SuzNews Vol. 14.5|May 30th, 2024

Our Suzuki community offers an encouraging atmosphere to 
nurture every child's full potential and love for music.
News from your National Capital Suzuki School of Music
A message from our AD

Dear SuzukiMusic Families and Friends, 

Congratulations and thank you for another wonderful year at SuzukiMusic! As this marks the end of my first year as Artistic Director (and almost two decades since I first became a member of this community!!), I am faced with the difficult task of summarizing the immense strengthening, nurturing and growth I have witnessed in our community, into this one short write up. But then, a realization came to me: what better way to express our theme this year, Community Crescendo: Nurturing our Connections, than to let the community speak for itself? 

I am grateful that my children have been a part of the Suzukimusic community and its sensitive, kind, creative and thoughtful teachers for 14 years so that they too can learn to serve the music. ~SuzukiMusic Parent 

“The Headstart program brings my child and I a sense of wonder and safe exploration side by side, which is all I ever hoped and dreamed to do with her.” ~ SuzukiMusic Headstart Mom 

I love playing in orchestra with other people.  We can make beautiful music together. ~SuzukiMusic Student 

“A warm and friendly community, where it always feels like there are people to rely on and lend a helping hand — I consider myself very lucky to be a part of it!” ~ SuzukiMusic Faculty Member

“I feel that my beginning here played such a crucial role in my development both as a musician and as a person and I would love to be able to have a part in that for the next generation.” ~ previous SuzukiMusic Student and recently appointed SuzukiMusic Faculty Member 

I also cannot resist an alliterative list of some highlights of the year for me: picnic, potluck, play-ins, practice buddies, partnerships (uOttawa, NAC), prizes (ticket vouchers, house concerts), petting zoos (for instruments, not animals), picture books (enhanced by music), pedagogy-sharing sessions and of course, lots of playing music together (ensembles, faculty, family and friends etc etc)! 

A huge thank you to each member of this community for making this year what it was. I look forward to what is to come! 


Emma Grant-Zypchen

SuzukiMusic Artistic Director 

The Year in Review - a slideshow

Please enjoy this slideshow that celebrates the 2023-2024 school year. Many thanks to Graham Ashford who has taken the majority of the photos featured in this slideshow (and throughout this newsletter).

A message from the Board

A big round of congratulations are in order for this last SuzNews of the school year! Congratulations to all the graduating students! Hurray! Congratulations to all the parents of young children for making it through another year! Hurray! It's never an easy feat!

As our school year winds down, I hope that everyone looks forward to a well deserved break. The group classes are over, the commitment was strong, and the beautiful music is the reward. I hope that you enjoy the break, and also hope to see you all again in the fall. Keep playing those wonderful notes!

Hubert Furey

President, Board of Directors for SuzukiMusic 

A direct and compelling headline

Congratulations Judy Olmstead-O'Regan

A cornerstone teacher of our school is retiring!

In 1982 Judy began teaching the Suzuki method in Toronto at Seneca College, then with her own program Suzuki-in-the-Beaches, followed by her school, Atlantic Suzuki, in Moncton NB. Judy has been a Faculty member of The National Capital Suzuki School of Music (SuzukiMusic) since 1995 and is a founding member of the Suzuki Association of Ontario.

To better understand the Suzuki Method, she traveled to Matsumoto, Japan, in 1987 to study with Dr. Suzuki where she took classes with him, seven days a week, for two months.

She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Brandon University and Suzuki Teacher Training courses from institutes at Ithaca, N.Y., Guelph, Kingston, and Steven’s Point, Wisconsin. Judy played in Symphony Nova Scotia, The Atlantic Symphony, Symphony P.E.I., The Regina Symphony, Symphony New Brunswick and the Trinity Chamber Ensemble (Toronto) and lately with a Celtic music group in Orleans.

Judy was the Suzuki violin parent to her two daughters, both of whom attended Canterbury High School Arts Program in the Strings Program and are now professional violinists in their 30s. As a trio in the 2000's, Judy and her daughters performed classical and fiddle music. They performed at the Black Sheep Inn, Tulip Festival, Art in the Park, and at retirement residences and charity events in Ottawa.

The Canterbury Strings Program has seen many of Judy’s students throughout the years and some have won awards at the Kiwanis Music Festival or through the Ottawa Youth Orchestra Association.

