michigan, but will be home this summer. Catherine (cello) is at 494 7954, just returned from her mission and has a wonderful studio of young cellists. Beka teaches violin and viola, here in Pleasant Grove or Lehi. 801 361 4884. She is on full music scholarship at college, in violin and voice. Elizabeth has been teaching cello for 15 years, and is fully-trained, but she has three babies under two years old, so she is not taking students at this time. Alexander teaches violin and bass, 717 7302, but is in the military service. Anthony (bass) is at 472 2660, but just moved to Seattle.

Let’s see, other activities: I have group lessons once a month, a recital twice a year, four orchestra concerts a year, plus there are wonderful activities in the larger Suzuki community, (don’t miss Terry Durbin next Oct; he is FABULOUS), and Suzuki Institute in June, a week-long day camp for Suzuki students and mothers. There is a bass and a viola workshop every fall. There are “play-ins”, fiddling activities, graduations, etc. put on by our Utah County association, and a massive “Celebration” every five years (October 2015) which features thousands of Suzuki students in Utah, every instrument, at the LDS Conference Center in SLC. We have an orchestra program for students, ages 6-18, starting at the end of Book 1- through “out of the books” teens, who play music which I played at the University. It is right here close at American Heritage School, a BEAUTIFUL facility in American Fork across the street from Mt. Timpanogos Temple. Our orchestra kids have been principals at All-State Orchestra, have won the state fair competition, have been selected for National High School Honors Orchestra, and there are 14 former students in the Orchestra at Temple Square. They are REALLY well-trained in our orchestras. I require all post-book 1 students to play in our youth orchestra program, and attend a quality summer camp or Suzuki Institute, so do plan on that involvement. For younger students there is the Mini Mountains & Strings, a fabulous program in southern Idaho where I teach, or a local camp, Timp Chamber Orchestra.

Best of all, we have started our own advanced orchestra camp, the Lyceum Music Festival-YOUTH, this summer Aug 3-8, ages 9-16, & approximate level, Book 3-out of the Suzuki books. It features full orchestra music, a Symphony, John Williams movie music, and the greats of string orchestra literature, all taught right there on the American Heritage campus. Advanced students won’t want to miss it. They have some scholarship help available.

Check with me email regarding my teaching fee. You can remit by the 1st day of the month and receive the “early bird discount” of $10, a $120 annual savings. The rate and savings increase as the lesson time increases. My fee includes all my hours of lesson work, not just the private and group lesson time. Anthony (bass) is about $80/month, Eliz’s and Kristina’s are about the same as mine, Catherine is $75, and Beka is $65, Alex is $70. All are Suzuki Teacher-Trained.

I hope this gives you a bigger picture of the gift you can give to your children through Suzuki lessons. Again I say, it’s a FABULOUS way to raise your family.

May I ask you some personal questions? Do you work outside the home? Where do you live? Do you have other children? Do they go to school? What is your phone # and address? What does your husband do? Is he on board w/ Suzuki lessons? Are your children involved in other activities, dance, sports, piano, etc.? Please answer these before you proceed further with lessons in my studio.
Let me know what you decide. Sincerely, DW

For Cello
Dear Mrs. ____ I am so excited for you. The Suzuki method is a WONDERFUL way to enhance child rearing.

Catherine can be reached regarding cello lessons at (801) 494 7954, or here at 796 9391. Or, you may email her at cawilley92 I’ve copied her on this email.

