Tami Melton strings a web of connections with her teaching methods at Suzuki Music Studio of Mt. Pleasant.
“Suzuki philosophy is based on the involvement of parents in the experience. [They are] required to actually be present with their child during practice so they can support and supervise,” says Melton. “My job as a teacher, you’re only there with them for 30 minutes, but the parent is the one who can build that loving relationship.”
The violinist decided to open a music studio under this philosophy, developed by Shinichi Suzuki in Japan in 1945. She brought her colleague, Nancy Powers, on as an additional teacher and has been in business at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Mt. Pleasant since 2011.
Photo Courtesy of Suzuki Music Studio
“We really appreciate the generosity of the church to offer that space for us,” says Melton. “When we started, we didn’t know how we were going to cover rent. The church opened their doors to us.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, all lessons have moved from the church to remote classes. Even with the struggles that come with translating the sound of music over internet lag, Melton says her students have made exponential growth.
“The kids that have stuck with it and parents who have been dedicated… I think they’ve progressed even more in some ways because they have more time at home, more time to practice, and have been more independent,” says Melton.
The remote classes have allowed Melton and Powers to invite guest teachers to sessions. Teachers have varied in location, ranging from Bloomfield Hills to all the way from Wisconsin.
The studio even found a way to make its semiannual violin recitals happen amidst the pandemic.
Melton says the studio invited a piano accompanist to Emmanuel Lutheran Church and gave students designated times to arrive and perform their piece, one at a time. The performances were recorded and then spliced together to create a video that was uploaded to YouTube so family and friends all over the country could watch their loved one perform.
“That’s been something unique we haven’t been able to do in the past,” she says.
Suzuki Music Studio works with students as young as age four, but Melton says the studio works with adults as well. For inquiries or to learn more about the music school, visit facebook.com/suzukimusicstudiomp.