Judy, you have had an incredible and wide reaching career, spanning decades and provinces! You have touched the lives of countless young people and through your dedication and skill have helped them achieve their musical potential and beautiful heart. We wish you all the best for your retirement and knowing your love of the outdoors, camping, kayaking, canoeing, biking, hiking and x-country skiing, we know you will not be at a loss for ways to fill your time! You will be missed at SuzukiMusic and we hope you stop by to say hi at some of our events in the future.

Judy's final studio recital happened this past Sunday. Many thanks to the studio parents, Judy's family, students, and former students who helped make her final studio recital memorable. As well as playing their absolute best, Judy's students (and former students!) also serenaded her with some surprise pieces and her studio families worked together to give her some special gifts to commemorate her retirement.

Viva Suzuki 2024

Our school year crescendoed to completion at Viva Suzuki 2024 which took place on Saturday May 11th at Canterbury HS. This event could not have been a success without all the volunteers', faculty and students' time, energy and hard work. Thank you to all who attended, we hope you enjoyed the show!

Thank you Sponsors, Silent Auction Donors and Bidders!

Thank you to all of our generous Sponsors and Silent Auction Donors! Please click on their Ads at the bottom of this Newsletter and give them your support!

Our lucky bid winners will be enjoying an afternoon at a Broadway show, various concerts and theatre shows in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, an art class, an introductory Hypnosis session, instrument supplies gift baskets, an artisan gift basket and a Birch Bark Coffee gift basket! Congratulations and thank you for supporting our Silent Auction fundraiser!

SuzukiMusic Volunteers of the Year

In 2010 we established two awards to recognize exceptional examples of the spirit of volunteerism at our school. The awards were named after the inaugural winners.

The Aubrey Family was a cornerstone family at our school, guiding their five children from pretwinkle to graduation and involved in volunteering at all levels from helping out at group class to taking on the role of President of the Board. They won the award in 2010, had their youngest child graduate from SuzukiMusic in 2022 and continue to volunteer with IT help as needed to this day.

Anne McKerral won the McKerral Award for outstanding community volunteer back in 2010 and retired from her role as Treasurer last year after 30 years in the role.

Both give us big boots to fill and we thank them again for their generosity of time and spirit.

This years winners are:

Aubrey Award for outstanding parent volunteer: Alanna Wall

Alanna Wall is this year's recipient of the Aubrey Award for outstanding parent volunteer. From her early days with the school Alanna has always been very involved with helping out at our events such as the Play In and Viva Suzuki. These past two years she has taken on the role of Head Chaperone at Viva Suzuki. In 2019 she joined the Board as a director and took on the role of secretary in 2020. This year Alanna accepted the position of Treasurer of the Board of Directors which we are very grateful for! Thank you Alanna for all you do for our school!

Freyja volunteering at the Snack Booth on our Halloween group class Saturday.

McKerral Award for outstanding community or student volunteer: Freyja Dezort

This year's McKerral Award for outstanding community or student volunteer goes to Freyja Dezort. Freyja has been demonstrating the volunteer spirit with the help of her parents for years now. This year she signed up for many group class Saturday volunteer duties and completed each one with initiative and excellent customer service skills. Thanks for all your help this year Freyja!

Congratulations to our Pawel Szymczyk-Marjanovic Award Winners

Every year the Board invites all students in grade 11 and 12 to write an essay discussing a specific theme. This year's theme was:

"an exploration of the school theme Community Crescendo: Nurturing our Connections, and how it either relates to your personal experiences with the school, or with music in your personal life, or personal experience with music in the community."

Students are also invited to request letter of reference from their teachers. The essays and references are then redacted to remove all identifiying information such as name, gender, teacher, instrument etc and the Board reads the redacted essays and recommendations and votes on the top 3 submissions.

This year's award winners:

First Prize: Lucy Wooltorton $250,

Tied for Second Prize: Samantha Lee and Aryana Omidi $125 each.

Here are some excerpts from their winning essays.


My entire life I have been crescendoing to the end of my time at SuzukiMusic, awaiting the grand finale, the fortissimo. Along the way, I have had the opportunity to connect the communities around me with music. I have been able to build connections within the school and also in the greater community while also discovering myself. 

Since I was born into a Suzuki family, I have always been surrounded by music and the community it can provide. At age three I picked my instrument, a tiny little cello, and once I could play some notes, I started playing with my siblings at events through church and our elementary school. Every year I would play at our church's Christmas fundraising event, which raised money for charities in Peru. Our music brought people from the community in to help fundraise for not just local communities, but our communities from around the world. I would also play my cello with my siblings for school events, introducing my peers and the greater school community to a style of music that they were unfamiliar with.

