BERKELEY HEIGHTS - Wharton Music Center (WMC) offers a free, interactive Suzuki violin demo class for children ages 3-6 on Tuesday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Berkeley Heights Public Library located at 290 Plainfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights. Designed to introduce young children to the violin and introduce parents to the internationally-acclaimed Suzuki program, the demo class will be led by Wharton Music Center Suzuki Program Coordinator Michelle Hatcher. The demo class is free and open to the public.


The Suzuki Method, developed by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, is more than 50 years old and has been used the world over to teach music to young children. Through the combination of a music teaching method and a philosophy that embraces the total development of the child, Dr. Suzuki's guiding principle was "character first, ability second" and that any child can learn to play a musical instrument. The Suzuki Method is based upon the way children learn to speak and relies upon repetition and a partnership between the child, parent and teacher. One of the main benefits of the Suzuki Method is that children start the instrument correctly, “so that we don't have to fix bad habits later,” says Hatcher.


"Students also learn fine and large motor skills, posture, different bow movements, get lots of positive reinforcement and gain in self-confidence," Hatcher says. "Getting comfortable sharing their first accomplishments is very important, so that when they get on stage they don't panic."

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The addition of a Suzuki Violin Program at Wharton Music Center in September 2015 has both Hatcher and Executive Director Karen Deschere very excited. Says Deschere, "We wanted to strengthen our early childhood education offerings at Wharton and adding a Suzuki violin program does just that.”


Michelle Hatcher, violist and string specialist, received her Bachelor and Masters of Music at Manhattan School of Music. While freelancing and teaching in NYC, she found her true passion, sharing her love of music with children. While receiving her Suzuki certification at the School for Strings in NYC, she started the string program at Rutgers Preparatory School and helped to build the Suzuki Program at Montclair State University. Having established a successful private studio in Montclair, Ms. Hatcher founded Fiddle Fun, an intensive music camp for Suzuki trained musicians to learn how to fiddle in many styles. She is the conductor of the Preparatory String Ensemble and Junior String Ensemble at the New Jersey Youth Symphony.

To find out more about the WMC Suzuki Violin Program, visit or call 908-790-0700 for more information.


The Wharton Music Center’s mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.


Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony which serves 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WMC offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.


The Paterson Music Project is Wharton’s El Sistema-inspired program held at the Community Charter School of Paterson and Paterson Public School 1/26. Students receive 6 hours of intensive music instruction each week with the goal of creating social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence.


Wharton Music Center is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WMC’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.