Homewood Flossmoor Suzuki Strings

Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings

Parent Guidebook

Hello, and welcome to the Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings. Suzanne Rickman is the founding director of our program, which has been in existence since 1993.  For specific information about our program, refer to the Parent Guidebook listed below, which lists policies, fees, group times and other important information about our program.

Our purpose is to offer quality music instruction to students, by which means we will help to nurture in them a love of music, art and beauty, self-confidence, appreciation, respect, discipline, and self-love. The Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings adheres to the teachings and philosophies of the great pedagogue, Shinichi Suzuki. We believe that all children have talent when nurtured and developed properly!

Thank you for your interest in the Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings. Please feel free to email or call the director, Suzanne Rickman with any questions.


Parent education in the Suzuki Method is an essential ingredient to the success of the child's musical study. The first 3 lessons will be lessons for the parent/s to attend without their child in which the teacher and parent discuss the Suzuki Method's philosophy. We find that things go much smoother once the lessons with the children begin, if the parents know what is going on ahead of time. It is a critical component of the Suzuki Method that the parent, teacher and student work together. This is known as the Suzuki Triangle. These will be the first 3 lessons of your child's beginning study.The fee for the parent education classes is $75. 


All families in the Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings are required to be members of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Your membership will provide you with a quarterly "Journal" that is full of articles that will help you to continue parent education in the Suzuki Method. It is very helpful in giving insights on what you should be doing, what you are doing right, and new, inspirational ideas. The annual fee for this membership is $30 if you register through our school.


Parents are responsible for daily practice with their child, which includes:


It is our job to train the children how to play with beautiful tone, technique, and interpretation.

It is our job to make sure that the parent understands how to be an effective home teacher for his or her child. Many times, the teacher will work directly with the parent, to ensure an understanding of what needs to be done with the child at home. There is no need for a prior musical background to be a Suzuki parent! Don't worry. You will learn right along with your child.

It is also our job to help the parents understand that taking Suzuki lessons is more than just something fun for their child to do. These lessons are a means to an end. That end being, to create a healthy, happy, whole individual, who hopefully learns to love and appreciate art and music. We hope to help the children learn a sense of self worth and love through a long-term discipline that often does not have an immediate pay-off. It is the struggle that will help them to grow, and the self-satisfaction that comes with success, is a reward that can last a lifetime. It is our responsibility to nurture them with love.

The private lessons are taught at the director's house in Homewood. Beginning students' lessons are 30 minutes in length. The "practicing parent" will attend all lessons with a notebook to take notes in which to refer in the home practice. The practicing parent is the adult who will attend lessons and practice with the child in the home practice on a regular basis. Private lessons are scheduled dependent upon the teachers' and student's availability.


It is important to attend group class. Some of the purposes of the group classes are: to work on and reinforce techniques and musical concepts learned in the private lessons, to learn more advanced techniques through review of previously learned materials, to become musically flexible by accepting and reacting to differing interpretations, to improve direction following skills, to instill discipline in following the leader, to become a better audience, to learn to work together as a team, to learn to offer constructive criticism in a positive environment, to provide a social and educational environment for motivation, and to prepare for performances.

Children who do not attend group class regularly may be asked to abstain from extra performances, and from playing with the Group in our student recitals.

All group classes are held at the Woodlands Church on the SE corner of 183rd St. and Governor's Hwy. in Homewood. Group lesson times are as follows:

Odd numbered Thursday evenings (1st, 3rd & 5th weeks of the month)

      5:30 - 6:15 Pre-Twinkle/Twinkle/Early Book 1
      6:15 - 7:00 Book 1-2
      7:00 - 7:45 Books 4+

There are 2 solo recital opportunities, 3 group recitals and several outside performances, including "holiday" performances in December throughout the year. The calendar lists the dates and times. Although it is not required,  we do ask that students refrain from wearing jeans, sweat clothes and tennis shoes, as we encourage the students to dress nicely as a sign of respect for the semi-formal occasion that it is. Please plan to stay for the entire recital. It is just as important for the students to hear other students perform as it is for each of them to perform. It is exhibiting improper concert manners to leave before everyone has had a chance to play. If you have a conflict which would require the performer to "play and leave," then you should not perform on that recital.

The piece that is performed as a solo should be a "polished" piece, not the one that was just learned in time to play on the recital.