SuzukiMusic is an incredibly important part of my life and I am so grateful for all the experiences it has helped me have through volunteering, playing for the community and building my confidence.


All my years at SuzukiMusic have provided me with many skills on how to play music. However, I am the musician I am today, largely thanks to the school’s supporting community and encouraging teachers that pushed me to my greatest potential.

To begin, I first joined SuzukiMusic during the pandemic, when everything was very disconnected. However, SuzukiMusic was not. I found myself amazed by the school’s dedication to keeping a unified sense of community by organizing virtual recitals to share music with everyone from the safety of our own homes. Since then, I have not only built a lot more confidence in sharing music with others, but also in pushing myself harder in preparation for recitals.

Moreover, group lessons have made me feel closer to the SuzukiMusic community because they give me the chance to connect with other students from the school and build relationships with them. Group lessons have greatly improved my leadership skills and helped me make relationships with more students, and for me, that is the essence of a community crescendo.

As I graduate from SuzukiMusic, I leave with many great memories as well as

important life lessons that I gained from my time at the school. I hope to build more relationships as I take on new projects and keep broadening my skill set, just as I did here.


To some, churches are seen as sanctuaries of spirituality and devotion, where people gather to worship, pray, or seek forgiveness. To me, the significance of a church extends beyond its religious connotations. To me, when I see a church of any kind, I am reminded of a concert hall echoing with melodies and memories of my twelve years of violin performances. I am reminded of my evolving journey as a musician, where each performance given and each note played tells a story of growth, challenge, and triumph.  

The values of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki have taught me patience, struggle, and most importantly, respect for my teachers who have become such an influential and integral part of my life. 

The Suzuki program has given me the opportunities to perform in various events, where I gained self confidence and learned how to to express my emotions through music, when words were not enough. Through all the weekly private lessons and ensemble practices, I have learned there is no such thing as perfection because we can always strive to improve. With the guidance of my teachers and the support of my fellow students whom I grew up with through Suzuki, I have learned to give back to the community by helping out with younger students through Jr. Ensemble- and this has also allowed me to flourish in my own musical journey.

From the first hesitant notes I played to the countless hours of practice that followed, the violin became more than just an instrument- it became a part of my identity, a means of expression, and a gateway to an amazing community. 

Congratulations Lucy, Samantha and Aryana!

Senior Solo Recital

Please join us on Saturday June 8th at Bells Corners United Church

Doors unlocked at 10:50am 1st recital at 11:30am, 2nd recital at 1:00pm

All are welcome and admission is free of charge.

Our Senior solo recitals are a chance to celebrate the hard work of our senior students. Book 4 and Book 8 graduates receive a medal. All students who have finished book four and beyond are invited to participate in this recital. Younger students can be inspired for what lies ahead if they keep practicing!

Kiwanis Music Festival 2024

Congratulations to our SuzukiMusic students who performed at the Kiwanis Music Festival this year.

Special mention to these students who were all recommended to attend Provincials! Great work!

Ian Chen, Cello Solo Level 2, recommended for the OMFA Provincial Finals for Classical Lower Strings

Torin Gauld, Cello Grade 10 concerto class, 2nd place, recommended to Provincials

Meredith McCabe, Cello, recommended to Provincials

Tristan Valencia, Guitar Level 6, gold medal, recommended to Provincials

Julia Afghan, Guitar Level 9, gold medal, recommended to Provincials

Congratulations and Best Wishes to our Graduates

Ian Hough

I intend to continue playing music for fun whether it be on my own or in orchestras. I’m going to be pursuing English studies at Carleton. Will I take music? Quite possibly as a minor. I’ve always loved music as it appears in various media, mostly music and game soundtracks. While I might not consider performing music as a professional path at this point in time, I am considering composition and writing songs as something I will continue to do and possibly study in the future.

Samantha Lee

I am Samantha Lee, I have been playing the viola for 10 years and have had such a blast at SuzukiMusic. I want to thank all the teachers at SuzukiMusic for their love and support and a special thanks to Keite for teaching me the past four years as I wouldn’t be here without her. I am not sure of my plans for next year yet, as I am still deciding where to go to university. However, I will still be around, watching my sister Allison preform!

Thank you again,

Samantha Lee

Noah Linson-Hudson

Next year, I plan to take a gap year to travel and visit my sister in Australia. I will also explore my future pathways for university while continuing to be part of the Suzuki community and furthering my cello studies. 

