Tate’s School launches music class for babies

Jay FitzOur Town Youth

Tate’s School has been known for 50 years for innovation in the classroom. Now the school, located off Cedar Bluff Road, has introduced the first Suzuki Early Childhood Education program in East Tennessee for expectant mothers, babies and toddlers.

According to a release by Tracey Van Hook, Suzuki Prenatal and Early Years is a music class for parents and children age 0-3. It is founded on the principles of the Suzuki Method of music education. Parent and child participate in a weekly interactive music class where parents enjoy watching their babies develop rhythmic and melodic awareness, memory and social skills. The parent plays a central role in all activities in the belief that the parent is the child’s first and most important teacher. The outcomes of these activities include increased vocabulary, socially acceptable behavior and sensitive group participation at an early age.

Erin Archer, Tate’s director of strings, is certified in the SECE Prenatal and Early Years program and was trained by the International SECE curriculum co-developer, Sharon Jones. “I enjoy working with children of all ages and wanted to start with children as early as possible. The Suzuki program was the perfect fit for me. I am thrilled to offer the first class in Knoxville, to Tate’s families and children,” said Archer.

SECE seeks to build on the child’s natural delight in learning and lays the foundation for life-long learning that meets Dr. Suzuki’s goals for all children – to create an environment for children, free from pressure, in which they can gain skills, a sense of purpose in life, an understanding of discipline and an appreciation of beauty, Van Hook said.

Jones, who lives in Canada, endorsed the local program. And Lou L. Tate, CEO and founder of Tate’s School, added: “Music has always been an integral part of the educational experience at Tate’s. For many years my mother, Helen Staples, would play the piano by ear and teach the children songs using movement. Gay Lynn Alsop teaches music classes now, but offering the Suzuki classes for babies and toddlers on campus was a natural extension for us. Plus, I love seeing those sweet children each week.”

Info: erin@archerstudios.com or call 865-693-3021.


Erin Archer, Tate’s School director of strings, holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in music performance from The University of Tennessee where she studied private viola, chamber ensemble, symphony orchestra and studio jazz. She has been a youth orchestra conductor with the Knoxville Symphony since 2005. She regularly attends Suzuki Institutes and workshops.

Tate’s School is celebrating 50 years serving the families of Knoxville (1968-2018). Tate’s mission is to nurture and work with children in preschool – eighth grade to promote academic excellence, assist in their intellectual development and mentor them in their moral evolution to the point that they are capable of becoming successful, productive, vibrant, accountable young men and women of sound of character and reputation. Tate’s School is a private, independent school that serves approximately 200 students. Info here.

Sharon Jones is a SAA registered teacher trainer in Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE). With Dorothy Jones, she developed the curriculum used worldwide in SECE classes. She began her violin studies as one of the first Suzuki students in Ontario.

Gay Lynn Alsop, director of music at Tate’s School, has over 20 years of experience teaching music. Her career has encompassed pre-K through high school choral music in the areas of general music, chorus, music theory, music appreciation and directing musicals. She studied music at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati Christian University and has a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in choral conducting from Eastern Kentucky University.

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