The recitals are followed by an informal reception, everyone chipping in to bring a snack or a drink to share.


It is important that you attend lessons regularly. However, if you have a conflict with your lesson time, you are free to try to change lesson times with somebody else. Of course it will be necessary to change the time to a day that the teacher is available. In the case of Mr. Joseph, that will be only on Wednesdays. Whether it is unexpected, or it is known ahead of time, if you miss your lesson, for whatever reason, including illness, there is a no make-up lesson policy. The cost of missed lessons should not be deducted from your payment. The exception will be if the teacher needs to reschedule a lesson with you. Lessons missed by teachers will be rescheduled at a time agreeable to both. If the lessons missed by a teacher cannot be rescheduled, a credit will be issued to you.

The summer semester is a little more flexible. Each student will sign up for summer lessons ahead of time. You need only sign up and pay for the lessons in which you will be in town to take. However, there will be no credits given and no makeup lessons given for missed lessons for which you had signed up to take.

All are welcome to come to observe any of the other private lessons. Observation is a great way to learn. Come and take all the notes you want for free.


Fees include private and group lessons, recitals, parent meetings/talks and other extra activities, aside from the performance classes, in which your child may participate. The Activity Fee is due at the beginning of the school year, or your first month of lessons. This fee helps pay for the piano accompanists and other musicians who fill in for us for recitals, group space rental, and incidentals like copies of music, etc. It is an annual fee, and is non-refundable, regardless of your child's participation in the recitals.

Please remember that your payments include your and your child's whole participation in the program. The whole experience is what is important - the week after week, the month after month, and the year after year. Consistent, proper home practice over time plays the greatest role in making progress and achieving success on your instrument.

Tuition - Tuition is billed by the quarter.  There are 12 or 13 weeks in a quarter, depending on the quarter.  You will be given a fee payment schedule packet at the beginning of the fall quarter. Please keep these with the rest of your bills, and make payments when due. Please mail payments or deposit them in the tuition mail slot that will be available when you come to your private lesson. If you have any questions/concerns about payments, please call Suzanne to discuss this outside of lesson time. Please make all checks out to Vivace Violins. Reminder: Tuition payments are due in full, regardless of missed lessons for whatever reason, and there are no makeup lessons. 

Fees for Fall 2018 (12 weeks - Aug. 27 - Nov.16)

Fees for Winter  2018 - 2019 (12 weeks - Nov. 26 - March 1)

Fees for Spring 2019 (13 weeks - March 4 - June 7)

Activity Fees

$75 per year per student

Suzuki Association of the Americas Annual Membership Fee                                           $30 per family if your membership is through our program.  

Late payments
- A charge of $10 will be incurred for payments received after the due date. No lessons will be taught if fees are not received by the terms start date.


The Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings Spring Break will be concurrent with the Homewood-Flossmoor School District's. There will be no make-up lessons or credits given if your child has a different Spring Break and you choose to go out of town that week. We cannot accommodate all the different Spring Breaks that all the different districts have.

Students with lessons that fall on school holidays will still have lessons as scheduled. If you go out of town for a long weekend and miss a lesson due to your absence, no make-up or credit will be given. You may try to switch lessons with another student.

The only holidays that occur during the school year that are given a credit if unable to be rescheduled with the teacher are:

Memorial Day
Labor Day


Gary Rickman, Suzanne's husband, who is a violin maker and stringed instrument repairman, is our resident instrument maintainer. We have violins for rent for the students. The fee is $25 per month, and 50% of your payment goes toward the purchase of an instrument. The instruments are of superior quality to those you may rent elsewhere, and the percent of rent to own is much higher. Since I am a teacher, I am committed to having the students in our program play on decent instruments, not pieces of junk!


We cannot emphasize enough what a great learning experience Suzuki camps and workshops are for the kids and the parents!! They are so motivational, eye opening and helpful in so many ways. And everybody has such a great time! Please start thinking now about enrolling your child in a Suzuki camp for next summer or participating in the NW Indiana spring workshop in March.


The school calendar lists all HFSS events. If you are in our program, please mark your personal calendars with the HFSS dates. Let your teacher know as soon as you can if there are any conflicts with any of the dates on our calendar.

Thank You,
Suzanne Rickman, Director
Homewood-Flossmoor Suzuki Strings
(708) 799-7095