Vanessa Gordon's Music


Studio Policy

  • Fall semester lessons will be from late August to the middle of December.
  • Spring semester lessons are from the beginning of January to the end of May.
  • Enrolled families will be notified of specific dates for recitals, private lessons, and group lessons.
  • I do not teach on the following days:
    • Labor Day
    • Thanksgiving holiday
    • Winter Break
    • Spring Break
    • Memorial Day
  • Please view the calendar for specific dates.

  • Tuition covers 36 private lessons and 9 group lessons during the school year. There is an average of 4 lessons per month. Lessons are based on a $55 per hour rate for private lessons for Suzuki students. There is an additional $15 fee per month to cover group lessons and recitals. Payments may be made in cash or by checks made out to Vanessa Gordon Lenz.

  • Tuition for students taking 1 hour lessons is $2,115 for the whole school year, (end of August to the beginning of June) payable in 9 monthly payments of $235, due at the first lesson of the month.
  • Tuition for 45 minute lessons for the whole school year, (end of August to beginning of June) is $1,620, payable in 9 monthly payments of $180, due at the first lesson of the month.
  • Half hour lessons are $1,125 for the whole school year, (end of August to beginning of June); payable in 9 monthly payments of $125 per month.

  • Parents are expected to commit to lessons for the duration of the school year, the only exception being a permanent move "out of town".

Summer Lessons
  • Regular lessons in the summer are strongly encouraged and are scheduled on a month to month basis. A minimum of six lessons during the summer is required to ensure your child a place in the studio the following Fall semester.

  • Students taking six 1 hour lessons during the summer, (June to August) is $330.
  • Students taking six 45 minute lessons during the summer, (June to August) is $247.50.
  • Students taking six 30 minute lessons during the summer, (June to August) is $165.

  • Please notify me in advance of any absence. I am unable to make up or credit lessons that you cancel. A skype lesson or parent conference is a possibility if your child is sick or inclement weather makes it dificult to travel. If I should cancel a lesson, it will be made up in the summer, or you will be credited.

Parent's Attendance
  • For the Suzuki method to be successful, it is essential that the same parent regularly attends lessons and practises at home with the child. There may be an occasion when this is not possible. In this case, please try to notify me ahead of time, and please ask the other parent to record the lesson. Even if notes are taken diligently, there are many musical things that are better explained by listening than by words. You are welcome to bring a recorder or video camera to lessons at any time. (This can be helpful when parent and child have a different recollection of what was said at the lesson.)

  • Success is dependent on regular parental supervision of practice in the early and intermediate levels. Since you have made a decision to invest time and money in lessons and instruments, please extend that to ensure that regular supervised practice happens, so that you and your child will get the most out of your commitment. Six or seven practice days per week are necessary to progress; four or fewer days will likely result in frustration, lack of motivation and dwindling interest.

  • Please remember to play the Suzuki recordings daily. This is especially important in Books 1 and 2, and at times when a family is traveling and away from the piano.

Group Lessons
  • These are an important part of the Suzuki experience. Please try to make all the group lessons. Students gain motivation, experience ensemble playing , social skills, recital practice, ear training, theory and a lot more in a fun environment. I would like to ask parents to please remain quiet and focused during group lessons, when not directly involved. For all Group Lesson Dates (tentative and subject to change) please check the calendar.There are no group lessons during the summer.

Recitals (dates to be confirmed)
  • Fall Recital, in December at The Austin Waldorf School,
    Spring Recital, in May at The Austin Waldorf School
    December and May Recital dates will depend on availability of the Austin Waldorf School. For finalized recital dates please check the calendar. Students are expected to participate in both recitals and remain for the duration of the recital. Light refreshments / snacks are provided by me and parents. The recital is a fun and motivating event in which they get to share what they have learnt. It provides incentive to present a polished piece. Students do not get to play their most recent piece but rather something that they have known well for at least 3 months.

Workshops and Institutes
  • The Heart of Texas Suzuki piano workshop occurs in January. Please visit our website for more information at It is recommended that all piano students and both their parents attend. This is an excellent opportunity to get feedback from master teachers and it provides extra incentive. It is the only Suzuki piano institute in central Texas. Please see our for more information and to register.
    The DFW-WOW institute is now accepting piano students as well as strings. Their workshop is in the summer. Their website is

During lessons
  • Please arrive 5 minutes early to provide time for bathroom visits, washing hands etc.
  • Please remove shoes before entering the studio.
  • Please remember to turn off cell phones.
  • Please keep food and drinks to the kitchen area, or outside, except for water.
  • No gum, please
  • Please keep student's fingernails short
  • Siblings are welcome as long as they are not a distraction. If you have an infant or toddler, a back-up babysitting plan is advised.
  • Any toys that siblings bring should be of a quiet nature.
  • If your child has been ill, please make sure that s/he is fever free for 24 hours before bringing him/her to a lesson.

