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Suzuki Violin Teacher Karen Roth

How did you hear about Music Together and how did you become involved?

Actually, I saw the ad in the Suzuki Journal. At the time I was looking for a way to expand my teaching in a job that would be more daytime teaching. I have children who are school-age, and being a Suzuki teacher or private instrument teacher usually means after school, evenings and weekend teaching. And so I was looking for a way to be doing more daytime teaching. I loved teaching the younger students in the Suzuki program, the four- and five-year-olds, so the thought of teaching even younger children was very appealing to me.

First, I ordered one of the recordings from the program just to see what it was like. I listened to it and my children heard it. They were already school-age, six and eight, and they showed quite an interest in it. It was my kids' response to the recording that made me interested.

I've heard this again and again, that the reason so many teachers choose Music Together is that their own children loved the recordings. Can you tell us what you find rewarding about teaching the program?

It's fun. It's fun to teach. It's fun to watch the kids enjoy it. It's fun to watch the parents and kids interact during class. It's also nice to know that inside all that fun, they're getting a great benefit, both in music and in enhanced family dynamics, plus all of those wonderful extra benefits of being exposed to music and listening to music. If you can get children hooked on music when they're little, then hopefully they'll get into formal music training early on and get the benefits of that, too.

Are you a teacher or center director?

I am a center director and its only teacher. I have over 100 families and teach eleven classes, and I am working at capacity. Now after five years, I'm turning people away. It's very hard to have to say, "Sorry there's no more room." Things are set and rolling now and I'd like to expand. Financially, I made quite an investment at the beginning and my classes were very small. Now I've been able to repay myself and things are very smooth at this point.

You run both a Suzuki program and Music Together, so you can provide music for a child from infancy through serious violin study in grade school and beyond.

I have had several Music Together students who went on to Suzuki violin lessons, and they came to their first lesson having already achieved basic music competence. I could then focus on violin technique and repertoire instead of teaching them to match pitch and rhythm. There is one little girl who started in Music Together as a baby and went through the whole program and then Suzuki training, and the music just flows from her. It's amazing.

Karen Roth is a Suzuki and Music Together teacher. Karen teaches all the Music Together classes herself at her Farmington Hills studio.

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