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    Instilling the Desire to Learn
    Suzuki Training
    "Every Child Can"
  • piano
    Training expert musicians
    Preparatory Music Program
    Our program will prepare your child for the next level

Why music?

Congratulations on your interest in enrolling your child in music lessons!

Private music lessons have proven to be the most effective way to rapidly develop the musical potential in every child. In addition to developing a child's musical skills, lessons will develop universally beneficial skills in him or her, including an increased attention span, improved fine motor coordination, better cricital and creative thinking skills and the understanding that learning a skill is a process that requires patience. As children master each new step, they gain confidence in their ability to learn challenging things. Through playing for others, they experience the joy of sharing the gift of music.

It is my hope that above all, the students in my studio will learn to find joy in the beauty of music, and that they will use their well-honed technical skills to express themselves through their instruments.

About Leah


Leah Sweeney


Leah Miller Sweeney earned a B.M. in cello performance in 2011 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Throughout high school and college, she studied with Brandon Vamos of the Pacifica Quartet. While at the university she won the Thomas J. Smith Memorial competition, reciving a full-tuition scholarship. Leah also recieved the Make-A-Difference award from the Illinois Club in 2010.

Leah regularly performs with local orchestras including the Illinois Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, The Prairie Ensemble, Champaign-Urbana Symphony and the Danville Symphony. As a member of Eden String Quartet, she performed and recorded sacred music, collaborating with Grammy-winning artistis such as the Gaither Vocal Band and David Phelps.

In addition to her performing activities, Mrs. Sweeney is a dedicated music educator and has maintained a studio of 40 cello and piano students, ranging in age from three to adult. Leah is a registered Suzuki cello teacher and spends time at Suzuki training courses each summer.

She currently resides in Champaign, Illinois with her husband Nathan and young son Hudson.


Piano Lessons

Piano lessons are provided once a week via a forty-five minute 1-on-1 instructional training. Because we encourage the parents to be an integral part of the students practice schedule, parents must be present to observe and listen.

Cello Lessons

Cello lessons are provided once a week via a forty-five minute 1-on-1 instructional training. Because we encourage the parents to be an integral part of the students practice schedule, parents must be present to observe and listen.

Group Lessons

Group lessons for either cello or piano are provided once more than five students have commited to a weekly time slot. This can be a great way for students to enjoy group exercises as well as learn from other's strengths/weaknesses.

Contact me to learn more!


  • To establish practice habits with child and parent before schedule becomes more busy.
  • Brains are wired to learn language from birth; this natural ability is at its height when children are young
  • Child has less inhibition and fewer expectations, which helps child to avoid frustration. Parents are more willing to allow child to develop his/her own pace when children are younger.
  • Younger children are enthusiastic and eager to learn. They like repetition, which is essential for learning an instrument.
    • Having said that, if your child is older than the typical beginner, it is not too late! What matters most is the child's desire to learn the instrument, regardless of age.
  • Starting earlier makes student more comfortable with playing the instrument.
  • Suzuki uses the "Mother Tongue" philosophy of learning music just like our first language. At a young age, child is most receptive to language and most receptive to music. Thus, the Suzuki approach is very natural at a young age.
  • The Suzuki Method emphasizes creating a musical environment for the child, and listening to the repertoire on CD at home and in the car as a family is a natural learning experience for the child. The child hears good tone and intonation on his or her instrument and internalizes the notes to the pieces as he or she listens.
I think what you’re concerned about is “will he or she succeed?” The Suzuki philosophy is that every child can learn how to play. If the right environment and ingredients are there, his or her ability to play the instrument and be a musician will grow.
The more involved in music lessons that you are, the more successful your child will be and feel. Building a strong support system is important to your child’s learning process, and as a parent, you are a vital link in this support system. You should expect to be present at your child’s lessons and to help with daily practice sessions.
Cello Students
A cello and bow can be rented at a shop that I recommend and maintain a relationship with. Other options which we can discuss are buying, and renting to buy. A stool or chair of appropriate height is also necessary, and I will help you consider differently priced options.
Other materials such as a tuner, music stand, and a strap to hold the cello in place will be available at the shop that I recommend. The child will also need a CD of Suzuki Cello Book 1 and a notebook. Online purchases are an option, but please do consult with me before making any purchase.
Piano Students
A piano in the home in good tune is a must. I will refer you to a piano tuner if necessary. You will also need a notebook, and a couple of books. We will discuss specific titles and shops in town or online where you can purchase them.
I have a bachelors degree in cello performance from the University of Illinois, ranked in 2011 as one of the top ten music schools in the United States. Piano was my minor instrument while at the University and I play professionally. I have maintained a studio of 25-40 students for the past ten years. I train each summer in the Suzuki method and am professionally associated with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
I hold formal studio recitals three times a year. Each December, I host a holiday recital at my home. Additionally, group lessons provide weekly performance opportunities.
Even 15 minutes of daily focused practicing with your child contributes to the student’s progress. For young students, I encourage 30 minutes of daily practice broken up into two sessions. Slightly older students should practice 60 minutes a day. For cello students, daily listening to the Suzuki CD is critical.
Beginner lessons are 30 minutes and will be extended to 45 or 60 minute lessons as needed. 45- or 60-minute weekly group lessons will contribute to your child’s enjoyment and to the learning process.
Shar Music
Cases, accessories, sheet music, etc.
William Harris Lee
Recommended for rentals
Potters Violins
Recommended for rentals


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