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Violin is a beautiful instrument that anyone can learn how to play — whether you are an adult or a child at any age. I am happy to help anyone interested in learning violin! My teaching style is Suzuki-based, which is a method rooted in the belief that every child can learn musical ability from a very young age. I would add to that — every adult can, too! I started my violin journey as a “Suzuki kid” at age 3, and now 30 years later I’m still learning and enjoying playing violin!
One of my favorite things about violin is teaching how to play! Violin is a difficult instrument, there is no doubt about that. But with determination and practice, everyone can learn how to play beautifully.
Note that I teach more than the Suzuki repertoire! I supplement with additional music, studies, scales, music theory, etc. I am very flexible and try my best to address the needs of each individual student. I am also happy to help students learn whatever type of music they are interested in – including fiddle, church, Celtic, rock, and more.
The Suzuki Method is more than just teaching someone how to play violin. Students learn many other skills including following directions, setting/working/achieving goals, communication, and getting along with others. Violin is also a physical activity that develops strength and posture. Students gain self-confidence, discipline, and grit that lasts a lifetime. Playing music also boosts brain power in many areas including critical thinking and creative problem solving. All of this while learning to play and appreciate beautiful music in a supportive, global music community.
Sarah (Condon) Hemm was born in 1982 and grew up as a Suzuki kid since age 3. During childhood she performed the Suzuki violin repertoire along with fiddle, orchestral, chamber, and church music. Sarah is an alumni of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. She also attended many Suzuki Institutes at UWSP. Sarah also took piano lessons for several years as a child and played french horn and coronet in Middle School. In High School she was actively involved in Show Choir and other vocal musical performances, along with developing a strong interest in visual art. As an adult, Sarah attended college at UWRC and UWGB as a Fine Art major with an emphasis in Gallery/Museum Practices, a minor in Arts Management, and a studio emphasis on Fiber/Textiles. She has exhibited her artwork for over 15 years in galleries throughout the U.S.
Sarah is also the office manager/bookkeeper for Sugar River Home Pros, a local general contractor owned by her husband. Sarah is a mom to three amazing kids, Matthew, Kali, and Fiona, who continue to be her biggest inspiration. Her family recently moved back to Brodhead (Sarah’s hometown) to restore her great-grandmother’s 1890 Queen Anne Victorian home, known as the “Condon House”. Pictures and more info about the restoration can be found here on her blog.
Sarah is now teaching violin at Lightly Row Studio and is an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She performed recently with the Madison Community Orchestra. Sarah is continuing Suzuki Teacher Training at the American Suzuki Institute in Steven’s Point. She believes that playing violin is a lifelong learning journey — and she is excited to share her love of violin with others through playing and teaching, while she continues on her own violin journey. Click here to view Sarah’s SAA member page.
The Suzuki Method is about increasing a child’s ability – not only in music – but in many other areas of their life. Most importantly, Suzuki lessons build the character of the child and allow the potential that resides in each child to come to its own fruition. Some people are surprised that such young children can start to learn an instrument. But with Suzuki, the younger a child starts the better! Dr. Suzuki’s method of learning music is based on learning naturally in the same way that children learn language. When does the process of learning language begin? Even before birth. Learning naturally depends upon a favorable environment — the awakening of a desire, no stress, no fear. The same principles of learning language are applied to learning music – this is the main philosophy of the Suzuki method.
“Once the ‘seed’ of ability is planted, it has to be carefully and patiently tended. Finally the ‘bud’ or talent, presents itself and has to be educated and brought up with perseverance until the ‘root’ or power, becomes very strong and is indissolubly tied to the personality.” -Dr. Suzuki
The Suzuki method is presented in 10 books. We start in Book 1 and progress slowly to develop ear training, violin technique, musicality, note reading, and music theory. As we build musical skills, the child is also learning abilities including focus, memory, self-discipline, creative thinking, problem solving, people skills, quality work ethic, sensitivity, empathy, confidence, perseverance, and more.
Book 1 is the foundation for all violin technique and it is important to understand that there are no short cuts. For very young children, just learning all the basics up through Twinkle may take one year or more. In addition, parental involvement is an absolute necessity. It will take additional years to complete the first book. And even as they move ahead, they will review their “old” songs, and use them to learn new skills. It’s not about the destination of finishing Book 1 or even Book 10. It’s about the journey — developing skills, artistry, and brain power that will last a lifetime!
Much has been written and researched about the Suzuki Method. Take some time to do some reading and research yourself. For a great overview, click here to visit the Suzuki Association of the America’s website. This site is an amazing resource!
- Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
- To Learn with Love: A Companion for Suzuki Parents by William and Constance Starr
- Teaching from the Balance Point: A guide for Suzuki parents, teachers, and students by Edward Kreitman
- Ability Development from Age Zero by Shinichi Suzuki
- The Suzuki Violinist by William Starr
Feel free to email Sarah at email@example.com for information about lessons or with any questions/comments.