The Suzuki Method has been a major part of my life, teaching me valuable skills like discipline, patience, and perseverance while developing my creativity and love for music. All of which have helped me to become the person I am today. 

I'm grateful for the opportunity to have learned from such exceptional teachers and to be part of a nurturing musical community that values the growth and development of its students through the Suzuki method, nurturing through love. I want to thank Emma and Brandon for everything they taught me and for helping me to grow as a cellist. I also want to say thank you to Liko for always encouraging me to play from my heart.

The Suzuki community holds a special place in my heart, and I cherish all the lessons, recitals, and memories it brings. Last but not least, I want to thank my mom for her endless support as my Suzuki parent over the last 15 years. 

“Where there is love, much can be accomplished.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Aryana Omidi

I am immensely grateful to everyone within the Suzuki community, including the dedicated teachers, volunteers, and fellow students. I want to thank my lovely private teachers that I've had the pleasure of learning from throughout my Suzuki education, Carol and Keite. Your guidance and mentorship have profoundly shaped me into the person I am today. Their firm commitment and belief in my potential have been inspiring, and I plan to carry the skills, values, and integrity they have instilled within me, throughout my life. I cannot believe after 12 years I will no longer be having my Tuesday evening violin class!!!! I would also like to thank Liko, who’s infectious energy and contagious smile has never failed to bring me joy. Thank you for all your hard work, there is no other person I’d rather be accompanied by during performances.

Next year, I will most likely be attending Queen's University and majoring in Psychology, on the pre-law track! I am also excited to continue my musical education by pursuing a minor in Music. 

Lucy Wooltorton

Wow! I actually can not believe that my time at SuzukiMusic has come to an end! One thing that will never end though is my love for this school. I want to first thank all of the teachers that have supported me and helped me become who I am today. So thank you so much Margaret, Brandon and Emma (I am so grateful for you all). I would also like to thank Liko for being there for practically every piece that I have ever played in a recital. I am so glad that of all possible pianists, Suzuki got you! You are so kind and steadfast and us musicians can always count on you. Thank you for making our recitals magical! Finally, I want to say thank you to my peers, thank you for all the fun times in OSCO and senior ensemble! Thanks so much Suzuki! You will be missed!

Save the date! SuzukiMusic Fundraiser Concert

A note from the community

Back in October, Emma Grant Zypchen and Erik Johnson -Scherger donated an hour long house concert as a silent auction fundraiser as part of the Faculty Benefit Concert. Suzuki guitar parent Viola Hoo had the winning bid. She had the wonderful idea to offer this concert opportunity to her sons' school. So in December Emma and Erik performed for Merivale HS grade 11IB and grade 9 music classes.
Here are some thoughts from Elizabeth Dutton, Music teacher and IB coordinator at Merivale HS.
"I think it was a really great opportunity for the students to listen to some music performed by experienced musicians and that it was music that many of them may not have the opportunity to hear otherwise (since we don't have a strings program here). It was also a great opportunity for the students to ask questions in a safe environment. My class had lots of questions and they were really great about answering them all."
Parent Education Corner

In honour of Judy's retirement we are taking her words of wisdom out of the vault and sharing them with you once more.


Ideas and Suggestions compiled by Judy Olmstead - O'Regan

Lately, I’ve been asking my Suzuki families what makes practice during the summer so difficult for them. 

Student response - It’s hard to come inside when it’s sunny out 

Parent response - I have to make sure that my motivation is greater than my child’s. 

Why is it hard?

Kids have the notion that all regular activities and disciplines break for the summer. Family life changes; summer camp, increased sports activities, cottage life, holidays, guests at home make practice more challenging. Increased light levels means kids are outside more and probably exhausted by the end of their day. “The Summer just seemed to slip by”. This is a very common statement teachers hear in September with the unfortunate result of students having to relearn repertoire. 

1. Make a master plan - Sit down with your child and your family calendar. Block off times when you can’t practice ( holidays, visitors, etc) and then create a schedule for when you will. Doing this together takes the pressure off you when your child asks to skip practice one day. You can just remind him/her that you must stick to the schedule. Even though your child will protest, this will not damage their attitude towards music. It sends the message that you value this discipline and your time together. 

2. Think outside the box during the summer months 

You might have to: 

Practice under a tree while watching your other child on the soccer field. Practice before leaving for the day Go to your child’s camp/school during lunch Hire a teenager to watch the little one while you work with your musician child. Organize CD’s and music books to be where you are - car, home, cottage, Grandma’s, etc. 

