Students boost their musical skills in Stevens Point - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Students boost their musical skills in Stevens Point

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -- When you hear the name Suzuki, you probably think of motorcycles and cars, but nearly 500 students from across the world, heard the sound of a different Suzuki this week at UW Stevens Point.

Samuel Sykes first learned to play the cello by ear.

"My mom started playing, and I would hear her and just incorporate it," said Sykes.

He grew up learning the Suzuki Method playing different pieces without help from music books.

"I practice everyday, and orchestra at school," said Sykes.

Experts said the method is similar to the way we learn how to speak.

"We have our home teachers, and learn by imitation and repetition," said Director of the American Suzuki Institute, Pat D'ercole

It's that type of learning style that has drawn hundreds of students from all over the country, and even the world, to the institute at UWSP the last 41 years.

Samuel said he's been studying at the institute for four years, and enjoys the different classes.

"There's a master class, that's with like two or three other people, and that's a piece that you just work on for the whole week, and then there's a technique class," said Sykes.

His mom, Carrie, said not only does the program hone in on the students' music skills, but the kids are also able to meet new friends.

"It's a really good opportunity for the kids to come to an institute, with lots of other children who are playing, because many of these kids are playing so  young they don't always have an opportunity to play with other kids their own age."

Samuel said he now plays his instrument by reading music, but still uses his technique to try to play a song without any help.

"Sometimes when I hear a good song, I try to figure out the notes," said Sykes.

Samuel said it's a skill he's not giving up.

"I don't know if I''ll make a career out of it, but I'll definitely keep playing," said Sykes.

Suzuki Institute leaders said the learning style originated in Japan, but UWSP hosted the very first program in the US. The summer program wrapped up with several concerts Friday, featuring all of the pieces the students have learned.

Online Reporter: Courtney Fasano   

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