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The Suzuki Program


Scroll down to learn more and/or register for the Suzuki Program, including Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes, Enrichment Options & Special Events.  Class Descriptions  •   Suzuki Faculty  •  FAQ  

The MNjcc Suzuki Program (formerly the Bloor Jcc Suzuki Program) was started in 1992 by May Ing-Ruehle and Louise Hanly. We are proud that 2022-23 will mark our 31st season, starting on Tuesday September 13th! Gretchen Paxson-Abberger has been the artistic director of 90 plus students since 1999, and is delighted to welcome back Kate Shaner from maternity leave. Kate will jump back onboard as Suzuki teacher, assistant administrator to the program, and manager/teacher of our SECE programs.


For the past 12 years, our program has also offered a weeklong summer music and arts day camp in July, with a roster of well-known guest artists, alongside of our talented MNjcc Suzuki teachers. This summer was exhilarating and inspiring as we relaunched on July 11-15 after two years of pandemic shutdown.


Our Suzuki students generally range in age from 3.5 to 18 years. Our program is non-competitive, and each student moves through the books and levels at their own speed.



For the 2023 season our program will offer a roster of Suzuki group classes and enrichment offerings, some tailored for online learning, some as hybrid classes, and others as in-person classes. We will also run in-person Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) Music classes (for 2 months to 4 years), an intermediate level adult mixed strings ensemble, and two levels of adult ukulele classes.




Instrumental Ensembles

Click below to learn more and/or register for all ensembles, and more!*   If no programs are displayed when clicked, it simply means we are not offering anything at the present time. Stay updated by subscribing to Culture at the J

*not all ensemble programs will be available every session

Concerts & Music Events


Music Lectures & Discussions


The Miles Nadal JCC offers the highest quality affordable arts programming for adults and seniors. Our lecture series and special events feature some of the best guest speakers and performers Toronto has to offer, all in an intimate and welcoming setting. We invite you to experience moments of discovery and connect with our community. For more information please contact  If no programs are displayed below, it simply means we are not offering anything at the present time.  Stay updated by subscribing to Culture at the J

Choir Members Only (Sheet Music and .Mp3s)


If you are a current choir member who wishes to access your sheet music and/or audio files, you must create an account or log in to your account below.  New music will be posted as available. If you are already signed into your account, simply visit our choir music page


Intermediate Ukulele

Take your uke to the next level! If you’ve taken our beginner’s class (or have previous playing experience) this intermediate course will provide you with new music genres as well as improve your skills and techniques. In no time at all you will learn new chords, read TAB, fingerpick, and even work on basic improvisation! 

Please donate to our Music Scholarship and Innovation Fund and help ensure that music programming remains affordable to all who want to learn! Amongst other things, the Music Scholarship and Innovation Fund supports special programs such as our youth Klezmer project; subsidizes music students; supplements funds for choir projects; assists with costs for running the virtual Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes, and supplements guest artists’ fees for the Adult Daytime Culture and Education Programming at the MNjcc. We are deeply grateful to our community for your support. Every gift makes an impact!


To apply for a music scholarship, contact Wendy Moss at 416.924.6211 x 6231;


Klezmer Ensemble

Join the klezmer revival! Jam with director Eric Stein and connect to Jewish music in this inspiring chamber group. All levels of instrumentalists welcome for this in-person program. You will develop solid playing and arranging skills, meet a community of musicians and experience the joy of playing together again!


Mixed Strings Ensemble 

Our Wednesday evening string ensemble is for adults who wish to reconnect and explore string ensemble music (violin, viola, or cello). With a variety of ensemble music, we will explore Suzuki group class ideas, build ensemble skills, and examine concepts for left-hand and bowing. Assignments and exercises will be at an intermediate level using compatible repertoire for cello, viola, and violin, possibly referencing Suzuki repertoire books, and/or RCM repertoire grade 3 level and beyond. 

Daytime Choir

In our new multi-access program, singers will have the option of participating in person or online. Join conductor Asher Farber this winter as we sing through a variety of familiar and new genres. 

New to the choir? No problem! We welcome singers of all levels and abilities.


My Pop Choir (at the MNjcc)

The MNjcc is proud to partner with My Pop Choir to be its’ first downtown location. When you join My Pop Choir it will quickly become the highlight of your week. We will be rehearsing in person and participants will have access to charts, vocal tracks, and instrumental tracks. There is no pressure to perform. We will all sing for the love of singing!


