Who is Ms. Cynthia
1997 Bachelor of Arts in Music Education
Emphasis in Music Methods
University of Northern Iowa
1992 Suzuki Music School, Japan
Violin Graduation – Talent Education Institute
Three years study with Dr. Suzuki
Suzuki Violin Books 1-10 registered with Suzuki
Association of the Americas. Books 1-VI under Doris Preucil; Dr.
Evelyn Hermann; Bette Dyer; Alan Lieb; Alice Joy Lewis
with John Kendal in 2001, Susan Kempter in 2003 at
Occidental Suzuki Institute after 1992.
1997 Licensed Kindermusik Teacher
Completion of training for
all Kindermusik curriculums for children
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings at the
Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center.
Invited by the Director Beverly Hatfield to Start a
Suzuki Violin Program at Seaview School in Huntington Beach
Teaching pilot Village class for Teen Mothers Program
under the Alternative Education Branch of the OC Dept of Education
through Renaissance 9 a nonprofit arts organization in Orange County
Katherine Irvine Day school Volunteer.
Music for KIDS, Santa Ana.
Taught and organized Kindermusik Music Box Program
1998 to 2002
Eldorado Private School – Early childhood Music
Specialist ages 3-7, using Music Box materials and Music for the Young
Three preschool classes, 15 Kindergartners and 20 First Graders.
Organized general music program.
Irvine Community Services.
Classes for babies and toddlers offered for Community Services
Four years Montessori
teaching experience at IUSD International Montessori Early Childhood
Montessori Study and Internship under Dr. Feland
Founded and Directed
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin Program
Specialization: Suzuki Violin for children as young as 3 years of age with parents
Research and development
of PreTwinkle Violin method for preschool children
Kindermusik for babies and toddlers 0-3
Promotion of musical Parenting
John Spencer Sterns
Scholarship Recipient on behalf of the KIDS
Katherine Irvine Day School in Santa Ana, before it became a Head start
One of 47 music programs
across the country which obtained a grant providing Music Box Materials
for 20 children at risk.
Tuition grant was used to provide additional materials for KIDS teachers
and instruments for classroom use
I grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa across the river from Omaha
Nebraska. I started my musical life with the opportunity to
study with a Concert Mistress of the Omaha Symphony, who happened to be
a child prodigy who studied in Europe before starting her career.
When I entered Jr. High this led to an audition for the Metropolitan
Omaha Youth Symphony. This meant going to many Saturday
morning rehearsals with my friends and having a richer musical
enrichment in my life in addition to private instruction and school
music were I was often the first chair. Even though I had
enough credits to graduate my Jr. year I stayed my senior year so that I
could play in the orchestra one more time for the annual school musical.
I set off to the University of Northern Iowa with the thought of
becoming a music teacher, presumably in a public school.
My first year in Music methods I met Martha Holvik an inspirational
Suzuki Teacher who handed me my first copy of Nurtured by Love.
Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I was
still reading it early the next morning with out sleeping.
It was the first time that I heard of a teacher who had this amazing
belief that "Music could save the World" if we worked for that purpose.
It was the first time that I heard that you could change the future of a
child's life by influencing their environment. I just wanted
to meet this man one day long enough to say thank you. Thank
you for seeing in the hearts of children their real potential.
I graduated with a teaching degree in 97 at a time when school
systems where laying off teachers in the Midwest. My first
year teaching the teachers went on strike that very Fall.
That year in the Midwest they laid off 300 music teachers. I began
to look for some way that I could get more experience teaching as a
Suzuki teacher. After finding a civil service job in the
University Library at ISU were my parents lived I began saving to go to
more institutes to get my credentials as a Suzuki teacher.
While teaching part time from my parents home I read every book on the
Fine Arts Floor I could find about the Suzuki Method.
Fascinated by Dr. Suzuki's theories about language I took courses in
language acquisition and begging Japanese. While I was
taking teacher training on book 5 at Stevens Point one summer Dr. Suzuki
came to visit the Institute. He taught an afternoon session
with the children and then the teachers. Even the
teacher trainees were invited to have a session with him. It
was the first time that I can remember him making adjustments on my bow
arm. I was so impressed that someone who barely spoke
English could teach something as technical as the violin.
That week my American Suzuki Teachers encouraged me to consider going
to study in Japan for at least 3 months. After asking for
their assistance with their letters, I left the institute filled with
energy. I used the next two years to save more than I needed
for the trip and finish all of the paper work. In February of 1989
I left to stay a brief time with my Sister in California before boarding
a plane to Japan.
Less than a week before I was to board the plane the Emperor of Japan
died. My arrival in Tokyo was rescheduled around the busy airport
for the day of the funeral. The airport and the trains were
nearly empty. It was a quiet ominous rainy ride up the
mountain to Matsumoto while most Japanese stayed home to watch the
funeral. I can't remember arriving at my home stay families
town house. The very next morning I awoke to my first Japanese
breakfast and my first visit to the Kaiken where Dr. Suzuki was
There were teachers in the kenkusei program from all over the world.
We had group instruction with Dr. Suzuki every morning.
After lunch we practiced and observed Dr.Suzuki's private lessons.
Dr Suzuki taught in broken English, excellent German, Japanese and
many gestures. For 3 months I became immersed in violin study and
Japanese culture. I learned to peddle around this picturesque
mountain town with a castle on a bicycle and eat all kinds of
interesting Japanese food when I wasn't practicing or taking classes.
One day after class Dr. Suzuki observed in English, "You love to
study tone. Please stay a little longer so you can study more."
I was already looking for ways to make it possible for me to stay that
summer so that I could attend the International conference being held
that summer. Two full weeks of Suzuki children, parents and
teachers from Japan and all over the world. Recitals twice a
day everyday. Classes and seminars from Suzuki Teachers from all
over the world. Some of my first Suzuki teachers were
surprised to see me there.
3 months became 6 and a year later Dr. Suzuki asked me if I would
like to work toward a graduation. I took my time and learned everything
the way he asked me to practice. Graduation meant playing the Bach
A minor with the chamber orchestra as well as several solo pieces with
the piano. I had to take one month off to take care of my wisdom
teeth. But finally the date was set for a cold day in December.
Everyone on stage with me was shivering. But we made it through all the
pieces. Much to his surprise I read 50 haiku to him in Japanese at
the end just like the children do.
I stayed just long enough to complete 3 full years of study to the
day before I left. Boarding my plane on the 3rd anniversary
of Hiro Hito's funeral. I remember the day
when I just wanted to meet Dr. Suzuki and just shake his hand.
Here I was leaving as a graduate of his teacher training program.
My 3 months had become three years of intensive study. I
left wondering how I would start my new life as a Suzuki teacher in
Only one month after coming home to stay with my sister's family
while looking for opportunities to teach, South Central LA went up in
flames. I came home from my first efforts to start a new
Suzuki studio in Irvine to see buildings burning and young people
rioting in the streets. Seeing the civil unrest affected me
deeply. I was filled with a desire to do more than just
start a Suzuki program in the safe suburbs of Irvine. Out of
gratitude to all of the time that Dr. Suzuki gave me in his studio, I
felt an obligation to make a contribution that made use of the gifts
that he shared with me. After Collaborating with a Suzuki piano teacher
to start up the Talent Education Center I began searching for a
non-profit in which I could find a home for an urban Suzuki program.
You can check out the
SASS blog to learn more.