The easiest way to find a little cello or bass is to come here and let us “fit” him. We have some instruments available in our rental pool, mostly small basses, and some celli and violas. To purchase, go to Summerhays Music (1006 S. State in Orem), or Charles Liu’s, 1-(800) 260 5818, at 7450 So. State in Midvale. Just take 72nd S. exit from I-15, go east (right) to State, and south (right again), 2 1/2 blocks. It’s on the right-hand (west) side of the street. We deal a lot w/ Liu’s because of his extremely liberal trade-up policy (nearly 100%) for larger sizes, but Summerhays has excellent quality instruments. Adam Day at DayMurray Music in Lehi also has a fine policy. We would really love to size him, maybe even this weekend, so you’ll know exactly what to get. You need to ask for a cello which has been rented out many, many times, not a brand new, shiny, expensive one. I have students who were able to rent for a mere $20 a month instead of the usual $40 or $50. You should also pick up at the instrument shop: a rock -stop, (the “Stoppin” by Super Sensitive (get the large one), the “black hole” kind, or the strap kind are the best. You might also want to pick up a folding music stand. We have a few used stands we can sell you for $5. I might even have an old rock stop to give you. If you can possibly afford a hard cello case, they are SO much more protective. The old fashioned cello bags are barely worth the term protective. Even a larger (but light-weight) case can be padded with a pillow. We loved the ones w/ wheels. I’d get the most expensive Korg metronome you can find, with the wood block sound instead of the electronic beep sound. I’ve tried them all and this is the only one I’d buy again.

You should also pick up (at Day Murray Music (150 E Main in Lehi,) Best in Music (800 No Orem, west of State behind Zion’s Bank,) the following:

Suzuki Cello School, book 1
” ” piano accomp., bk 1 (Do you play? If not, get it anyway, ok?)
” ” CD, bk 1

Because of his age, he will need the following three items very soon:

I LOVE to Read Music! Primer (cello, of course)
” ” ” ” Flash Cards
” ” ” ” Sight Reading for Strings.
“ “ “ “ Easy Steps to Music Reading, paperback and DVD

Though we are trained and teach the Suzuki Method, we are fanatic about teaching the children to read music, in order to play in our orchestras asap. I teach one of the “prep” orchestras there at American Heritage School, and when the students can already read, it makes their job (and yours & mine!) much easier and more rewarding. They become some of the few “reading Suzuki kids” in the world.

Even though you are the grandmother, since you will do the Suzuki mothering, you will need to read: Nurtured by Love, by Shinichi Suzuki, and borrow and view my video, same title. You should also purchase and read my lesson manual (about $9.) I will also attach a document that tells a little about the Suzuki method to get you started. You will probably want to observe a few lessons before you start, and for at least a year after you start (maybe the lesson right before yours on Thursday. This makes good progress inevitable.

Best wishes to you and Parker. You sound like a WONDERFUL woman and grandmother. I can’t wait to meet you. I hold you in the highest esteem, and wish you had another little grandchild to take viola or violin with me!

Other Teachers in the Willey Studios

Catherine, cello, started teaching when she was 13, and has taken books 1-5, of Suzuki teacher training. She is a student of Classical Studies (Latin emphasis) at BYU, in her 3rd year, with a music minor. She was in the BYU Phil up there. She was principal cellist of All-State Orchestra all four years, as well as three national orchestras, and w/ our local youth symphony, the Lyceum Philharmonic for all six years. She’s played with Orchestra at Temple Square since she was in 8th grade. She soloed with the Utah Symphony a total of six times, as well as w/ 13 other orchestras, including at Mt. Rushmore, where she soloed for a world audience. She also played in the National HS Honors Orchestra. She has a wonderful stable of students and is SO cute with them. I ALWAYS recommend that families with more than one child wanting music lessons to put the sibs on different stringed instruments. That way they can play WITH each other, but the green monster of jealousy and sibling rivalry doesn’t show its ugly head so often. She’s at about $80/month, again that’s a guess. Teaches here in PG. cawilley92 801 494 7954

