Our School

Our Educational Base on the Suzuki Method and Philosophy

SSA’s main offering of classes is based on the educational philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki who founded the Talent Education Method in Japan in the late 1940’ies. It is a general basis for learning, not only applicable for Suzuki students but for everyone. Any child can learn to play a musical instrument. The purpose of any study besides developing skill and aptitude for music is to cultivate happiness, strength and self confidence through a love of music. By growing up with music, children can ultimately help in creating a better world, which is the heart and core of the Suzuki Philosophy.

The Academy’s string instrument classes for beginners and up will follow our own application of the teachings of Dr. Suzuki. A principle of this method is that every child can learn if given the right support and environment. The child learns by listening, reproducing and progressing in small steps, one step at a time. The parents’ role is major. Listening to recordings or live performances of the music before playing helps children develop a sense of correct pitch, rhythm, sensitivity to sound, musical phrasing, and more. Note reading is very important and comes when the time is right, when the playing skills are fundamentally secured in the student’s abilities. It is similar to learning to read after a long time of speaking a language. Comparison with every child’s learning his/her mother tongue is no coincidence. The Suzuki approach is sometimes named “The Mother Tongue Method.”

Partnerships

SSA participates in alliances and partnerships with local and regional community organizations. Currently we are charter members of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, LVPAC. We conduct Suzuki Violin Classes at the Crowden Music Center in Berkeley, CCMC. SSA arranges and leads a summer youth symphony orchestra. LASYO, in partnership with the Livermore Amador Symphony Association, LAS, the local symphony. SSA has also been part of the outreach program of Del Valle Fine Arts, DVFA, the local chamber music association. We also teach music classes called Music For Mommy & Me for very young children, in the Livermore Area Park and Recreation District, LARPD’s general class program.

Instrumental Classes

SSA runs a year around forty-two week instruction calendar. Instrumental students have one individual and one group lesson each week. The Academy offers lessons on string instruments to children from three years old with the Suzuki Method, up through high-school age. The current students represent all levels of the Suzuki curriculum, from beginning to advanced levels. Throughout the school year and summer, students perform at numerous formal concerts and recitals as part of our concert series. They also perform at informal recitals internally at the academy and as out reach to the community. Performance is an integral part of the students’ education. The program includes chamber music and chamber orchestra classes for further performance experience.

History

The Sycamore Strings Academy program is the continuation of a long established educational program in our area. It has existed since 1984 in Livermore and is currently a sole propriety business owned by Artistic Director and Violin Teacher Göran Berg and his wife Christina.  The Director and the teaching staff administer the educational program with operational support.

Other Classes

In addition to core Suzuki classes plus regular instrumental instruction and group, chamber music, and chamber orchestra, SSA also arranges classes in

  • Guitar for students age seven and up. The students learn to sing to own accompaniment on the guitar.
  • In partnership with LARPD, we arrange early education classes according to a curriculum designed by our early education expert, Christina Berg. She has developed this very effective and popular method for children age of eighteen months to seven years.
  • Every summer SSA organizes the LASYO Summer Youth Symphony Orchestra in partnership with LAS, the local symphony.
  • Every summer SSA offers a special selection of summer classes, containing subjects like Guitar for Parents, Carnaval of the Animals movement class, Jazz for Strings, Elementary Bass Introduction, Acting Classes, and more. See our Summer Classes webpage & brochure, published in January each year.