About the TCSA
Elements of the Curriculum
Guided by a parent for the first several years, TCSA students practice violin daily at home. Daily practice is a valuable time for the parent and child to connect, overcome obstacles together, and share in the joy of learning. In the beginning stages, the daily practice assignment may only take 30 minutes to complete. As the student progresses and develops a larger attention span, the practice time increases.
As is the case with spoken language, music is learned most effectively through immersion. Families in the TCSA create an environment of musical immersion by:
1. Listening to assigned recordings several times a day (in the background
during household activities, while driving in the car, etc.)
2. Listening to other fine violin recordings in the family’s music collection
3. Attending concerts (The Twin Cities is fortunate to have two world-class
orchestras – The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber
Orchestra. They offer a wide variety of concerts for all ages.)
These are environmental sources of talent. By creating musical immersion, families are giving their children the gift of talent.
TCSA students receive weekly individual lessons in which new skills are introduced and old skills are refined. Beginning students receive 30-minute lessons, and as they progress, the lesson time increases accordingly.
During individual lessons, the parent learns how to guide the student in daily practice at home. The parent does not need to have any prior musical knowledge, as all the necessary information will be covered in the lesson. One of the main goals of the TCSA curriculum is for students to learn how to learn. Over time, as students develop reliable technique and problem-solving skills, their growing independence is encouraged and less direct parental guidance is needed.
Each week, TCSA students observe the individual lesson of at least one other student. This is a valuable time for students to see the learning process from a different perspective, gain motivation, and discover new insights to make practice more effective.
On Saturday mornings, the entire String Academy community comes together for group lessons. As we prepare for group performances, students develop the skills of playing violin in an ensemble, leading a group, and following a leader. Group lessons also reinforce skills learned in individual lessons, such as musicality, tone production, music reading and music theory.
Saturday mornings are an opportunity for students and families to build a community based on trust in which they encourage, advise, motivate, and support each other in their common endeavors.
Performing is an essential part of musical development and is a powerful gift to society. TCSA students perform in frequent solo recitals, group concerts, and special events such as Family Day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and pop-up concerts at the Midtown Global Market. Every year students have the opportunity to graduate from one or more levels of the Suzuki Method and perform with their peers from across Minnesota. Students are also encouraged to create their own performance opportunities - performing in schools, faith communities, nursing homes, or giving concerts for friends and family.
"Good talent grows where good method and good efforts are present."
- Shinichi Suzuki
© Twin Cities String Academy; Suzuki Method violin instruction; violin lessons in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota