Christie Felsing

Christie  Felsing headshot

Suzuki Violin Faculty; HCD Director of Teaching and Learning; Music Skills Specialist in Suzuki Pedagogy

Instrumental Studies, HCD Music

Hartt Community Division, The Hartt School
F 19

BM, University of Wisconsin–Madison

MM, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

Christie Felsing is Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Hartford’s Hartt Community Division where she teaches violin in the Hartt Suzuki Program and leads the Suzuki graduate pedagogy courses. She has been active in the Suzuki Association of the Americas as a registered teacher trainer for many years, served on the SAA Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, coordinated the 2010 SAA conference, worked as a staff member from 2014 to 2016, and served as a consultant for teacher development. Christie was assistant director at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa, for 17 years, and taught on its violin faculty from 1996 to 2014. In 2013, the Iowa String Teachers Association named her the Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the Year. Christie received her Master of Music degree in Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and her Bachelor of Music degree with Vartan Manoogian and Marvin Rabin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, she completed a nine-month Suzuki internship with Doris Preucil in Iowa, and her arts administration training (AMICI) with the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.

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.