HeadingWho is Ms. Cynthia

Ms. Cynthia playing violin b&w


1997 Bachelor of Arts in Music Education

Emphasis in Music Methods

University of Northern Iowa

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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

Enrichment overview 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 age 0-7

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Graduation Recital in Matsumoto, Japan


2006 -

Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings at the Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center.

Fall 2002-2005

Invited by the Director Beverly Hatfield to Start a Suzuki Violin Program at Seaview School in Huntington Beach

August 2001

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 Child Kindermusik. 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 Education


Montessori Study and Internship under Dr. Feland Meadows


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


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John Spencer Sterns Scholarship Recipient on behalf of the KIDS Katherine Irvine Day School in Santa Ana, before it became a Head start program.

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

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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 teaching.

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 America.

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.

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