Beginner Ukulele

Yes, you can uke! Sometimes called the world’s friendliest instrument, the ukulele has a happy, joyful tone that makes it a delight to play. In this in person beginner’s course you’ll be surprised at how fast you learn to play chords, strum and tune. A portable, social instrument, perfect for parlour cabarets, talent shows, and family gatherings. 

SUZUKI PROGRAM - Cello class performance 3.jpg
For Children



Suzuki Early Childhood Music Classes

No prior musical experience is necessary. Parent/guardian and child (age 0-4) will participate in a weekly music class. Parents will enjoy watching their children develop rhythmic and melodic awareness, memory, and social skills. Teachers work with parents to build a repertoire of lullabies, action songs and nursery rhymes. More info:

All MNjcc Suzuki Program students will receive:

  • A nurturing music community with a supportive and fun learning environment.

  • A non-competitive atmosphere. 

  • Weekly violin and cello group classes (level appropriate). 

  • Weekly private lessons (scheduled directly with the private teacher), usually taught at the home studio of the teacher. 

  • Choice of one enrichment class per term (please refer to our class descriptions document). 

  • Chamber music ensembles (for students in book 5 and beyond). 

  • Guest ensembles and/or performers to work with students and families. 

  • Performances scheduled at the end of each term (solo recitals, enrichment class recitals, graduation recitals). 

  • Community outreach performance opportunities.


  • Think about whether or not your child is ready to start an instrument. Be aware of the time commitment for you, the parent as a routine home practice helper. 

  • If you are not sure your child is quite ready and may not yet have the focus required to learn an instrument, you may wish to consider registering for our Suzuki Early Childhood Music classes for children ages 2 months – 4 years. 

  • Attend our Virtual Parent Information Evening: Tuesday January 17, 2023 7:00 – 8:00 pm. This info meetings will be scheduled virtually on Zoom; however, registration is required. 

  • Choose an instrument: violin, viola, cello. If you are not sure which instrument your child is interested in, you can find out during the observation process. 

  • You are required to come observe with your child, a combination of at least 1 group lesson, and 2 private lessons. Observations help you and the teacher know whether your child is ready to start lessons. Observations also help parents to understand their role as a home practice helper. For a list of teachers, private lesson schedules, and group lesson schedules, please contact: Gretchen Paxson-Abberger (Artistic Director, MNjcc Suzuki Program) email: or cell phone: 647-637-1530, OR (Admin assistant) Kate Shaner email: 

  • Read Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki, and/or Beyond the Music Lesson by Christine Goodner. 

  • Start listening to the Volume I Suzuki CD of the pieces your child will be learning.

Fees and Registration

Information Payment is processed from a VISA or MasterCard, or debit from a cheque account. Group class payment is through the MNjcc and is separate from the private lesson payment. Registration will be online and paid per 10-week term.


We offer three options for registration. Parents should consult with their private teacher regarding the best choice for their child:

1) Violin Beginner to Book 8 – $295 per term (includes 1 group class, 1 enrichment class). Cello Beginner to Book 8 – $295 per term (includes 1 group class, 1 enrichment class).

2) Enrichment Class ONLY – $150 per term (choice of 1 class)

3) Group Class ONLY – $150 per term (choice of 1 class)

Sibling Discount - 10% (for each child)


Possible additional fees: Facility fee - pertains to families taking private lessons at the MNjcc - $75 per term. After confirming with your private teacher of room availability, you can pay this fee when registering for classes.

Possible theory class fees - $20 - $25 materials fee for theory class books (as per advice of the teacher).


Financial Assistance

Our mandate is to help make innovative and dynamic music programs accessible to all, regardless of financial status or circumstances. Our Equitable Access Program, and Music Innovation Fund (MIF) provide financial assistance towards our music programs and choirs. To apply please click here.


Beethoven, The Bible and Symphonic Spirituality  

Beethoven was not overtly religious, and yet, he was likely more influenced by traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs, values and the Bible than anyone realizes. His music is inherently spiritual, at times directly inspired by Jewish sensibilities, and for many secularists, listening to Beethoven’s compositions is akin to a religious experience. Is it possible that the themes he expressed throughout his career were a type of midrash (religious commentary), a musical search for meaning and answers? Guest speaker: Robert Harris, CBC Radio host and Globe & Mail music critic               

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