Statewide Graduation

Graduation Has Gone Virtual!

Click here to view the Upper Level Soloists Recital Livestream
March 6th at 6:30pm CST

Important dates

December 1: Registration opens
January 15: Registration closes
February 1: Video Collage Leader Tracks Available
February 15: Video Collage Student Videos Due
March 6: Virtual Piano Recital
March 6: Upper Level Soloist Event
March 13: Virtual Strings, Harp, Flute, Guitar Event


Thank you to all who registered for 2021! Strings and winds, please make sure your students have the following information:

Please prepare your graduation piece(s) so it is polished and ready to go when it is time to make your video. All leader tracks will be emailed by Feb 1st and student videos are due by Feb 15th.

ALL INSTRUMENTS EXCEPT VIOLIN: Please review all previous graduation levels so you can make videos for those pieces as well.* Violinists, you need only prepare your graduation piece since we have so many students graduating from each level. (Upper level soloists who have been requested to play on a couple of previous levels, you know who you are…)

For example, if you are a violist graduating from Level 4, you would record videos with the leader tracks for Levels 4, 3, 2, 1, and Twinkle. But, if you are a violinist graduating from Level 3, you will only need to make a video for level 3.

* If making videos of all previous levels feels overwhelming right now, send an email to There is room for exceptions in this request as long as we have enough students at each level.


Graduation Day Information

March 6
Online Piano Recitals: Times have been emailed to all teachers.

Upper Level Soloist Recital
7 pm Streamed recital

March 13
Morning Event – Flute, Harp, Guitar
9 am Group Class Experience (Zoom)
10 am Celebration Recital (Video collage – play along!)

Early Afternoon Event – Cello, Viola
12 pm Group Class Experience (Zoom)

1 pm Celebration Recital (Video collage – play along!)

Late Afternoon Event – Violin
2:30 pm Group Class Experience (Zoom)
3:30 pm Celebration Recital (Video collage – play along!)

Group Class Experiences
Students will have the opportunity to work with faculty in a group class over Zoom before their celebration recital.

Trophies, Comment sheets, and Programs
For 2021, all comment sheets will be digital. You can download the fillable PDF here. Instructions are available for Adobe, PC, and Mac. Please save each file and then open it yourself to ensure your comments have been saved before emailing them back.

There will be a $7 shipping fee added per student to cover the cost of shipping trophies and programs to teachers. Teachers are responsible for distributing these within their studio.


​One of the primary purposes for the existence of the Suzuki Association of Minnesota is a graduation process for students. The development of accuracy in rhythm, pitch, articulation, and musicality are goals of every fine music teacher. With nurture, review and maturation of playing skills, students develop technique and musicianship in pieces they know. This program involves careful preparation and joint cooperation on the part of students, parents, and teachers.

Certain pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designated as Graduation Levels. When students have studied beyond the piece for each level, they may graduate – that is, they prepare a polished performance of the set piece. They then receive a written report on their playing, and are presented with an award at the Graduation Recital.

Graduation is not an examination, and every child succeeds. Teachers present students only when they are certain that the performances are secure and musical and that the student is studying well beyond that particular level. To graduate is to achieve recognition for having reached a certain milestone in the ongoing process of musical education. Graduation is not compulsory, however to graduate at any level beyond Level 1, a student must have graduated at all previous levels. More than one level may be presented on one occasion.

The process involves SAM teachers sending all recordings to state coordinators who redistribute them to different teachers who listen, evaluate, and make constructive comments. Instruments currently represented are: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, Piano, Harp, Flute, Recorder, and Guitar. This program is open to all students of SAM members.

Students of string and wind instruments perform in groups until reaching highest playing levels. Soloists are chosen to demonstrate highly developed skills and repertoire. Piano students perform solos in recitals. All the many efforts that make up the graduation process culminate in the recitals at Benson Great Hall at Bethel University in St. Paul for Strings and Winds and at Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University in St. Paul for Piano. Graduates receive certificates and trophies to celebrate their achievements.​​

SAM Graduation

The History of Suzuki Graduation

​Dr. Suzuki would wake up around 5:00 AM every morning and listen to hundreds of tape recordings sent to him from all over Japan. He incorporated a Suzuki Graduation System where students, when they reached certain playing levels, would record several polished review pieces and in return 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 they were musically ready. Dr. Suzuki also knew it was the process of preparing these recordings where the real learning and progress took place.

​SAM Graduation

​The teachers of the Suzuki Association of Minnesota wish to continue Dr. Suzuki’s vision of excellence and create a graduation system that strengthens our program collectively and individually. We hope that Graduation will:
  • ​Make Review Relevant – We do not always realize the benefits of review until we do the work!
  • ​Offer Another Opportunity for Performance – Both for a video camera and at the graduation recital.
  • ​Foster Self Evaluation – Our goal is to give each student skills to eventually practice and learn independently. This begins with self-evaluation.
  • ​Begin an Organized Collection of Recordings – To celebrate and benchmark progress from level to level and uphold a high standard for each level as a group and individually.