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The Suzuki Program

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About our 2017-18 MNjcc Suzuki Program
The MNjcc Suzuki Program (formerly the Bloor jcc Suzuki Program) was started in 1992 by May Ing-Ruehle and Louise Hanly. During 2017-18 we will proudly celebrate our 26th season! Gretchen Paxson-Abberger has been the artistic director of 90 plus students since 1999. For the past 8 years we have also offered a 5-day summer music and arts day camp in July, boasting a roster of well-known guest artists, and our talented MNjcc Suzuki teachers. Along with our regular roster classes, we will continue to offer Adult String Ensemble Classes: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels, and a Tuesday morning Suzuki Pre-School Music class (for 6 months – 3.5 years) to be taught by Alison Porter.


Our Suzuki program offers a friendly community and supportive atmosphere of weekly Suzuki violin & cello group classes (Beginner – Book 8, and beyond) partnered with level and age appropriate enrichment classes consisting of note-reading ensembles, theory and/or musicianship, improvisation, and ukulele classes. Advanced Book 5 and beyond students participate in chamber music ensembles. All classes take place on Tuesday late afternoon through early evening. As well, all students are required to take one weekly private lesson, either at the MNjcc (if time and space permit), or at the home of the private teacher. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions document.

Our students range in age from 3.5 to 18 years. Each student moves through the book levels at their own speed. The Suzuki talent education method is based on a non-competitive approach; our private and group teachers are very careful to tailor the classes and home practice assignments to fit each child’s abilities and temperament.

Our season is divided into 3 terms (30 weeks) of Tuesday classes starting at 4:30 pm. During each term students will be featured in varied special events (solo recitals, graduation recitals, community concerts, ensemble recitals, and/or large Suzuki group concerts). We have a strong and creative team of 15 violin, viola, cello, ukulele, improvisation, musicianship, Suzuki early childhood, theory, reading ensemble, and chamber music teachers. All of our Suzuki teachers are accredited and registered through the Suzuki Association of the Americas (the SAA). The program is also a member of the Suzuki Association of Ontario (SAO). You may read about the individual teachers here.

Our Suzuki Summer Music Camp – Many of us are still feeling inspired, and energized from all that happened during our time together at our 8th MNjcc Suzuki Summer Music Camp this past July 3-7! Some highlights from our camp week together include one of our graduates, Arie Van de Ven, who taught a Klezmer class, and composition, as well, Cheryl Reid taught our ukulele and drumming classes. Special guest violin teacher, Julia McFarlane from Etobicoke Suzuki Music worked her mastery with all levels of violinists, Clayton Scott took us all away on an adventure, as always with her Music through the Ages, and new this summer, our own Maya Chilton led two classes of Musical Theatre. All classes culminated in an extraordinary Friday afternoon concert full of indescribable magic and creativity.

Looking forward to our upcoming 26th season, our students will participate in community events connected with the MNjcc’s Chanukah celebrations and spring time fundraising events. As well, our advanced teens will participate in Thanks to Dr. Suzuki at the PLAST Huculak Centre, a collaborative concert of Suzuki Schools within the greater GTA community. Lisa Olafson will continue to teach ukulele classes to beginner through intermediate levels. We reluctantly say goodbye, and wish all the best to CT Lo, who will take a year’s sabbatical from teaching musicianship and theory classes, and we wish our colleague Rebecca Sancton-Ashworth happiness with her maternity leave. Jennifer Burford will be teaching Improvisation classes (new last season), and we welcome aboard Alison Porter, who will take over teaching musicianship classes, and will also offer a Tuesday morning Suzuki Pre-School Music class for ages 6 months -3.5 years) to all Suzuki program younger siblings. Please register for Alison’s classes at the info desk.

For more information and details please contact:
Gretchen Paxson Abberger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Guest artists and educational concerts - Each season a guest ensemble and/or performer has been invited to work with students from our program. This past season our advanced violin players were coached by Tafelmusik violinist Chris Verrette, and fiddler, Anne Lederman from Nov. – Feb. The music they learned was fiddle tunes and baroque dances from Europe and Canada. Our students joined forces with violin and cello students from the Etobicoke High School for the Performing Arts in a special collaborative performance on Feb. 26, 2017 with members of Tafelmusik in their multi-media show called “Visions & Voyages.” This was a celebration of Canada 150. This season on Feb. 27, 2018 we will present a Suzuki staff musical showcase in the Al Green Theatre.

MNjcc Music Scholarship and Innovation Fund – our mandate is to help make innovative and dynamic music programs accessible to all, regardless of financial status or circumstances, for financial assistance towards our regular Suzuki year- round program and for our summer music camp tuition. For more information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Donations toward this fund are gladly accepted at any time. You may do this at the MNjcc Info desk, or make your gift online at www.mnjcc.org

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