About Marnie Thies

Suzuki Violin Educator


Website PictureMaster’s Degree
Violin Performance,
DePaul University, Chicago

Bachelor’s Degree
Violin Performance,
University of Wisconsin, Madison

I am a professional, full time Suzuki violin educator who has received annual training in books one through ten at The American Suzuki Institute, UW, Steven’s Point, WI.  In addition, I have studied the Suzuki Violin Practicum unit with Christie Felsing.  I have taught violin with the Suzuki method since 2002. I give private Suzuki violin lessons to students from the beginning to advanced levels. I currently teach in Crystal, close to Minneapolis, St. Anthony, Maplewood (across from 3M) and East Bethel, Minnesota.  My violin lesson locations serve the communities of Lake Elmo, Inver Grove Heights, Oakdale, Hastings, Stillwater, Afton, Cottage Grove, St. Paul, Roseville, Lauderdale, Falcon Heights, Mounds View, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Vadnais Heights, Minneapolis, New Hope, Wayzata, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Osseo and Golden Valley.  I believe that it is never too early or late to study the violin. In previous years, I have taught students ranging in ages from two and a half to 80 years old.

I believe that one of the cornerstones of the Suzuki method is parental involvement during the lesson and have noticed that these students advance more rapidly. I like the delayed note reading with the Suzuki method so that the student can focus on technique. However, when a certain level of technique is developed, perhaps as soon as book one, I begin teaching note reading skills.  The Suzuki method has been a well established way to study the violin.  Concertmasters of major orchestras including the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestra began studying the violin with the Suzuki method.  Other notable violinists who started playing the violin with the Suzuki method include Leila Josefowicz,  Sarah Chang,  Hilary Hahn among others.  Although one may not have aspirations of becoming a professional violinist, I firmly stand by this method of teaching the violin given the results it has produced.

In my opinion, a few important objectives during lessons include instructions and demonstrations about how students should practice playing things slowly so a student can practice along with a recording and learning about music theory.  Practicing efficiently is important for learning pieces at a faster rate.   Additionally I will sometimes ask a parent to record a musical excerpt of me playing slowly.  The reasons for this are two-fold; to check to see if their child is playing the right rhythms and playing in tune.  Another lesson goal is to explain how music works, ie music theory.  I think a great opportunity to explain music theory is through introducing scales in the lessons.

I also believe that having the correct set up will help students play more comfortably.  For example, the right shoulder rest and chinrest is essential to avoid later problems with TMJ and other jaw disorders.  The right shoulder and chinrest setup is also important for developing good shifting and vibrato. I feel that one of my strengths as a teacher is striving to make students as comfortable as possible while playing the violin.

As a reliable and patient teacher, I have worked with students of all ages/abilities and backgrounds.  I have experience working with students who have ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome as well as those who are gifted and talented. I believe that studying music can develop one’s work ethic, concentration and patience.