Ottawa Suzuki Strings’ (OSS) school year is 37 weeks beginning Labour Day and ending the first full week of June with 2 weeks off in December – January for the winter break and one week off for the March break. The schedule for the year is published on the Google calendar on the Ottawa Suzuki Strings website. Click below for descriptions of the various programs offered. A Parent Handbook is available at the beginning of each year with more details.
Ottawa Suzuki Strings teachers teach private lessons from their homes in various locations in Ottawa and Gatineau as well as at a studio in Kanata at the Beaverbrook Mall. Private lessons are scheduled at a time agreed upon between the parent and teacher. Lessons typically start at 30 minutes and are usually increased in increments of 15 minutes as the students become more advanced.
OSS’ philosophy is nurturing personal excellence. All OSS teachers are highly trained and strive to nurture personal excellence in all their students. The better a student can play an instrument, the more they will enjoy it.
Group classes are held Monday nights at Woodroffe High School from 6:15-8:30PM. No classes are scheduled on holiday Mondays.
Two Playdown/Potlucks are held every year. The first is held at Woodroffe High School on the last Monday night in December before the winter break and the second is held at a local church the last Monday night of the year in June. This is a chance for the school to come together to hear individual group performances and the powerful effect of the entire school joining together to make music, from the Pre-Twinkle students to Stellae Boreales.
Beginners (Pre-Twinklers) have one class from 6:15-6:55PM. Once a student is in Suzuki Book 1, they have an instrumental group class and Rhythmic Reading class (basic theory). Theory is offered up to the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Book 5 level.
Group classes are an integral part of the Suzuki method. Students participate in regular group class lessons where they learn from and are motivated by their peers. They learn to play as a team in unison following the leader (group class teacher). Skills learned in private lessons are reinforced in group class. Review of repertoire is essential for Suzuki music students. When a young child learns new words, they don’t master them and never say them again. They repeat them over and over and become a part of the child’s vocabulary. The Suzuki pieces should be acquired in the same way. Group class provides an opportunity for review in a group setting of earlier repertoire. Suzuki students are able to perform old familiar pieces at a moment’s notice, providing a boost to a student’s confidence.
Ottawa Suzuki Strings has two Junior Performance Groups: Fine Tuners (violin) and Guitar Performance Group (guitar). Students hone their ensemble playing skills in unison in the Books 1-4 classes. In the Junior Performance Groups, they play music in 2 and 3 parts, all from memory. The groups have coaches but the students learn to start leading themselves within sections. Students must be at a certain level as outlined in audition requirements to join the Junior Performance Groups. These groups rehearse for 1.5 hours and are a stepping stone to the Senior Performance Groups.
Ottawa Suzuki Strings has a well established senior violin performance group named Stellae Boreales. Students must be at the level as outlined by audition requirements to be accepted into Stellae Boreales. Stellae Boreales performs music in two and three parts at a higher level of difficulty than the Junior Performance Group. Along with performances in the local community, Stellae Boreales tours annually both nationally and internationally. Previous tours have included Victoria BC, China, New York, Iceland, Washington, Cuba, Minneapolis, Stratford ON and Argentina. Stellae Boreales rehearses 2 hours with coaches but the students lead themselves in performance.
Ottawa Suzuki Strings offers theory classes as part of the Monday night group class program from the basic Rhythmic Reading level to the Royal Conservatory of Music Level 7.
The OSS theory program complements students’ musical development at every level. Students will benefit from the deeper understanding of music that theory studies provide.
Ottawa Suzuki Strings has a vibrant presence in the community. Students have the opportunity to perform in groups at various venues in the community including the National Arts Centre, Ottawa International Children’s Festival, Kiwanis Music Festival, Music & Beyond, Libraries, Embassies and Seniors’ Residences.
Students perform with piano in two OSS private studio recitals in winter and spring. Studio recitals are held at Trinity United Church.
These special events motivate the students to practice. Dressing in their concert attire and preparing themselves for a performance further develops the students’ confidence and pride.