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Letter to Our Suzuki Families

Dear Suzuki Families,

I hope this email finds you well and that you are finding ways to enjoy the last days of summer.

It has been, to say the least, an unusual few months! Throughout this time, we all have done our best under the circumstances, and we will continue to do what needs to be done to weather the storm. Thank you to all Denison Suzuki parents and students, the Denison Suzuki teachers and support staff, and the Denison music department for all of your hard work, patience, good humor, innovation, and sacrifice. I applaud you all on your ability to adapt and thrive during COVID-19. Together we are strong, and together we will work to move forward and grow personally, professionally, and musically. And, of course, we will do this as safely as possible.

As you well know, last March, the Denison Suzuki program was forced to make big adjustments to how we deliver private lessons, group classes and performance opportunities. Like many, we were hoping we could return to the pre-March way of doing things by the time Fall rolled around, but that is not possible with the current realities presented by the virus. We will continue recent practices into the Fall with a couple of possible exceptions to some group classes and recitals. As we progress to the end of the calendar year, we will be mindful and hopeful about changes we could make for Spring 2021.

The Suzuki program is working in consultation with Denison University to create the most effective ways to carry on with teaching and learning while doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. We aim to keep our Suzuki families and teachers as safe as possible, and contribute to Denison’s on-going efforts to protect students, faculty and staff, Granville residents, and residents in the surrounding communities, all the while keeping your children and thus, the Suzuki program, moving forward strongly.

Here are updates about lessons, group classes and performances for Fall 2020:


A large majority of individual (private) lessons will meet online only. Assume your child’s private lessons will be online unless your private teacher discusses a different arrangement with you. For example, flute private lessons may be outdoors in person, held in Mrs. Habig’s backyard, but otherwise, online.


Piano group will meet online only.

Flute group will meet in a combination of outdoor in-person classes, and online classes. Outdoor classes will be held in Mrs. Habig’s backyard. She will inform students about an inclement weather plan.

Cello and Violin groups will meet in a combination of outdoor in-person classes, and online Zoom classes. Outdoor classes will be held at Denison University and/or Klarity Medical Products (600 Industrial Parkway, Heath, OH–Thank you Susan and Peter Larson for donating the use of your facilities during COVID-19!). The decision of which-class-meets-where will be made with safety, practicality, and convenience in mind.

Denison and Klarity classes will meet under tents or pavilions open to the air on all sides. If weather conditions force a class that was planned to be outside to move online, I will officially move the class online and you will be informed via text, email and the news will be posted on the Denison Suzuki website.

We will plan that classes will be held outdoors until inclement weather finally forces classes online, or until we are approved by Denison to move classes inside the Eisner center in October.


Recitals will be a combination of online Zoom recitals and in-person recitals. In person recitals will be scheduled only if it is determined that it is safely possible.


There will be no public performances Fall 2020. Suzuki faculty are working on a fun and safe option to replace our usual beloved farmers market, walking tour and nursing home performances.

We are aware that our Suzuki community is made up of families with a range of thoughts and opinions about COVID-19 and we respect everyone’s right to their personal views. Our rules are formulated based on the most up-to-date scientific research and evidence that wearing face masks and practicing physical distancing are the best ways to help limit the spread of the virus. We know that not all families will be comfortable with the in person classes and I will will address this issue in more detail below.


The following rules are formulated to keep us safer, and are in adherence to Denison, Granville, Licking County, and Ohio guidelines. All Denison Suzuki families must agree to follow these rules in order to participate in program classes and activities.

Face masks are required for all classes and recitals held in person whether they are held outside or inside.

Masks are required for all family members attending with a student. We ask that only one parent accompany each student to group class, and that siblings and other additional family members not attend group classes.

Masks are required for all people attending in-person recitals, and the attendance will be controlled. Specific recital rules will be decided and published in the near future, and will be formulated to keep everyone participating as a performer, teacher and audience member, as safe as possible.

Physical distancing will be maintained in all in person classes and recitals requiring everyone to stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces.


The Suzuki teachers would love to have everyone who is able to participate in the in person group classes that are provided for them. That said, we recognize that some students cannot meet in person right now because it would be too dangerous for them or someone in their family. We also recognize that some students cannot meet in person because it goes against their better judgement. With this in mind, the Suzuki program will work to provide a quality online group and recital experience for anyone who finds themselves in this position.

FYI–we had an “experimental” in person violin group class a couple of weeks ago and it went very well. Everyone wore masks, practiced physical distancing and adjusted to conditions very well. It was fun, educational and therapeutic. Suzuki flute students have had outdoor group class experiences too. These experiences helped us feel comfortable proposing in person classes.


Very soon a Doodle Poll (or similar survey) will be sent to string families who have children studying a string instrument. We want to know if you will participate in in-person groups. This will help teachers formulate a plan and schedule for classes.


Fall registration will be available online in early August. Brian Flynn will send you an email with the link and it will be on the Suzuki website.


If you know of any families who are looking for a unique and rewarding educational opportunity, please let them know the Suzuki program is accepting cello, flute, piano and violin students for the Fall.

I have attempted to present a large amount of information to you and I imagine I have missed a point or two. Please email me with questions or concerns and I will address them ASAP.

Again, thank you for your work and patience. Thank you for begin a part of the Denison Suzuki Program. Let’s look forward to a productive Fall and to finding fun and the sublime in our unusual circumstances.




Jim Van Reeth, Director

Denison University Suzuki Program

(740) 975-4644