Graduation Program

STE has a system of graduation pieces that mark the student’s increasing mastery of their instrument. This system has its roots in a Suzuki practice that started decades ago:

Dr. Suzuki chose pivotal pieces: landmarks in the repertoire. He did this to allow the child and parent to have a feeling of completion and to avoid the feeling of never-ending work. There is a profound difference when a student is learning a piece and when they have played it 10,000 times: reinforcing the learned notes and bowing, while exploring the piece musically. Arriving at a piece that is designated as a graduation piece and learning all the notes, bowing and dynamics does not mean that the child is ready for graduation. For instance, the ideal time to make a graduation recording of Gossec Gavotte would be when the student is learning Handel Bourree (record Bach Bourree when on Vivaldi a minor or record Vivaldi g minor when on La Folia. Dr. Suzuki says many times that the learning takes place after the notes are learned. After 10,000 playings, he says the students begin to know the piece. At this point, the student is really ready to graduate. Your teacher will be the one to decide and let you know if your child is ready to submit a graduation recording. We look forward to hearing your child play on the graduation recording and at the Grad Concert.

Graduation Process

When the teacher has decided that a student has attained this higher level of playing and is ready for graduation, here is the process. An extremely good quality recording, a high quality recording device, and an excellent quality of playing lead to a special graduation experience. The graduation piece is recorded with piano accompaniment and submitted for evaluation and comments. Students and their teacher make the recording anytime during the year when they are considered ready. Approximately one month before the Gala Graduation Concert, your graduation recording will be returned. The students, parents and teachers listen to the comments made on the recording together and then they try to incorporate these suggestions into the student’s playing.

Please click on the links beside each piece to see some of the things that adjudicating teachers will looking for in the video performance. These rubrics have been prepared by the STE faculty.  They can be helpful as you prepare your graduation piece for the video recording you will submit.

Please also look at the Suzuki Association of the Americas performance descriptors.  This was prepared by the SAA Teacher Training Committee and can be useful in preparing a polished performance at any level on any instrument.


Twinkle Graduation: Once a student has mastered the Twinkle Variations they are invited to participate in the Twinkle Graduation.