The Violin Project

From Nurtured by Love, revised edition, by Shin'ichi Suzuki:

"If only they knew that talent is not something one has, but rather is something one must create, they would surely embark, before lamenting their lack of ability, on a life-long path of hopeful, if daunting, efforts to acquire talent."

May 22, 2017: The Violin Project lived on in a different form for the 2016-2017 school year. Due to time and space constraints, and in order to offer my students the best instruction I can, I am currently offering private and semi-private lessons, only. All the money raised has gone back into the program, and I am still able to offer semi-private lessons on a pay-what-you-are-able plan. Weekly small group (3-4 students) is available, as well as private Suzuki violin lessons. A weekly large group class is part of both private and semi-private instruction, and I use the same method and curriculum with all my beginning and intermediate students. Young beginners must have an adult in attendance at lessons and practicing with them at home. Please send me a message for more information!

April 30, 2015:  The Violin Project students and my private studio students teamed up to play 3 Bach Minuets at the Kirksville Community String Orchestra concert last week. Pictures by the Kirksville Daily Express here. This is Bach Minuet 2: 

August 8, 2014: Gearing up for Year Two! A new group of beginners will join seven continuing students, and there is still room for  a few more kids. Stay tuned—it's been quiet here, but I've been busy!

A recent post from our Facebook page: (Please visit and "like" us for more updates)

25 Ways to Love Your Kid's Playing:

1. "I love your sound."
2. "Your rhythm was perfect."
3. "You played that with a lot of strength."
4. "You played that with a lot of feeling."
5. "You played that with a lot of care."
6. "I love your energy."
7. "I love how hard you're working."
8. "Your tone is fantastic."
9. "Your intonation is very accurate."
10. "Your dynamics are exciting."
11. "You've learned this really well!"
12. "I can tell you really enjoy this piece."
13. "Your hard work is paying off."
14. "You made that fun to listen to."
15. "That just rocked!"
16. "You can play that really fast!"
17. "You played that with so much control."
18. "That made me want to dance."
19. "That made me want to sing along."
20. "I can't believe how much you've learned."
21. "I'm so excited by what you can do!"
22. "You make me want to learn to play that, too."
23. "I love that you never give up."
24. "That was beautiful/awesome/wonderful/fabulous/amazing/
25. "I love hearing you play."

April 30, 2014: Our performance with the Kirksville Community Orchestra went well! The Violin Project students teamed up with my private studio and students from Life Church School to perform "Step Ladder" by Robert S. Frost. You may watch the performance here.

April 9, 2014 update: Working hard, folks. Listening to great music, enjoying each other's company, playing A major scales and working on "Twinkle Sandwiches!" We are getting ready for a performance with the Kirksville Community String Orchestra and looking forward to a spring recital after that. 

October 18, 2013 update: We've been terribly busy! Added an eighth student last month, graduated from "boxes" to real violins last week. This week, the local TV station did a story about our program.

Pictures, updates, and more can be found on our Facebook page. We'd love to have you visit us there.

August 19, 2013 update: The Violin Project kicks off today! It's really hard to believe this day is here. Family, friends, even people I've never met, have kept me going through the past several months. Without them this would still be just a dream.
We are starting small--seven children and one class, with room to grow. Generous donors have made two full scholarships possible, as well as the possibility for three more; if you live in this community and know of a child who might love an opportunity like this, please let me know.

July 11, 2013 update: The Violin Project is moving forward! We are more than a fifth of the way towards our new goal of $10,000, and as many as 12 children are looking forward to starting lessons next month. Please consider making a lasting impact on a child by donating today. (There's a nifty little spot to donate below.)

Legendary violin teacher Shinichi Suzuki believed that all children could learn to play violin. Provided the right environment and encouragement, he taught that every child had the potential to learn the complexities of a musical instrument the same way he or she learned the complexities of language—through step-by-step learning, repetition, and review. This has proven to be an amazing method of learning.

The problem is, not everybody has access to this kind of education. The reasons can be financial, or time-related, or any number of other things. But if every child can learn, I think we need to do what we can within our communities to make it possible for every child to learn. The goal of this project is to provide access to music lessons for children who otherwise might not have access. My goal is that at least half of the students in this program will have lessons at reduced-cost or for free. 

The Violin Project at Kirksville Primary School is set to start in August, at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Working in conjunction with the Primary School's after school program, my plan is for a small number of students to spend an hour a day, five days a week, in group violin instruction. 

Beginning by learning the fundamentals of pitch, rhythm, and melody through singing songs and moving to music, students will progress to learning how to hold a "box" violin and bow, and then graduate to a real instrument. Instruction is step-by-step, with an eye towards mastery at every level; even though playing the violin is a highly-sophisticated skill, it is more than possible for even a young child to learn to do it well.

The teaching part of this is a challenge, but it’s something I feel confident I can do. I’m willing and able to put in a lot of time and energy. What I need is funding. In the next few months I will be going to local organizations for their support, but I will also be seeking support from private donors. Money raised will go towards teaching costs, violins, sheet music, supplemental teaching materials, and accompanist fees. My goal is $10,000 for the 2013-2014 school year.

Want to help provide financial support*? 

If you are interested in your child being part of this project please contact me here

Please feel free to share this with others. And please check back here regularly for updates.

*I do not currently have 501C-3 status. Donations are not tax-deductible at this time.


  1. This is so exciting and I'm so glad it is becoming a reality!

  2. Will this just be for primary students, or would those from grades 3-5 be able to attend also? What a fabulous idea!

    1. Lorri, I was thinking about just primary students for right now, but really it depends on which kids are interested. I want to start two groups in the fall, so it is possible that one group could be older students. Also, because this is something I want to do long-term, I expect that these children wouldn't be done with the program when they left primary school. I see the primary school as a home base for a broader range of ages.

  3. Sounds like a great project! I took violin lessons beginning in the summer between 3rd and 4th grades when the school system offered them and played through high school. I will definitely make a donation!

  4. What a wonderful project. I'm so impressed with programs we've heard of where instrument-playing has encouraged some kids to be more serious about school-- and even stay in school longer. What a lofty result that is!! We're sooo proud of you and we'll make a donation!! Let us know how!!!!!

    1. Thank you! I'm in the process of making a way to accept donations--should be good to go very soon.

  5. Excited that this opportunity is going to become accessible in Kirksville schools. It will be great for families that want our children to learn to play but hesitate to add an evening activity. The abilities of your students, especially the youngest ones, amaze me! It's wonderful more children and parents will get to experience that magic.


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