The CCM Preparatory Department is teaching families at Mt. Washington Elementary School how to play the violin. This initiative is a partnership between CCM Prep, Mt. Washington Elementary School and CECH PASS (University of Cincinnati College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services/Partner for Achieving School Success).

The Mt. Washington/University of Cincinnati 21st Century Community Learning Center after school program called “Castle Connections” provides opportunities for Cincinnati Public School students to experience a wealth of enrichment activities as well as academic extensions in an after school setting. UC PASS was selected to be the lead agency for Mt. Washington because of the varied resources within the university. Rayma Waters, UC PASS Co-Director states, “We are very fortunate to have CCM Prep partner with Castle Connections, the quality of instruction is unsurpassed and providing the instruments enables family participation. With less and less art and music being offered through the schools, this program is providing a valuable resource!”

Ten families were selected by the school staff to participate. Every Tuesday after school a parent joins their child for Suzuki violin class. In the Suzuki method the parent shares the teaching with the teacher so the parent learns along with the child. Since the program started in February, the families have learned how to hold the bow and violin, the rhythms of the songs and have just begun playing their child sized violins, provided by the Baroque Violin Shop.

The project appears to be a success. Classes are filled with laughter and music and wonderful parent/child engagement. “Our educational system is not conducive to family learning” states Amy Dennison, Director of CCM Prep, “what better way than to have your parent as your role model learning the same thing as you!” Parents are enthused about the project and grateful for the opportunity for their children to learn the violin. Kate Cinelli, CCM Prep faculty member and director of the project remarks, “I have been so impressed with all the families in this program! The Mt. Washington school administration has been so supportive and willing to give their time to the kids and the parents. Violin is not an easy instrument to learn, yet these parents have obviously dedicated a lot of time to working with their children every day. The families are also working in a very positive way, which is important for something that is so tricky. I am very fortunate to have had this experience, as it makes me believe more and more that Dr. Suzuki’s mission to create a positive community through the violin can really happen.”

String education is not part of most elementary school programs in Cincinnati schools. CCM Prep is committed to community outreach and offering top quality arts education to students who otherwise might not be able to receive instruction. CCM Prep is covering the costs for the program which is free to all participants. Additional funding is needed to continue this program in the Fall. “We can offer this program in a cost-effective group setting for at least half of what it would cost students on campus,” states Amy Dennison.

For more information on this program or other CCM Prep activities, please contact Amy Dennison, Director at 513-556-9466 or

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