Suzuki Violin Lessons
Ms. Toyoko Kitade teaches violin to children age 3 and up using the popular and effective Suzuki method. Dr. Suzuki taught that every child has the innate capacity to become a talented musician, in a process analogous to language acquisition. Good training during the critical period of cognitive development is all that is required for any child to become an excellent musician. Students are mentored through the Suzuki repertoire in a weekly individual lesson. This lesson is attended by a parent (or caretaker) who will be taught enough basic music skills to help the beginning student practice at home. Children also participate in weekly group lessons in which they practice starting and stopping together, playing in tempo, and performing solos for each other. Group games offer fun and creative ways to polish basic skills, and seeing other students playing more advanced pieces inspires children to practice more at home. Follow this link to learn more about the Suzuki Method and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Ages: Primary through Middle School Students (starting early in Primary is strongly encouraged). Suzuki Violin lessons are taught by Ms. Toyoko Kitade, biography below.
Ms. Rimma Skvortsova (biography below) teaches piano using a traditional method based on the idea that every child has musical potential. All children are able to learn and express themselves musically. Lessons are designed around the individual child’s readiness. Children begin by learning basic skills including proper sitting and hand positioning. They begin by practicing singing notes and doing rhythmical exercises to prepare them to read music. As the child progresses they work on learning scales, music theory, and performance skills. Each child participates in concerts and recitals twice a year. Intermediate students are offered a more varied selection of genres including classical, romantic, baroque and contemporary.
Sue Ellen Miller (biography below) teaches students from beginners to advanced levels. She uses the student’s individuality to determine the best way to teach each student. She supplements where it is necessary and provides a learning track of success for each student. Composition is introduced to all students. The younger students are compose short pieces and and older students find pleasure in composing longer personalized pieces. Ms. Miller enjoys balancing the joy of music and learning, which allows children to flourish over the years. Learning how to play and perform well on the piano can open up a world of opportunity to anyone. The confidence which is gained is priceless.
Ages: Primary through Middle School Students.
Instruction in woodwind instruments include: Clarinet, Flute, Recorder, and Saxophone led by Mr. Jon Thompson. He provides basic instruction including learning to read music, scales, and theory. As each student progresses Jon will provide guitar or piano accompaniment.
Ages: Junior II through Middle School Students. Woodwind lessons are taught by Mr. Jon Thompson, biography below.
Individual Guitar Lessons
We will be offering 28 individual lessons to Junior II and Middle School students with Mr. Thompson. Individual lessons are strongly recommended for all beginner students and will focus on the basic building blocks for guitar including proper playing technique, basic chord progressions, familiar beginner melodies and reading music. In addition to the individual lessons, students at the intermediate or advanced levels may also register for group guitar lessons with Mr. Mitnick (see description below). Group lessons will include all of the above but with more of an emphasis on playing as an ensemble focusing on listening, keeping a steady rhythm and learning how to make the guitar a practical instrument for everyday playing.
Ages: Junior II through Middle School Students. Individual Guitar lessons are taught by Mr. Jon Thompson, biography below.
Group Guitar Lessons
Mr. Alex Mitnick teaches guitar lessons in a group setting. Up to five students, of comparable abilities, meet and learn the basic skills required to play guitar. This includes reading notated music, guitar tablature, and learning to improvise using scales and patterns. As students progress they will learn their favorite popular songs in addition to standard folk songs. A year of instruction will culminate with a performance for classmates and teachers during one of the School Spirit Days during the year.
Ages: Middle School Students. Group Guitar lessons are taught by Mr. Alex Mitnick, biography below.
Music Instructor Bios
Toyoko Kitade (2003) earned an MA from the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston and a BA from the Sakuyo College of Music, Japan. She has 30 years of international experience as a Suzuki violin instructor, and was the Assistant Director of the Suzuki Institute of Boston. She completed her Suzuki instructor training with Mieko Moriya, Japan, and Donald Becker, Boston. She is also trained in the Kodály method of music instruction. Her professional performance experience has included a position as Principal 2nd Violin for the Fukuoka City Philharmonic, Japan, as well as serving as a violinist for the New Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, and the New Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston.