Summer Practice Takes Planning:

THERE IS NEVER A GOOD DAY FOR PRACTICE! I can’t imagine any family having 30 minutes magically appear in their day! Just like there is a never a good day to make healthy food or start an exercise program. It takes planning. 

Discover what motivates YOU.This is a discipline, and you the parent must teach this to your child. You are the motivator, the organizer and the energy behind this endeavor. 

Some examples: 

  • Set a repertoire goal for your child this Summer 
  • Plan performances by your child/family. Have them play at a family gathering or create a concert for neighbors. Your kids can even make programs. 
  • Listen to music yourself to inspire you and remind you of your hopes and dreams for 
  • your child. Ottawa has back to back music festivals this summer. Some have free family events. 
  • Read about motivation- “ Helping Parents Practice” by Edmund Sprunger 
  • Search on-line for things. SuzukiMethod teachers share information and many now have blogs or websites. ( has free downloads). 


  • having every minute of the day filled so practice is impossible 
  • expecting your child to organize their own listening - this will never happen. Listening is up to you. 
  • setting unrealistic goals - a happy 15 minutes is better than a stressed 25. 



Create a monopoly board (Bristol board and markers) with practice jobs on each square. Build up points and rewards. Be creative by including silly things on your board as well. Instead of “Going to Jail,” your child might have to make a bow hold while lying on the floor, standing on one leg, walking around the garden, etc. For the “Chance” cards, have them answer musicianship questions relating to what they have learned during the past year, such as find an “a” on your instrument, name the notes of one line of your study, say the notes of the G scale backwards with your eyes closed. Humour is a wonderful tool, use it when possible!


Using your child’s name, create a bingo game (Bristol board, markers, small envelopes and old business cards.) Your child’s name spelled across the top of the board will create the columns. Now make columns going down the board (as many as you want). Mark off your boxes and put a number in each one. Paste an envelope onto each box. Write an activity onto a business card and put one into each envelope. Your child picks a column (letter across the top and box number, B 3), opens the envelope, does what it says and places a marker on that square. When all the squares in a row are done, your child gets to... whatever you decide. This game will take an evening of your time to create, but can be used for years. You just have to update the jobs on the business cards as they develop new skills. 

Summer Story 

If you will be practicing at a cottage, Grandmas’, or another new place, have your child create a story that incorporates the names of his/her review pieces. Much of the beginning repertoire can be used in stories about camping, relatives, journeys, etc. (Lightly Row, Aunt Rhody, Song of the Wind, etc.) You can read the story at practice time and your child plays each piece as it comes up. 

Grow a Garden 

Another idea is to "grow a garden." Either drawn on paper, or built from pieces of construction paper glued onto a larger piece of paper, add a stem, leaf, or petal of a flower for each day of practice. By summer's end, you have a beautiful garden with each part of othe flower representing a day’s worth of playing. 



Regular practice, review, and listening are still a must for this group, but musical friends play a more important role. Creating opportunities for kids to get together can really boost enthusiasm and motivation for practice. 

  • Attend a summer camp or institute. 
  • Find a practice buddy and get together regularly. 
  • Play duets. 
  • Practice new repertoire and put on a concert for friends, relatives or neighbors. 
  • Make a CD of your concert for Grandma for her birthday. 
  • Try a new style of music for fun – fiddle, movie tunes, jazz, etc. 


Using old business cards, create 2 piles. One pile contains the name of 1 review piece per card. The other pile contains 1 silly way to review: 

standing on 1 foot 

eyes closed 

as softly as possible

as loudly as possible in the bathroom laying on the floor 

marching while playing

Your silly cards can also highlight musical concepts: 

Allegro Presto Largo Pastoral 

Or moods: 

Sadly happily angry smoothly 


Practice is work and discipline, but any work goes down easier with a dose of fun, lightness, silliness, etc. Think of concepts that many of you experience at work such as Dress down Friday, Motivational speakers, Parties and lunches for special occasions.


Please Support Our Sponsors
Click on the Ads below and tell them you saw their Ad here!
Our Silver Sponsor
Our Bronze Sponsor
Our Supporters
Quick Links:
Our Faculty
National Capital Suzuki School of Music
Arts Court
2 Daly Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6E2
See what's happening on our social sites:
Facebook  Instagram  Youtube
Join our Mailing List