Suzuki Graduation

The Suzuki Graduation tradition originated in Japan.  Dr. Suzuki would wake up around 5:00 a.m. every morning and listen to hundreds of tape recordings sent to him from all over Japan. Dr. Suzuki incorporated a Suzuki Graduation System in which students, when they reached certain playing levels, would record polished review pieces, and in return, would receive Dr. Suzuki’s constructive comments about their playing. This was a celebration of accomplishment. It was never a “pass or fail” situation, since Dr. Suzuki trusted that a teacher would only have a student prepare and submit a recording when he or she was musically ready. Dr. Suzuki also knew it was the process of preparing these recordings in which the real learning and progress took place.  Please see below for our graduation process.

Are you a teacher member?

This page is for students, families and guests.  For teacher information about graduation, please visit the teacher member page.  

Evaluation Objectives

I.  Fluent Memory, Rhythmic Integrity, Accurate Pitch

II. Beautiful Tone, Phrasing, Appropriate Dynamics

Lists I. and II. both contain the graduation requirements for all levels.  List I contains the more objective aspects of a performance, while List II contains the more subjective aspects. The levels of graduation require increasing skill in all areas, particularly those in List II.

Instruments Represented

SMAC-SDB currently offers graduation for the following instruments:

  • Cello
  • Guitar
  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Piano
  • Harp

Graduation Process

Step 1

Families of graduating students must be current SMAC-SDB Family members.

Please join or renew your membership.

Graduation committees cannot evaluate recordings from students who are not current members.

Step 2

After working with your teacher, an audio or video recording is made by either the student at home or in lesson with their teacher. Graduation Level Pieces can be found here.

The teacher emails the recording to the appropriate graduation committee.  Teachers, please see the teacher member graduation page for details.  

Step 3

The graduation committee reviews recording. Feedback along with dates, times, and locations of rehearsals and the recital are emailed to the teacher.


Step 4

The teacher emails before the deadline to the Graduation Committee the name and composer of the piece the student intends to perform.

Graduation Recitals

Recitals and rehearsals with piano accompaniment will take place in January and June. Exact times and locations vary as they are dependent on availability. 

Recital Piece Selection Deadline:

Students may perform the graduation piece or another piece for the recital; however, if their teacher does not email the graduation committee the name and composer of the piece by the deadline then the student must perform their graduation piece.

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