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Kathleen Schoen

Asynchronous Lessons

Asynchronous means “not at the same time”.

We can have a lesson even if we are not together at the same moment.

Students can submit recordings, and teachers respond with comments, further recordings of more examples, links to online resources, or whatever else will be most helpful based on the student submission.

What began as a coping strategy for bad internet and poor audio connections during the COVID pandemic, has now proven to be extremely helpful when travel or other life events interfere with scheduled lessons.

Making recordings is a doubly enriching experience for students. Listening to a recording of their playing promotes the development of objective listening and performance confidence. The most common remark I hear when students listen to their own recordings is “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was!” Small errors tend to be very big in the memory – hearing a playback puts them back into proportion.

If you choose to have an asynchronous lesson, please do not put off making the recording until the day before your next in person lesson! You will get the most value from this experience if you submit the recording in time for your teacher to offer some useful feedback that you can use before the next lesson. An asynchronous lesson recording is not homework to be submitted the next time you see the teacher! It is part of the ongoing give & take of information between you and your teacher in between lessons.

Parent Orientation

by Kathleen Schoen 0 Comments

We have always offered the Every Child Can!  (ECC!) class as part of the new parent orientation for beginners.

This is included in Schoen Duo Studio lessons at no extra cost.

This course is an excellent orientation to the Suzuki philosophy of learning, and very useful for families entering the program with a beginner student. 

Classes are online via Zoom. 

Register here to reserve your place in the class:


NO payment is required, but you still need to register as there are a limited number of places.

If you want to receive a registerable credit for the course from the Suzuki Association of the Americas (the course is a required pre-requisite to all other teacher training courses) 100% attendance is required.

If you have no intention of doing any further training, but are taking the class to support your own role as a parent of a young student, the classes will be recorded and replays will be available to those who register for the class. So even if you took the class before, it it possible to do it again or review the replays as a refresher if you cannot attend all the sessions. 

The class is a prerequisite to another different course: “Introduction to Suzuki Instrument”.

This is where we apply the philosophy, which is presented in the ECC! Class in a general way, to the specific instrument: flute, recorder, violin, and viola. This is the background to the STEP class for the parents – why we do what we do, what it feels like from the student point of view, and when do we wait or when do we move forward?

The “Introduction to Recorder” portion can be taken by teachers for SAA credit. Contact Kathleen Schoen at [email protected] for details.

Facebook Student Sharing Group

by Kathleen Schoen 0 Comments

I recently took a couple of online courses where the class used a facebook group as a platform for submitting assignments.

As much as I love to dislike social media, you have to admit that the platform is one of the simplest and most familiar ways to share text, recordings, and images. 

So I thought it would be worth trying it out for our own studio. If you have a project that involves sending your teacher a picture or a recording, let’s see if you can upload it to this group. This is a PRIVATE group – no one will be able to see what we put here other than the student families we have invited to join us in this space. 

Invitations are sent privately to individuals. To receive an invitation, email a request to:

[email protected]

This should make it easier to submit recordings – you can do them live, directly to the group, record them ahead of time and then upload them, or post them on another site and post a link. No more worrying about the file being too big to email, and having to use a mix of Dropbox, iCloud, Google, etc. It will make it much easier for your teachers too, to have all the submissions in one place. 

Added bonus – we get to see what our friends are doing – its like a big asynchronous group class! Commenting on each other’s efforts is encouraged, but please be encouraging. Positive and constructive remarks about growth and process are best (e.g. “I noticed that you held your instrument up more steadily / played with a more resonant tone / used more dynamic contrast than the last time I heard you play”). 

I hope you have fun sharing and enjoying each other’s work. We will post some tutorials to get things started, and share some of our own work with you as well. Participation in this space is optional, its just another offering on our studio “menu” for those of you who are comfortable using the Facebook platform. 

Open Studios

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One of our new experiments in creating a hybrid studio space is scheduling Open Studios.

Open Studios are a space where everyone can come together and learn from each other.

The activities in Open Studios are based on your needs and requests. They can include discussions, short mini-lessons, group projects, guest artists ….. this will evolve as we use the space.

During Open Studio times, you can sign up or drop in to:

  • ask a question
  • get help with a specific point
  • play something to find out if its ready for performance
  • get help with practice
  • follow up on a lesson idea
  • check in after missed lessons 

Parents can drop in on Open Studios to discuss ways of helping the students that they are supporting at home.

Sign up for Open Studio times is already posted on the Schoen Duo My Music Staff website calendar.

We are trying to alternate weekday evening and Saturday morning times, for both local and remote student accessibility from different time zones.

You can sign up for a time by logging in to the calendar here:


If you are not sure how to sign up for a time on the calendar, here is a video tutorial:


The sessions will be on-line for now as we are waiting for our new in-person space to be completed. The plan is these will eventually be hybrid sessions, with both in-person and on-line participants in the same session.

Even if there is no one signed up for an Open Studio, we will open the call to allow for last minute drop-ins, and close it after 15 m if no one shows up. If there are more people dropping in than we can help in one session, we will extend the session if possible, but those who sign up in advance will have priority. 

Hybrid Studio

by Kathleen Schoen 0 Comments

We have been doing a lot of reflection as we slowly and cautiously returned to some in person instruction this year. There were many things that we were able to do online that are more difficult to do in person, and there are many things that we do in person that do not transfer well to the online learning environment. We want to combine the best of both platforms to create a hybrid in-person / on-line studio that will serve the needs of both our local students and our distance learners. 

Dr. Suzuki was an early adopter of cutting edge technology back at the end of WW II, by using recordings to help parents create an enriched home environment for music learning. We can follow his lead and use some of the on-line resources we have learned to use over the last few years to do the same thing – not to replace in-person instruction, but to help bring the lesson environment into the home at practice time. At the same time we can use on-line platforms to increase accessibility to instruction for those in remote areas, and invite both remote and local students to participate together in hybrid classes.

We are looking at late spring / early summer as an occupancy date for our new studio space that we are building in our new garage, so there will be some exciting in-person events that we want to try as soon as we have access to the space. In the meantime, we will run some other experiments to use on-line platforms in different ways.

We will be sharing more of our thoughts about how a hybrid studio can work in upcoming blog posts. We are also interested in receiving feedback about these experiments! Let us know what you think.  

Thank you for joining us on this adventure. 

Thomas & Kathleen