BM, Ithaca College
Teri Einfeldt is the Chair of the Suzuki Department at The Hartt School Community Division, where she maintains a studio of students from ages 4 to 18. In her role as adjunct professor at The Hartt School, she instructs Master of Music candidates in Suzuki pedagogy. For more than twenty years, Einfeldt has been shaping these components into a program which is now considered a national model for teaching the Suzuki method within a university setting. In an effort to provide year-round opportunities in the greater Hartford area, in 1988 Einfeldt founded the Hartt Suzuki Institute, a weeklong summer workshop for children as well as teachers.
Born and raised in Kingston, New York, Einfeldt began her study of violin at the age of 7 in the public schools. As a child and growing musician, she enjoyed playing chamber music and participating in orchestra. While at Ithaca College, she studied violin with Thomas Michalak, and began Suzuki training with Sanford Reuning, one of a small group of educators who pioneered the Suzuki method in the United States.
A Suzuki Association of the Americas registered teacher trainer, Einfeldt is a frequent clinician at weekend string workshops and summer Suzuki Institutes throughout the United States and Canada. She has participated and presented at several international conferences of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, at the Pan Pacific Suzuki Conference in Sydney, Australia, and at the Suzuki World Conferences in Turin, Italy, and Matsumoto, Japan. She has also lectured before the Connecticut chapter of American String Teachers Association.
In addition to her busy teaching, training, and lecturing schedule, Einfeldt continues to be an active performer. A devoted chamber musician, she also plays frequently with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. She is the former Assistant Concertmistress of both the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. Not surprisingly, Einfeldt has designed the Hartt Suzuki program to offer ample opportunities for students to participate in the orchestra and chamber music activities that she has always loved. She delights in beginning young quartets and developing them through high school.
In July 2011, Einfeldt ended her position as chair of the Suzuki Association of America. She continues to be an active member of the Association, particularly in her roles as Chair of the Teacher Development Committee and the Suzuki Principles in Action (SPA) Committee.
In Jan 2014 at the Hartt Suzuki String 25th Anniversary Celebration Concert in Lincoln Theater, long time Hartt Community Division faculty member Teri Einfeldt was presented the Alfred C. Fuller Award. The award celebrates the memory of The Hartt School’s first principal benefactor by honoring an individual who exemplifies the Fuller spirit through sustained commitment, outstanding service, and valuable contributions to the School and its learning environment. The Fuller Award represents the highest accomplishment in citizenship.
Since my original encounter with the Suzuki philosophy 45 years ago, I firmly believe every child has the ability to learn to play a musical instrument. An integral part of children’s learning depends on the direct involvement of the parent in all areas of their lives. It is my duty to work with each parent carefully so they understand how to help their child at home on a daily basis, incorporating a positive, nurturing, and motivating atmosphere with many creative opportunities for repetitions to accomplish each goal. Trying to create an environment of open communication between the parents and me is another extremely important part of my teaching philosophy. Getting the parents to share their feelings, whether positive or negative, or just asking questions, is not something I take lightly.
It is very important for me to involve the students in the lesson, asking them many questions. I want them to be able think through the process of getting from point A to point B. Often times I will have them be “the teacher” and they will have to explain to me how to do something technically. I tell each student that we all have a “tool box” and I am trying to fill their box with things they will need to become their own teacher. Then we have to figure out together which tool to use at what time in what order when faced with challenging spots.