Anthony, my older son, has the largest Suzuki bass studio in Utah. He’s married and lives in Provo. He’s just finished his masters at BYU in Physics, teaching classes at the Y. He’s also a credentialed piano tuner and technician, and has actually built a harpsichord. He was principal bass in All-State Orchestra for two years, went to National HS Honors Orchestra in Columbus, and has been in Orchestra at Temple Square almost from the beginning. He has a kind and gentle personality, and the kids and parents just LOVE him. He only teaches a few days/week: Saturday mornings he’s in Pleasant Grove near AHS, and late a.m.s/afternoons on Sat. he travels to teach in SLC. On Mondays and Tuesdays he teaches in Provo. Young bassists are ALWAYS needed, always wanted, always coddled, always loved, because there are NEVER enough of them, and when they take lessons and stick with it, it’s a guaranteed scholarship, not just to college, but to orchestra camps, etc. Bass guitar uses the same fingerings and strings, so in jr. high and high school they can be in demand for the jazz bands. They are very versatile. Adjwilley 472 2660, about $85/month also. They are moving to Seattle for graduate school Aug.’13.

Rebekah, violin and viola, in her first year at BYU, and teaches in Orem and here in Pleasant Grove and Lehi. Beka has not yet finished the teacher training, but is taking it now, and will finish book 3 and 4 by next summer. She has soloed with Utah Symphony a record 8 times, was the concert master of All State in 9th grade, a first for Utah. She won the state fair and many other competitions dozens of times. She’s been concert master in her youth symphony at American Heritage, the Lyceum Phil, (high school aged), since she was twelve years old. She went to the National HS Honors Orchestra in Atlanta. She also studies voice. Her lower rates reflect her experience in teaching, about $65/month.

Alexander is taking teacher training in violin, but has been teaching bass for years. He has won first place in the NATIONAL ASTA solo bass competition, and was principal bass in All-State High School Orchestra all 5 years, even in 8th grade. He was accepted for Orchestra at Temple Square when he was in 7th grade, at age 13, and has literally played principal in almost every orchestra he has ever joined. 801 717 7302. He lives and teaches in Provo, and may teach here on Sat morning.

Elizabeth Marsh is the principal cellist in the Orchestra at Temple Square. She has been teaching since she was 10 years old, and lives and teaches in Lehi. She has a degree in cello performance from the University of Southern California, Mack Wilberg’s alma mater. She just returned this spring from a mission in Italy and got married just before Christmas. She has three babies under age 18 months, so she is suspending her teaching for a while. I believe she charges about what I do, perhaps a tad more.

Kristina, violin and viola, has a masters in viola performance at BYU, and taught there at Provo. She has been teaching since she was 13 years old, and has taken up through book 4 in official Suzuki Teacher Training. She was principal violist in the BYU Phil and Chamber Orchestras, and in her undergraduate work at BYU-I. She was principal violist of All-State Orchestra twice, and the Debut Orchestra in Beverly Hills. She has been a member of Orchestra at Temple Square since she was 14 years old, has played the national radio broadcast of “From the Top,” and soloed with the Utah Symphony, and 14 other orchestras. She’s getting her DMA at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her Suzuki students are very excellent, because she is quite “fussy.” Putting one of your children on viola is one of the best things you could do for him/her. Violists are SO needed in today’s orchestra world. There are never enough of them. Violas and basses: always needed. I think she charges about $95/month, but that is a guess. She teaches here on Mondays. Email: Kristina Willey . So there are many teachers to choose from in this studio.

If you want to get your 5-year-old on my waiting list, email me, and I’ll forward you some information. Good luck in your Suzuki endeavors. It’s a great way to raise your family.


Required to be on my waiting list:
8 hours of observation by you and your child
Read Nurtured by Love and watch the video
Phone interview 4-5 mothers and report findings to me via email
Answer questions above in yellow via email
Read lesson manual ($9)
Read Easy Steps to Music Reading, which has an overview of my philosophy, and
watch the DVD. Both available on website.
Plan to take orchestra by the end of book 1.
Plan to take summer camp.
Listen to 100 hours of the Book 1 CD .
Procure an instrument (sized by me)
Procure all books, Suzuki & I Love To Read Music books and flash cards.
Make sure husband is on board. I require a one-year financial commitment.

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