Alexander (Alex) Mitnick (2000) graduated with honors with a BA in Jazz Guitar from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He has created numerous original school musicals with the Elementary and Middle School students. Each year Alex writes and composes a song in keeping with the School theme. His music focuses on self-awareness and an appreciation of the world around us. He has produced two CD’s called Kaleidoscope Songs I and II. He belongs to a variety of musical groups that perform for audiences in NJ, NY, and PA. He presents to schools and teachers, and is an instructor for the Princeton Teacher Education (PCTE), NJ.
Rimma Skvortsova (1999) received an MA in Music Pedagogy from Moscow State University of Pedagogy and BA with Honors in Piano Pedagogy and Choir Conducting from the Glinka College of Music, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. She has more than thirty years of experience teaching piano including classical, folk, and modern music in music schools in Russia and United States. Mrs. Skvortsova is skilled in preparing childrens’ recitals and performances.
She has been the faculty of Westminster Choir College Faculty since 2000. Students participated and became winners in domestic and international competitions over the years taking First, Second, and Third places. Students became winners of Scholarship Competition of Westminster Conservatory and Golden Key International Music Festival. Winners include graduates of Princeton Montessori School who have performed in Carnegie Hall and Weill Recital Hall in New York City, NY. In addition, Princeton Montessori students will perform at a winners concert in Vienna, Austria.
Mrs. Skvortsova is using the traditional method of piano pedagogy world- recognized and used to train the world famous pianists over the centuries. The method will bring you music of Mozart and Beethoven to your home as well as modern popular music. The typical lesson gives the student abilities to sight read music, interpret it and perform before an audience. As well, the lesson includes elements of solfeggio and music theory. Students have an opportunity to become not only solo performers, but also play in duets and trios in numerous recitals and school concerts over the school year.
Sue Miller (2007) earned a BA in Music Education from Susquehanna University and has since taken Graduate Level (Continuing Education) courses from Westminster Choir College in Piano Pedagogy. Most recently she studied advanced classical technique with Dr. Stanley Yerlow (www.yerlow.com) who teaches and performs in the NYC area and is a professor at Fordham University. Her current studies with David Kenney with a focus to jazz improvisation, theory and arranging. Ms. Miller has performed in many different venues over the years, as a solo artist, accompanist and most currently as a band leader.
Jonathan Thompson (2007) is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who talents as a saxophonist, guitarist, and vocalist have been a contribution to the Philadelphia music scene for over ten years. He currently collaborates through writing, performance and / or studio work with Philadelphia and New York area artists including the Machine, Matt Davis’s Aerial Photograph, Oud Blues, Ellipsis, Chris Harford, Sinking Ship and Jason Fraticelli and the Dreams.
Jon first moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1990s to attend the University of the Arts, and he graduated with a B.A. in music from Temple University. After moving to New York in 2000 and finding work as a sideman in jazz and klezmer bands, he moved to Lambertville, New Jersey, where he began writing songs that drew on country and folk influences. He formed the alt-country band Lazlo, which released two full-length albums (“Lazlo” and “Old Steel Company”) and opened for national acts such as Lyle Lovett. With other artists, Jon has opened for the Wailers, Bernie Worrell and the Woo Warriors, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan As Police Woman, Cassandra Wilson, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, and the Jazz Mandolin Project to name a few. In the jazz world, Jon has had the opportunity to play with Terrell Stafford, John Swana, Phil Roy, Larry Mckenna, Grover Washington, Jim Holton, Jon Madof’s Rashanim and Jonathan Blake.
He returned to Philadelphia in 2006 and began working as a multi-instrumentalist with local and national artists. Jon is a faculty member at the Lawrenceville School, the Princeton Montessori School and the Pennington School, where he teaches guitar and woodwinds.