Linda Roberts, Sacramento, CA:
Kate has been my children’s violin teacher in Sacramento for almost three years. Kate is a truly outstanding teacher. She has an incredible ability to engage and inspire children of all ages (mine are 9 and 12 at this writing) but she has a particular gift for working with very young children. A violin lesson with Kate is “all in” – she gives it 100% every single time. She is fully absorbed and attentive to every tiny detail of a child’s playing. Kate has the rare combination of maintaining a high expectation of her students while remaining warm and welcoming. It is an unbeatable combination. One of our favorite aspects of Kate’s teaching is the book recital. When one of our daughters has completed a Suzuki book, Kate comes to our house and plays a duet of each song in the book with our child. We invite neighbors and friends and it is a wonderful way for everyone to celebrate music and a child’s musical progress in a familiar and friendly environment. When we recently learned that Kate was leaving the area, we were downright devastated. We are not just losing a violin teacher, we are also losing a friend and mentor. Lucky you, Ann Arbor!!!! If you are considering Kate as a teacher for your family, I strongly urge you to reserve a spot in her studio while you can!
Ryan Wilbur, Sacramento, CA:
My family has been lucky to have Kate Homer as a teacher for over three years now. My son, age 7, started when he was 4 and is wrapping up book 1. He has grown a tremendous amount in his time as Kate’s student. At the younger ages Kate would find various ways to keep him focused while encouraging his curiosity and keeping him progressing through the lessons. Adding fiddle tunes to the Suzuki material has only increased his enthusiasm. My daughter, age 5, also started when she was 4 and has benefited by growing up hearing big brother play. She is early in book 1 but can hum or sing nearly all the songs big brother plays. Her temperament and learning style is very different than my sons but Kate is always ready with a game or challenge to keep her engaged. Both have greatly benefited from Kate’s instruction, her excitement for playing is infectious. It is a fortunate family who finds themselves a teacher as dedicated as Kate. We are sad to see her go, but know her next group of students will have a wonderful teacher.
Sheri Parks, Cleveland, OH:
Our family has been fortunate to have known Kate Homer for the last three and a half years as our daughter, Emma’s, violin instructor. Emma started working with Kate when she was just over four years old through a Suzuki music program at the Cleveland Music Settlement. Kate has taken Emma from a cardboard violin to the concerto she is currently learning, an incredible journey in skill and talent on the part of teacher and student both.
Kate has many strengths as a teacher, several of which are organization, technique on the instrument, ability to teach to an appropriate level and not the least of which is a great sense of humor. In addition, she is great at adapting to particular personality needs and situations. She has a large “toolbox” of methods and ideas to reach out to, in our case, young students and to keep their interest through the lessons. She has been nothing but supportive all the way through our time together.
We are sad to have had to say goodbye, but are sure she will be able to help many students elsewhere in the years to come.
Letter from Jun Bang, Cleveland, OH:
Our family has had the pleasure of working with Kate Homer since the Fall of 2007. She began teaching my oldest son Matthew when he was four years old. Under Kate’s tutelage, Matthew has blossomed into a dedicated violin student. From the beginning, Kate used various techniques to help Matthew focus during a lesson and to keep him interested in learning the violin. If Matthew started to lose focus during a lesson or had a hard time picking up certain notes in a piece, she would use creative games to help him work towards a specific goal or an incentive. For example, if Matthew could play a specific portion of piece correctly, he would get a point. If he got it wrong, then Kate got the point. The first person to reach 5 points won the game. Due to his competitive nature, Matthew always liked beating Kate for points while learning the piece at the same time. Kate has also tailored the lessons to Matthew’s strengths as well as his weaknesses. One of Matthew’s strength has been his ability to identify notes in a new piece based on ear training. Kate has developed this strength over the years. Kate has also worked with Matthew to improve his note reading abilities, one of his weaknesses.
In the Fall of 2010, my younger son Peter began lessons with Kate when he became four years old. Peter and Matthew have very different personalities. However, because of Kate’s gentle and encouraging nature, Peter has also flourished under her training. Peter had the advantage of listening to his brother play violin since he was one years old. As a result, Kate has tailored his lessons to his ability to play pieces at a faster rate than his brother did at the same age. Kate knows when Peter needs to take a break during a lesson, especially if he has trouble focusing. She has also used creative techniques to keep Peter interested in learning new notes and to focus on his technique.
When Kate was on maternity leave, Matthew had a substitute teacher for the summer. Although the substitute was nice, she was unable to motivate Matthew as well as Kate. We quickly learned how lucky we were to have Kate for a teacher. Kate knows how to encourage children as young as age 4 and to motive older students to continue playing. She has high expectations for her students and is able to encourage them to develop at their own pace. Kate’s exceptional teaching ability is why both boys have remained with The Music Settlement’s Suzuki Program even though another program is located closer to our home.
Kate has shown Matthew and Peter that violin can be fun and enjoyable despite the need to practice daily. I know that both boys will miss her dearly after her departure.
Teri Einfeldt, Chair of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and Kate's Suzuki Teacher Trainer, Hartford, CT:
Kate is an incredibly conscientious person who knows the meaning of responsibility, respect, and commitment. In addition, Kate is a wonderful violinist who had a strong background before graduating from high school. Having worked with and observed her students, it was evident to me that not only did Kate understand how to teach the violin, but that she also understood how to teach violin to children, how to reach them on their level with difficult concepts that would lead them to excellence.
Richard Vadnal, Cleveland, OH:
Kate is a gifted music instructor and brings her unique ability to teach the student in a wonderful learning environment that is fun and exciting.