''Did you know that Belgrade Square is a real place? Do you know in what country Belgrade is located?'' asked Suzuki Strings teacher Pete Lindblom to his Bush Elementary School fourth-grade students. ''Belgrade Square is in Belgrade, which is the capital of Serbia. Let's play the song, 'Belgrade Square.' You can see there isn't any numbers to tell you how to play, you need to read the music."
Mr. Lindblom worked with fourth-graders during Suzuki Strings practice. Mr. Lindblom and Nina Karbacka hold Jamestown Suzuki Strings Program at Bush, Ring, Lincoln, Love and Washington Middle Schools. Suzuki Strings is an early childhood music program where parents attend the lessons with their children. It is a highly successful program that develops learning skills such as sequential learning, small motor development and reading skills, while introducing students to music.
''Suzuki Strings Program stresses music as a different way of learning. It is cross-curricular instruction, especially for elementary school students,'' Lindblom said. ''The program naturally incorporates English Language Arts, math, science and social studies. Most of the time the students don't even know they are learning different subjects along with their music instruction. The latest research continues to show that aptitude is different from achievement. Aptitude is the potential to learn. Aptitude in any creative art form helps students in their academic life. Suzuki Strings reaches students who may not have had this opportunity to try a creative art form otherwise.''
Suzuki Strings teacher Pete Lindblom teaches Bush Elementary School students Rebecca Freeman and Nakeya Hardy.
The fourth-graders, who have been in the Suzuki Program since kindergarten, are beginning to read music. Mr. Lindblom is also using math-based teaching to make sure the students understand what they are learning and how it relates to math.
''I think Suzuki Strings helps me as a student,'' said fourth-grader Nakeya Hardy. ''It's fun to try something new and has given me the opportunity to try a new activity instead of sitting around and watching TV.''
Besides academics, the Suzuki Program has added benefits.
''Whenever I play a song it calms me,'' said fourth-grader Rebecca Freeman. ''It is so much fun and a really good thing to do. I just love music and the sound of it.''
The Suzuki String students perform across the community including with the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony and at local organizations. Students also have the opportunity to play in Suzuki Groups with students from other schools throughout the school year.