It's beyond music

Preparation and Observation

Lesson Observation

Children observingObservation is the beginning of your musical studies with your child. It gives you an opportunity to meet and talk to Suzuki parents and is the best way for you to find out about the method and what your role as a parent would be. It also gives you a chance to watch different teachers and to assess whose approach might best suit you and your child. For this reason, we require all new families to observe group lessons for at least one term. You may also arrange to observe individual lessons.

Group lessons take place most Wednesday afternoons during term time at Lauderdale House.

Beginner violin groups start at 3.55 and progress through to the most advanced groups, which finish by 7 pm.

You are welcome to observe any group class as often as you like and there is no charge. An observer's register is kept in Pink Group, which meets at 3.55 in the Lower Gallery. Please sign it each time you come and fill in the application form so that we can contact you after your period of observation.

You will need to observe group lessons for at least a term before being eligible for an opening with one of the teachers.

Children who participate in the group classes all have a private Suzuki teacher. We wish to stress that the Suzuki method is NOT a group teaching method and all children must learn with a Suzuki trained teacher. Each child has weekly individual lessons (usually at their teacher's house) and these are supplemented by the group lesson and musicianship classes at Lauderdale.

Required Reading

It is vital that prospective parents understand the philosophical basis of the teaching method that they have chosen for their child, in this case, the Suzuki method. Therefore we feel that all parents should read "Nurtured by Love" and/or "Ability Development from Age Zero" by Shinichi Suzuki.

These books can be obtained by mail order from the British Suzuki Institute (BSI).  The shop is open from 9.30 - 12.30, Monday to Friday and the telephone number is 020 3176 4172. You may also find them in your local library or online.


Having read Dr. Suzuki's books and started observing classes, we would like you to start daily listening to the CD of the Suzuki repertoire of your chosen instrument. This can be obtained from the British Suzuki Institute or online. We recommend you start listening to the Book One recording as early as possible. You can buy the book, with the CD included, which will be needed once you start lessons.

Please get into the habit of playing the CD every day so that you and your child become familiar with the repertoire.


We run a special class for little children before they learn an instrument. This is called Sumics and is taught by Patty Richards Armstrong.  Find out more here.

Suzuki Stars

Suzuki Stars is a Suzuki early childhood education class offered for 0-3 year-olds. It is taught by Mallory Hamm and Amy Cluggish and runs eight weeks per term at 2 pm in the Upper Gallery. Please visit for more information.

Practice Preparation

In order to prepare yourself for the time when you will need to practise daily with your child, it would be extremely helpful if you could set aside a small amount of time every day to do an activity together, for example, reading, painting or doing a puzzle.

Starting Individual Lessons

Mallory Hamm is the coordinator for families observing at Lauderdale House. After the end of each term, she will refer to the register and contact families who have observed the required number of sessions during the previous term. Please be aware that although a term of lesson observation is the minimum requirement for observation families often observe much longer because of the high demand for available private lesson slots. When a lesson time does become available, it might not be one that will suit you best and it may mean taking your child out of school for a while or re-arranging your schedule. Because many teachers teach 40 or more students per week it is impossible to give everyone a lesson at the most popular times such as just after school, therefore we advise you to take the time offered or it may be impossible to arrange lessons for your child. Private lessons are offered based on the age and readiness of each child with consideration given to how long you've been observing group classes.


The teachers are very busy on Wednesday afternoons and unfortunately do not have enough time to answer all your questions. We encourage you to speak to parents in our group, either at the Lauderdale House Cafe or in classes, some of whom have been involved in the Suzuki Method for many years, who will be very willing to answer your questions and tell you about their experiences! If you have any questions for our teachers please contact Charlotte Clemson, the Lauderdale administrator, who will be happy to pass your question on.