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Christie Felsing

Suzuki Violin

Instrumental Studies, HCD Music

Hartt Community Division, The Hartt School
F 19

BM, University of Wisconsin–Madison

MM, Southern Ilinois University at Edwardsville

Christie Felsing received her Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying violin with Vartan Manoogian and pedagogy with Marvin Rabin. After a year of graduate studies at Boston University, including long-term Suzuki teacher training, she pursued a nine-month Suzuki internship with Doris Preucil at the Preucil School of Music. This experience led her to complete a Master of Music degree in Suzuki pedagogy at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with John Kendall. Christie is also a graduate of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts’ administrative training program, AMICI. From 1996-2014, she was on the violin faculty of the Preucil School of Music (Iowa), where she served as Assistant Director. During that time, she was presented the 2013 Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the Year award by the Iowa String Teachers Association. Her service to the Suzuki Association of the Americas has included being a member of its Board of Directors (2004-09), SAA Conference Coordinator (2010), Teacher Development Advisory Committee, and past SAA staff member. Christie is a registered SAA Violin Teacher Trainer, and leads the Suzuki pedagogy courses at the University of Hartford.

Teaching Philosophy

In his Speeches and Essays, Shinichi Suzuki stated, “The greatest duty and the greatest joy given to us adults is the privilege of developing children’s potentialities and of educating desirable human beings with beautiful harmonious minds and high sensitivity.” This particular quote speaks to my own teaching that is highly steeped in the Suzuki philosophy and methodology. I feel strongly that every child has the potential to learn and grow “talent,” and it is my responsibility to nurture that development in a positive step-by-step approach. Creating such an environment that allows for successful learning is at the top of my priorities. From the initial interchange at the lesson’s start to the closing bow, being respectful to each person and their ever-evolving role in the Suzuki triangle is vital. Leading by example, both in modeling of tone as well as in behavior, sets the atmosphere. My ultimate goal of nurturing each sensitive young person and building fine character is an overarching theme that penetrates my daily lesson thoughts. 

When I think how I actually apply this daunting quote, three words come to mind: teamwork, connection, and collaboration. As I strive to keep the child the center of each lesson, I recognize the importance of the parent and their role in their child’s Suzuki education. Without that collaboration, my work would not be feasible. Keeping open-door communication with both parent and student enables such teamwork to happen. If so, we are all working together toward a common purpose of developing an accomplished learner, as we strive for excellence. In the lesson, connection is made with that individual child in front of me at that very moment, connection is made through our playing (listening deeper and deeper to our tone), and connection is made through our interchanges (positive feedback and constructive comments). This ultimately results in the idea that if I believe in the child, they will come to believe in themselves. And, that result is truly the greatest joy in teaching.