Private lessons are held in my home studio located in Westminster, Maryland. Group classes are held at the Westminster Church of the Brethren. Westminster Suzuki Strings is a safe space that nurtures young violinists into artists. Group classes, private lessons, whole studio play-ins and recitals are offered to provide a robust musical education. Our studio is a community, therefore it’s important that families attend all events to foster friendship and compassion in the studio.
Ideology and philosophy that aims to dehumanize are not compatible with the Suzuki Philosophy. We do not tolerate ideas or dehumanizing behavior in the studio. Immediate dismissal will result for any behavior or communication that is racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, xenophobic, etc.
Students meet weekly at a regularly scheduled time to refine personal skills. Students learn what and how to practice. Students expected to practice 5-6 days per week for a time equal to that of their private lesson. Pre-Twinkle students practice 5-6 days per week for a number of minutes equal to their age, working up to 15 minutes daily until 30 minutes daily when graduated to the Twinkle Program. Parents attend lessons and take notes until the child is middle school aged.
Groups rotate through the following types of classes always meeting on Wednesday evenings at the church. Consult the calendar in MMS for exact dates and class type:
- Repertoire Class
- Rotates between Twinkle classes & Book 1+.
- Master class
- Piano Rehearsal Class
On average students can expect to attend one, book level specific repertoire class and one whole studio class each month.
Group classes are essential in the development of young musicians and are vital to the Suzuki Philosophy. Group class is an umbrella term that means any event that is not a private lesson, formal recital or concert. I’m terms of attendance, group class is given the same weight as the private lesson. Students learn to collaborate, communicate and develop sensitivity for the needs of fellow students. Group classes are a mix of whole studio events and book level specific events.
A Repertoire class is our level specific class. (Pre-twinkle, Twinkle, Book 1, Book 2, etc.) Repertoire classes provide motivation for students; all pieces within that level are played at each class. Students strive to work hard between classes to learn a new piece so they can play it with the group at the next Repertoire class. Students learn ensemble skills such as listening, team work and cooperation. Technical ideas introduced in private lessons are reinforced. Pre-views are given for upcoming repertoire; observant students may learn something about an upcoming piece. Repertoire classes are divided by book level. 3-5 Repertoire classes held per quarter (3 months) on a rotational schedule by level. Multiple Repertoire class absences may disqualify students from participating in group concerts and repertoire classes act as rehearsals for group concerts.
Student Teaching Assistants
Students Teaching Assistants are students who attend a more elementary repertoire class to help with tuning, support newer students, demonstrate techniques and act as leaders. Student TA’s continue to attend their repertoire classes in addition to the Repertoire classes they assist. Becoming a student TA develops leadership skills, confidence, responsibility and gives a sense of purpose to advancing students. Students must audition to become TA’s
Student TA’s Requirements:
- Student has graduated the level they’d like to assist (Twinkle TA’s must graduate the Twinkle Program).
- Can tune independently
- Continues to attend Repertoire Classes for current level.
- Audition: Student must demonstrate ability to play repertoire pieces of the level they want to assist at a polished level during a private lesson.
A Play-in is an informal event that brings the whole studio together four times each year. We come together to celebrate our accomplishments and to have some violin fun! All families are invited, including Pre-Twinklers. We play together as a whole community; starting with the most advanced pieces, working down through pre-twinkle pieces. Awards given for recent graduates and other remarkable achievements. Feel free to invite friends and family.
Master classes are group classes in which students take turns playing their selected piece in front of an audience made up of students and parents. Students will have polished their pieces so they are without technical error prior to the class. Ms. Glenda gives feedback on the artistic elements of the student’s playing. Observing students & parents may also submit kind; positive feedback. Student will practice the piece in front of the class to incorporate the feedback. The intention of the class is to provide a learning opportunity for the performer and the observers. Four master classes are offered per year.
Piano Rehearsal Class
Students meet with pianist to rehearse pieces. A mix of individual and group rehearsal. Pre-Twinkle & Twinkle students learn performance and piano rehearsal etiquette. We will target specific pieces that are difficult to play with piano accompaniment in addition to upcoming pieces for solo recitals and graduations. Students will need to come to class with pieces prepared so they are free of basic errors like incorrect fingers, bowing, intonation etc. The intention of the class is to provide a learning opportunity for both the soloist and the observers. On average, four piano rehearsal classes are offered per year.
Recitals & Concerts
Students give solo recitals during select Wednesday classes in order to complete pieces or graduate books.
During Whole Studio Concerts, all students play together in group format. Concerts will be announced at the start of each studio year (September) so families may mark them on the calendar as a priority event to avoid schedule conflicts. Concerts are usually held Saturday or Sunday afternoons, 1-2 times per year. Participation in Concerts are required to remain in the program.
Smaller, less formal concerts may be offered throughout the year and are optional.
Recitals & Concerts are open to friends and family. At this time, no indoor concerts will be held. We will limit the number of friends and family that may be invited to group events such as graduation recitals, group classes and play-ins so we may practice social distancing.
As of Dec 1st 2021 guests who would like to attend in-person performances are required to show proof of COVID vaccination if aged 12+.
About Ms. Glenda Walsh Crouse
I began Westminster Suzuki Strings in 2003 to provide high quality violin instruction with a lot of heart to Carroll County, Maryland. As of June 2021 I have entered my 18th year of educating young artists. I began my own violin journey as a suzuki kid in the early 1990’s!
I currently reside in Westminster, MD with my husband Greg and three adorable but destructive kittens.
I have studied Violin Performance, Suzuki violin pedagogy, Music Education, Therapeutic Music as well as hospice and palliative care at Carroll Community College, Towson University, The Greater Washington Suzuki Institute and the Larner College of Medicine (University of Vermont).
In addition to teaching music, I also work as a Clinical Musician (therapeutic music) and Death Doula (End of Life care, Hospice/Palliative care). I provide care in the ICU, NICU, PICU and other medical settings. In my free time I like to write and illustrate picture books for children. I blog about green living and post vegan recipes. I also enjoy bowling!
Parents may address me by first name or the same manner as their child. Students may address me as:
- Ms. (miz) Glenda
- Sensei (Japanese for teacher)
I am fully vaccinated. A copy of my CDC COVID vaccination card is available in the studio.
Masks that cover the nose and mouth are required for everyone ages 2+ for lessons and events. Neck gaiters and bandanas are not permitted. If wearing cloth masks, wash after each use and wash your hands after removing masks to prevent self contamination.
Proof of vaccination is required for everyone ages 12+ who will be present at lessons, group classes or events. This includes parents, siblings, grand parents, or anyone else that may need to bring your child to lessons if you’re not available.
Bring your CDC COVID vaccination card as proof of vacation to your lesson. You may also show photos of your vaccination card(s) as proof.
As vaccination becomes available for children ages 11 and under, proof of vaccination will be required to enroll or to continue with in-person lessons. A deadline will be set after vaccines are widely available. For now, masks will be a requirement until children are vaccinated.
Everyone is required to use hand sanitizer before and after lessons. Windows will be opened, weather permitting and a HEPA, UV light air purifier is used constantly during lessons. Lessons will not be held if you or anyone in your party arrives symptomatic, including colds. If you or anyone in your family is symptomatic everyone needs to stay home. If you have traveled to a COVID hot spot and have a family member not yet vaccinated you will need to quarantine 10 days starting the day you return home before returning to in-person lessons. If you are required to quarantine by the CCPS, your school or your workplace you may not come to in-person lessons during the quarantine period. If you are symptomatic, ill or quarantined, lessons will be held via zoom.