CMS Suzuki Strings Program

CMS Suzuki Program photo

In the CMS Suzuki String Program children as young as age 4 start to learn violin, viola or cello the same way they learn to speak - by listening, imitating and repeating sounds.

About the Suzuki String Program at CMS

The Suzuki method of instruction is based on the philosophy and teaching of the late Japanese educator Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, in which young children learn to play the violin, viola and cello the same way they learn to speak – by listening, imitating and repeating sounds.  Just as children learn to read after they learn to speak, Suzuki students learn note-reading after developing aural skills and proper instrument posture. 

The Suzuki method creates a partnership among teacher, parent and child. The parent attends lessons and group classes with the child, learns to play the instrument and becomes the “home teacher.”  Community Music School Suzuki students listen to the recorded repertoire, attend weekly private lessons, semi-monthly group classes and spend time reviewing and polishing skills along with new material.

Violin:  ages 4-6

Viola:  ages 4-6

Cello:  ages 5-7

Students enrolled in Suzuki instruction will need their own instrument.  Because of the nature of Suzuki teaching, the parent will need his/her own violin or viola.  Cello parents will use their child's instrument.  To ensure proper size and quality, please do not rent or purchase an instrument until you have been placed in the program and have consulted with your child's teacher. 

Fall 2020 September 19, 26 & October 3, 2020 August 15, 2020 - January 9, 2021
Spring 2021 January 16, 23 & 30, 2021 January 19 - May 28, June 5 & 7
Summer 2021 No new students accepted June 19 - August 2, 2021

  • Complete the CMS Enrollment Form
  • Sign up for and attend Suzuki Parent Orientation (fee for Suzuki Parent Orientation is $40.00)
  • Register for weekly Suzuki lessons

Once we receive the enrollment form, staff will send an email with more information on how to sign up for our Suzuki Parent Orientation.  The Suzuki Parent Orientation Program consists of three sessions, usually on consecutive Saturdays and is held at the beginning of both the Fall and Spring Semesters. 

  • The first session includes a description of the CMS Suzuki Program, a discussion of the Suzuki philosophy, and demonstration performances by our current Suzuki students. 
  • The second session includes an observation of group lessons and a discussion about the parents’ role as the home teacher. 
  • The third session focuses on what to expect at lessons, followed by registration into the Suzuki program. 

All three sessions are for parents only and should be attended by the parent who will be the Suzuki practice partner at home.  Students are encouraged to attend the group lesson observation during the second session, but childcare will need to be arranged during the parent session.  Also during the three-week program, parents and their future Suzuki students are expected to observe at least one individual lesson, which gives our CMS instructors an opportunity to meet prospective students and assess their readiness to begin.


Fall/Spring Semester

(18 weeks)


(6 weeks)

30-minute lesson/week (plus group classes twice per month) $783/semester $207
45-minute lesson/week (plus group classes twice per month)  $1089/semester  $309
60-minute lesson/week (plus group classes twice per month) $1404/semester $414


Annual Registration Fee:

A non-refundable registration fee of $30 is assessed once per academic year per student upon enrollment.  

Tuition Assistance

  • Need-based tuition assistance based on total household income is available to cover partial tuition expenses for students demonstrating financial need.
  • Tuition assistance is awarded for individual lesson, classes, and ensembles (ex: YPSO, YPCO).
  • Assistance can be awarded for the Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters.
  • Tuition assistance is not retroactive; students must pay in full for any lessons or classes scheduled before a financial assistance award is granted.
  • If a student accepts tuition assistance no further discounts apply.

Download a 2020-2021 Tuition Assistance application form

Endangered Instrument Award

  • The Endangered Instrument Award is available to pre-college students new to CMS who wish to study viola, double bass, oboe, bassoon, horn, trombone, tuba or harp.  This award may be granted for the Summer, Fall or Spring semester.  The award can be given for individual lessons, ensembles or summer camps.
  • Students who receive the award for individual lessons may receive 50% off the tuition for 30-minute lessons. 
  • Awarded students must audition for and, if accepted, take part in a CMS ensemble.
  • Students new to CMS ensembles may receive 50% off ensemble tuition if accepted into an orchestra/ ensemble.
  • Awarded students may participate in an ensemble only, they are not required to take individual lessons.

Download a 2020-2021 Endangered Instrument Award application form

Family and Multiple Instrument Discounts

  • A family discount is available when there are two or more siblings enrolled in individual lessons.  A discount of 10% is applied to all individual lessons except the one with the highest tuition charge.
  • A second instrument discount is available to students enrolled in individual lessons on more than one instrument.  A 10% discount is applied to all but the highest tuition charge.

Artistic Merit Scholarships

Artistic Merit Scholarships are awarded annually in the spring by audition to exceptional pre-college age students who have been recommended by their teacher and have taken individual lessons at CMS for at least one semester.  Students must be available to audition at any time assigned on the audition date. Scholarship awards are applied to student’s accounts for the following academic year.

Questions?  Call (314) 968-5939 or email

 Suzuki Ensemble

The Suzuki Ensemble is comprised of students who have advanced to the highest level of accomplishment in the Community Music School's Suzuki String Program.  The Suzuki Ensemble has performed in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, and in 2006 toured and performed in Europe.  The ensemble has performed in elementary schools, retirement communities, on television, at Powell Symphony Hall, the Fox Theatre with The Piano Guys, and with Time for Three.