Practice Pizzazz Violin Studio
Based on the Suzuki Method’s main tenet that every child can learn to play the violin, the Practice Pizzazz Violin Studio is a top-notch pedagogical program designed to help kids of all ages succeed in music.
Caitlin Smith, the program’s director, has been teaching violin for fifteen years. She holds a Master of Music in violin performance with distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, a Bachelor of Music in violin performance with Honors from Brigham Young University, and teacher training in all ten Suzuki books.
Within the studio are two tracks: the Suzuki School for beginner and intermediate players (Suzuki Books 1–4) and Young Artists for advanced and pre-professional players (Suzuki Book 5–major standard concertos). Student ages range from 4 to adult.
The program includes individual lessons, enrichment classes, group performance classes, guest master classes, parent education, innovative pedagogy and technology, and opportunities for advanced students. All lessons, classes, and events take place on the Zoom platform to connect with students in any location.
All students receive weekly individual lessons where they develop a one-on-one relationship with the teacher, develop crucial skills, and receive individual attention and instruction tailored just to them. The learning environment is positive and encouraging. The student’s needs always come first.
Each term includes several enrichment classes where students on the Suzuki School track from all over join in the violin fun. Enrichment classes build a sense of community, facilitate active and hands-on learning, and give students a complete musical education. Kids learn about non-classical genres, compose their own music, learn to improvise, and study music history.
And they are always fun! Enrichment classes for 2020–2021 include Musical Zoo Field Trip, Violin Spooktacular, Treble-Clef Chefs, Going Bach in Time, Suzuki Escape Room, Movie Music Premiere, and Suzuki Play-In.
Check out the 2020–2021 studio calendar here.
Group performance classes
In group performance class, students of all ages get together to play for each other, learn to give and receive meaningful feedback, overcome any performance anxiety, and enjoy sharing music with their peers.
Guest master classes
Caitlin is an active performer and still practices daily, just like her students! In her career and studies as a professional violinist, she has had opportunities to collaborate with some of the world’s finest performers and pedagogues. Caitlin is thrilled to be able to provide her advanced students with opportunities to perform for and receive feedback from professional musicians around the globe. These opportunities help students on the Young Artists track prepare for competitions, auditions, and performances and expose them to new perspectives. A limited number of students may be chosen to perform in guest master classes, but all students are encouraged to watch, learn, and support their peers.
Guest clinicians for 2020–2021 will be announced in September.
Helping your child grow into an accomplished musician can be a roller coaster. As with any worthwhile endeavor, being a practice parent can be incredibly rewarding, but the journey is not without frustrations. Parents of students in the Practice Pizzazz Violin Studio are never alone in their journey. One workshop per term is specifically for parents to learn new information, get inspired, ask questions, and connect with other parents.
Parents may also feel intimidated by the violin itself–tuning, slipping pegs, getting the bow rehaired–you name it. All families receive access to Caitlin’s online course, Violin Repair & Care, which walks parents and students through exactly how to keep the violin in tiptop shape so students can sound their best.
Innovative pedagogy and technology
In the traditional learning model, the teacher presents new material during lesson time, then has the student reinforce the material at home alone–but at home alone is normally when students could use guidance the most. In the flipped learning model, however, students are introduced to new material via technology at home, where they can take as much time as they need to absorb the new information, then reinforce with the teacher during lesson time.
In the Practice Pizzazz Violin Studio, we integrate flipped learning by using SmartMusic as a practice tool. All students receive personalized note-reading assignments via their SmartMusic accounts. Students can record their assignments and receive instant feedback on their pitch and rhythm. No more frustrations practicing the same few lines for a whole week and finding out at the next lesson that the notes and rhythms are wrong. SmartMusic allows students to move at their own pace.
All the Suzuki violin music is also on SmartMusic, so students can check that their pitch and rhythm are correct, receive instant feedback on exactly what parts to fix, work at any tempo, and practice with professional piano accompaniment parts.
By using SmartMusic at home, students free up lesson time to focus on technique, musicality, and whatever they need help with the most.
Opportunities for advanced students
Caitlin’s current and former students have won first prizes in music competitions and chairs in honors and all-state orchestras. Caitlin provides opportunities for serious students to make connections and get a taste for professional experiences. In 2019, one of Caitlin’s advanced high school students performed on stage alongside Caitlin in an international musicology conference in Scotland.
Schedule your free consultation
Every student is eligible for admission to the Practice Pizzazz Violin Studio, regardless of location, prior experience, or age. Interested in joining our community? Contact me by filling out the form below.