Mrs. Kay

Kirby Kay
Lower & Upper School Music

Mrs. Kay

Strings at the Fulton School are based on the Suzuki Method of Instruction.  This mother-tongue approach is based on the idea that every child can learn to play an instrument with the right environment.  Just as children learn to speak their native language with ease, they also can learn to play.  

The Cornerstones of the Suzuki Method:

  • Daily listening to reference recording
  • Daily practice
  • Reinforce concepts through review
  • Repetition
  • Skill as the point of departure
  • Child-centered approach to education
  • Break things down into small pieces in order to set the child up for success
  • Parental involvement with at-home assignments
  • Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend all classes
  • Develop the whole child by unfolding their natural potential
  • Learn how to play by ear at first
  • Music reading taught as separate skill
  • Standard of excellence
  • Teach students how to work through difficult tasks
  • Build self-discipline, concentration and determination
  • The purpose of music instruction is not to produce professional musicians, but to develop the whole child.

What students at The Fulton School can expect to experience in the classroom:


  • Match pitches in child-appropriate range
  • Sing rhymes and simple songs within a pentatonic range
  • Use syllables to match rhythms with bodies and voices
  • Find beat in duple and triple meter using bodies and rhythm sticks
  • Introduction to basic theory concepts with individual and group games
  • Movement to integrate feel of music

Grades 1-2-3

  • Reinforce skills from Pre-K/K
  • Pre-twinkle activities that prepare the body physically for an instrument in regards to ease of motion and balance
  • Sing and develop inner voice for pre-twinkle songs
  • Prepare body, bow and violin posture with cardboard violin in preparation for real violin
  • Introduce real violin with parts and how to care for the instrument
  • Separation of left hand and right hand introduction to the violin
  • Develop beautiful tone
  • Call and Response Learning
  • Play from verbal prompt
  • Develop fine motor coordination
  • Beginning reading concepts away from instrument
  • Use games and imagery to relate to the child with technique
  • Build focus and development through challenges and play

Grade 4

  • Reinforce ideas from Pre-K/K-123
  • Review body posture, left hand shape, right hand shape in regards to ease of motion
  • Build sequence of solo repertoire that systematically introduces new technique in a manageable way
  • Preparatory technical exercises
  • Focus on core ensemble skills
  • Continue with reading skills
  • Form Listening and Analysis
  • Identify exercises, sections or endings by ear
  • Holistic memory reinforcement through section play
  • Beauty of sound as an individual and ensemble player
  • Supportive non competitive atmosphere

What parents can do to support their child’s musical experience at home:

  • You do not need to know anything about music to help your child at home!  
  • Reinforce expectation of DAILY practice and listening
  • Follow through with at-home assignments sent by teacher
  • Take advantage of open door policy in classroom and take notes on tasks being covered
  • Attend demonstration days during your child’s class
  • Engage your child with what they are listening to by asking questions about what they hear
  • Take your child to enrichment concerts that are age-appropriate
  • Make listening to all kinds of music a part of your family rhythm
  • Follow your child’s lead by observing their likes
  • Find moments to “catch” your child doing something right and compliment them - this will motivate them to repeat the action without your asking them directly
  • Positive, honest feedback

Recommended Literature for Parents:

  • Nurtured By Love - Shinichi Suzuki
  • Helping Parents Practice - Edmund Sprunger
  • Teaching From the Balance Point - Ed Kreitman
  • How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk - Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  • Mindset - Carol Dweck