Suzuki Teaching: Online Alternatives

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced unprecedented challenges to Suzuki teaching worldwide. SAA has put together these resources to support Suzuki teachers through temporary periods of social distancing and quarantine which preclude regular, in-person individual and group lessons.

We believe Suzuki teachers have a unique opportunity to support students and parents through a difficult time. Continuing music lessons and practice, even in a modified format, helps provide normalcy and familiarity when many children experience disruption to their daily lives.

Working together as a learning community and in the spirit of Suzuki sharing, we can find solutions to the practical and social-emotional challenges we’re facing.

Please check back with this space frequently, as we will continue to add resources.

In keeping with the SAA’s commitment to creating safe learning communities, please heed any instructions from local and national health authorities regarding social distancing and quarantine. Following directives keeps us all safer and healthier at a time where collective efforts are needed for the benefit of all.

A Message from the SAA Board of Directors

Stay Informed

World Health Organization COVID-19 Page



Distance Learning Forum for Suzuki Teachers Facebook Group – Ideas and volunteers are needed!

SUZUKI™ Teachers Facebook Group

SAA website discussion platforms: General Suzuki Forum and Teachers’ Corner Forum – Add your short questions and suggestions!


Person on Playing Piano with Computer

Lessons & Practice

What We Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To) by Christine Goodner
SECE During the Pandemic: My Perspective by Sharon Jones
SECE durante a pandemia: Minha perspectiva por Sharon Jones, traduzido por Mariana Moretzsohn
What is making online lessons work for you? Tips from our community by Christine Goodner
Making Online Lessons Work with Preschool Students by Christine Goodner
“Practical Advice for Video Assisted Instruction” by MaryLou Roberts
“Coronavirus Doesn’t Have to Mean Canceled” by Monica Johnston
“Creating an Online Learning Eco System for Suzuki Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Morganne Aaberg

Tracy Dunne—Orchestras

Group Lessons & Recitals

“Ideas for Suzuki Group Classes on Zoom” by teachers from the State College Suzuki Program

Kids and Mother on Laptop

Working with Parents

Sample Communication with Studio Families by Trina Hodgson
“The Suzuki Triangle to the Rescue in Time of Pandemic” by Evelyn Osborne
“Violin Book One Review Games” by Sonia Macak—share with parents!
“Thank You Teachers: Parents share how teachers are helping them most” by Christine Goodner

From our Archives

Advice specifically for flute teachers from Sasha Garver: “Using the Internet to Teach Suzuki Lessons” by Sasha Garver

While this article is about using video recording in the context of in-person lessons, many of the suggested uses can also be helpful during temporary distance learning: “Effective Approaches for Video Recording in Studio and Practice” by Elizabeth Guerriero


A reminder from the Suzuki Triangle blog by Christine Goodner: “Teaching the Child in Front of You.”

Violin tuning troubles? Share this article with parents! From Suzuki teacher Caitlin Smith: “How to Tune Your Child’s Violin”

A group of Minnesota band directors tried available distance learning platforms and wrote a guide to all the options: “Comparing and Contrasting Platforms for Music Lesson Instruction” by Bradley Mariska, assisted by Scott Agster, Erin Holmes, and Heidi Stodola

This three-part article series by Claire Allen on shares a unique perspective on virtual teaching. Covering potential upsides to practicalities to out-of-the-box thinking about lessons, these articles are great for getting unstuck when it comes to online teaching.
“The Learning Potential Of Online Lessons”
“Practicalities of Online Lessons, for Teachers, Students and Parents”
“What Your Teacher Is Doing In Your Music Lesson, and How to Adapt Online”

Piano teaching has particular challenges when it comes to online teaching. Clavier Companion covers some of them, as well as general advice for music teachers, here: “Helpful Guidance for Piano Teachers During the COVID Crisis” by Jennifer Snow

Musicians across the world, from Suzuki children to Yo-Yo Ma, are still finding ways to share their music. Suzuki teachers have suggested options from YouTube and Facebook Live concerts to porch serenades. Featured in this Washington Post article: two young cellists performed from a safe distance for an elderly neighbor in quarantine, opera from the balconies in Italy, and Yo-Yo Ma’s #songsofcomfort social media series. “Two budding cellists, 9 and 6, serenade an elderly neighbor — and a locked-down world” by Meagan Flynn


SmartMusic offering free access through June 30, extends Finale free trial

SmartMusic is a web-based suite of tools that provides practice resources for band, orchestra and choir students of all ages. Teachers can assign anything from the unrivaled repertoire library which includes 150+ method books, 5,400+ ensemble titles and thousands of solos from top publishers. They can also create, edit, and import their own music with the Compose notation tool and access unlimited sight-reading materials with Sight Reading Builder. As students practice their assigned pieces they are automatically assessed and able to instantly see which notes and rhythms are correct as they sing. SmartMusic is available on Chromebooks, iPad and computers and is COPPA, FERPA and GDPR compliant.

We as an industry understand the impact that school closures can have on the academic well being of your students. The last thing you need to be burdened with is the extra stress that comes with a disruption to your class. We are committed to helping you maintain your students’ education in the face of these closures. For schools impacted by COVID-19 closures who do not already have a subscription, SmartMusic is offering free access through June 30, 2020. To sign up for this free web-based SmartMusic access, please fill out this form and let them know your needs. They will help you invite students to “join a class” where you will be able to send and receive assignments. Additionally, the folks at MakeMusic have extended the Finale free trial from 30 to 60 days to assist students without at-home access.

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