Music Center of the Northwest Programs
Private instruction at Music Center is structured to encourage students to expand their developing skills into individual and ensemble performance, better understanding of music theory and history and active participation in the rich musical culture of the Seattle area. All students first consult with a member of the Music Center Faculty to determine the most appropriate path of instruction.
The starting point for many students is what is often termed traditional lessons. Students receive basic music instruction and are encouraged to perform in student recitals and take part in performance groups.
Along with other programs, Music Center of the Northwest maintains a Suzuki Academy within our curriculum. The Suzuki Academy instructors are certified Suzuki teachers who have trained and passed the teaching standards set forth by the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and who maintain an active membership within that organization. The Academy follows the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist, teacher and the founder of the Suzuki method. Using the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning
of music, this mother-tongue approach embodies the belief that given the right set of
circumstances, talent can be developed in any individual, as opposed to the belief that
it is something inborn. The ensuing concepts of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, consistent repetition and starting early are some of the core elements of the Suzuki learning philosophy.
For our youngest participants we offer Music Together®. Central to the Music Together® approach is that young children learn best from the powerful role model of parents/caregivers who are actively making music. Music Together® brings families together by providing a rich musical environment in the classroom and by facilitating family
participation in spontaneous musical activity at home within the context of daily life.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
The Music Ambassadors Project is an ongoing success story for Music Center of the Northwest. This project, started in 2008, has provided access to music-making and listening opportunities for over 3000 students, both in and out of school. This is especially important in Seattle where access to music education is limited by few school offerings and student socio-economic status. Our hopes are to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way through; a greater appreciation for the creative force of musical participation; a deeper understanding of our connection to a larger community through music; an improved ability to demonstrate musical skills and concepts; a heightened awareness of individual creative expression; an increased knowledge of instruments and music.
We achieved these goals through a number of different activities.
Instrumental Petting Zoos, in collaboration with King-FM and the Seattle Chamber Music Society. Over 1000 children had the opportunity for a ‘hands on’ experience with a number of different musical instruments.
Faculty members providing in-school clinics to students of all ages. From small group instruction to presentation to an entire school music theater production, students benefit by working with world-class musicians who support in-school efforts with new ideas and concepts.
A summer camp, ‘Kids Sing and Play’ is offered at Music Center. Students spend one week working on music and movement as well as making their own personal drum. Low tuition cost has helped
fill the workshop ( with a waiting list) and we could not put anyone else in the room when their parents and friends come out for the concert at the end of the week.
The success of this program highlights our greatest need, attracting the funding needed to provide these opportunities. We simply call it completing the circle, learning music creatively that we then share with other participants or audiences.