    Vanessa Gordon Lenz and David A Lenz shall not be financially responsible for any medical bills, discomfort or injuries that may occur to the student or his/her family while on the property of 17117 Oak Cliff Circle, Dripping Springs, TX, 78620. This includes but is not limited to the following:
  1. Contact with fire ants, scorpions, snakes, centipedes, spiders, dogs, bees, wasps or any other potentially harmful Texas critter, whether desirable or undesirable to the victim.

  2. Injuries sustained from a fall.

  3. Injuries sustained from contact with tools.
    Please remember that parents are responsible for all their children including siblings that are on the property at all times.

The Suzuki Method - An Introduction

  • The Suzuki Method is based on the teaching and philosophy of Japanese music educator, Shinichi Suzuki. He believed that every child has the capability to learn to play a musical instrument beautifully. Suzuki students initially learn by ear and are taught to recognize a beautiful tone from the first lessons. Music reading is introduced a little later, depending on the child. Daily listening to the Suzuki recordings is essential to make progress.
  • The Suzuki method differs from traditional music lessons regarding parent involvement. Suzuki parents attend the lessons, learn some of the earlier pieces and the same parent practices at home daily with the child. They are the "home teacher." This unique relationship between parent, teacher and child is known as the Suzuki triangle. In preparation, parents take an introductory course for the first 6 weeks. This is an opportunity for the parent to learn some basics of instrumental technique, music reading and discuss ideas about working with the child at home. Parent courses may be taken in a group with other new parents, or individually during the child's scheduled lesson time. It is best for the child not to attend but for the parent to come alone. During this time, the parent begins playing the recordings at home. The child is also hearing the parent practicing at home, and this usually sparks the child's interest. When the parent training course is completed, the parent and teacher both assess whether they feel ready for the child to begin lessons.
  • As Suzuki teachers, our priority is to teach students the skills necessary to play musically. We want the children to learn to listen actively as they play, rather than just learning notes to pieces. We are more concerned with how they are playing, than which piece they are on.
  • I have found the Suzuki method to be most effective for my teaching. Since reading is delayed, we are able to let the child focus on musicality and tone from the start. In traditional lessons, most children's concentration is on decoding the notation, counting and thinking of note names. Suzuki children have internalized the melodies of the pieces before they learn them at lessons. They are therefore able to focus on making music.

Some other advantages of the Suzuki method include:

  1. Ear training development
  2. Awareness and sensitivity to music
  3. Appreciation of musicians and art in general
  4. Memory development
  5. Increased ability to focus
  6. Motivation and social skills through group lessons
  7. Feeling comfortable playing in front of others
  8. Learning organizational skills
  9. Ability to overcome challenges through consistent work
  10. Learning to break down difficult passages into smaller components
  11. Development in other academic subjects such as math
  12. Most importantly, to quote Dr Suzuki: " We are not just teaching music but hope to create a noble human being with a beautiful heart."
Vanessa Gordon
August 2010

Thoughts on Suzuki Teaching

  • I am drawn to this teaching method because I believe that all children have the ability to learn to play beautifully and musically if given the opportunity and the right environment. I think that good musical training develops people who are more sensitive and aware of the arts, even if they do not become professional musicians. From the start, we teach children to listen for a beautiful tone. By beginning with learning by ear, and delaying reading for a while, children are able to focus on their tone and gain the foundations of a good technique. I see tremendous advantages in the ear training and listening of Suzuki students. They are good at memorizing their music and retain the pieces that they have learned. The daily listening is a foundation of the Suzuki experience and helps them to learn pieces more quickly. Ear training is a first step for improvising and it is helpful in performing chamber music.
  • In group lessons, students are motivated by hearing peers play, experiencing ensemble playing and becoming comfortable playing for others. In my studio we have a recital at each group lesson.The close parental involvement is unique to the Suzuki method, and provides a foundation of love and support for the child’s musical growth.