5. There are many paths in music
At a Suzuki Institute the teacher may show you a different way of learning then your home teacher. Please do not assume that one or the other is wrong as there are many paths to the same goal in music. Make sure to trust both your home teacher, Suzuki Institute teacher and yourself. That way you can gain as much as possible from a Suzuki Institute. Assist both teachers by being open to trying new things. Remember that the ultimate goal is to help your child grow and develop through the study of music.
4. Trust the Teacher’s Judgement
Please do not be discouraged if the time distribution is not exactly equal in a masterclass at the Suzuki Institute. The Institute teacher will use their own judgement to divide the class in a way that is most helpful for all of the students. Sometimes if one child is a good example of a certain point the teacher will use that student to show that point to everyone else (parents included). If a student is not able to be productive one day the teacher may choose to ease the burden on the child by releasing him or her earlier. Some young children learn best by watching until they are ready to try it themselves. It is best not to try to push or embarrass your child if they are having a tough day as gentle exposure and care will always lead to good results at a Suzuki Institute.
The San Diego Suzuki Institute is continuing to expand its teacher training offerings this year with three different classes:
10:00am - 5:00pm
Every Child Can!
Taught by Elizabeth Stuen-Walker
Every Child Can! is an introductory course on the Suzuki philosophy and its application to education. For parents, teachers, prospective teachers and others, this course provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the Suzuki approach to teaching and learning. For teachers, ECC serves as the first course in the Suzuki Association of the Americas Teacher Development Program.
July 30 - August 3
9:00am - 4:00pm
Overview of Viola Units 1-3 for Violin Teachers
Taught by Elizabeth Stuen-Walker
A survey of viola books 1-3. Teachers attending the course need to have completed an SAA audition and have violin or viola units 1-3 already registered in order to attend.
This overview course is 15 hours total with 8 hours of observation time. Both violin and viola teachers are invited to attend.
July 28 - August 4
Starts at 10am July 28. Ends 1pm August 4. Daily schedule will vary.
Cello Unit 1
Taught by Alice Ann O'Neill
28 hours of instruction and 15 hours of observation. 100% participation is required in order to register the class.
All participants must adhere to the Teacher Audition Guide. This means that Ever Child Can and video audition must be completed before attending the course.
3. Preparing for each Suzuki Institute Masterclass
Individual practice for the masterclass is very vital during a Suzuki Institute. It should first on your practice list. Orchestra, ensemble music, fiddling, and reading take second place to that but should also be practiced as well. The most helpful things parents can do at the masterclass is to take very careful notes during the lessons. This is so that you know exactly what to work on for the next masterclass and so you can report back to the home teacher about what you worked on during the week. Your home teacher will benefit from knowing exactly what you worked on during your week at a Suzuki Institute. Remember to have an open mind. Most likely students will be asked to play things differently with a Suzuki Institute teacher then with your home teacher. You will want to be open to new suggestions and trying things in new ways.
2. Ask your home teacher what to work on with the Suzuki Institute Teacher.
When you decide to go to a Suzuki Institute make sure to ask your currently teacher what they would like you to work on with the Institute teacher. Most Suzuki Institutes will offer a masterclass with one of the teachers at the Suzuki Institute. This will give you the opportunity to suggest to the Suzuki Institute teacher what your home teacher would like reinforced. If your child has trouble holding their violin properly make sure to mention this to the Suzuki Institute teacher as an area that you would like them to address. The teacher will most likely spend part of each masterclass stressing posture and coming up with new ways to do this during the Suzuki Institute week. The end result of this could be that your child will no longer have trouble holding the violin properly after a week at the Suzuki Institute.
1. Performance Opportunities
Many Suzuki Institutes will provide opportunities or solo performances. Some of these will be performances that anyone can sign up for while others will require an audition process. Some institutes will have an audition process before it begins or on the first day of the institute. If you plan on auditioning it is best to choose a piece that is at a high performance level. Usually it is best if it is a piece that your child has already performed before in front of an audience. That way the student is very comfortable with the piece and will enjoy the experience. If playing at an institute is new for your child then we want to make this as positive an experience as possible. Performing a piece your child knows extremely well is one way to help. Please note that at some Suzuki Institutes only a small number of students will be selected to play after the audition process. It should not be the main focus of your institute experience.
There are several important things to bring to a Suzuki institute to improve the experience. You should bring a cd player or have some way of listening to the recordings each day. Make sure to bring all the your Suzuki repertoire books to the Institute. If you are playing any non Suzuki solo piece make sure to bring the music and piano accompaniment as well. This is so your master class teacher will be able to see what you and your home teacher have worked on in your music. Also if you plan on performing in a solo recital it is a good idea to have a copy of the accompaniment part for the pianist. This is in case they do not have the music or are unable to get it in time or the recital. A music stand is the next must have item at an institute. This is so you have a way of practicing either in your room or anywhere in case a practice room or music stand is unavailable. Other important items include a pencil and eraser for orchestra/ensemble classes, metronome for more advanced students, a way of taking notes at each lesson, and a bag to carry everything in. the last and most important thing to bring is your smile and a good measure of patience!
by Jonathan Smith
There are a couple important things to do to prepare for a summer Suzuki Institute. The first thing to do is to practice daily if you are not already. This will get you and your child ready to have classes everyday during the week. In your practice before the institute make sure to review all known repertoire. If the institute sends you a review list make sure to focus on those first. Make sure that your instrument is in good shape. You can take it to your local instrument shop to see if you need a bow rehair(or new bow) and see if you need new strings. Be sure to do this about a month before the institute to have time for any repairs you need to be done. This will also allow enough time for new strings to settle. Typically it takes two weeks of daily practice for new strings to stop stretching.
Another important thing to do is to emphasize some of the fun things your child will get to do during the week. Meeting new friends, playing in large group class setting, sports, and having tons of fun! Lastly do not stress the hours of playing your child will do during the week. Your child will do that very willingly once they are there!
by Jonathan Smith
Your child will have a daily group class where she will play her review Suzuki repertoire in a group of the same level in preparation for a group concert at the end of the week. You may have a technique class which is a small group class to work on specific skills throughout the week. Other possible classes could include a movement class, theory/reading class, master classes, orchestra, and chamber music. Each day your child will have 3 or 4 class hours that they will attend. Daily individual practice is also highly recommended. Other activities might include opportunities to play in solo recitals, optional classes like fiddling, attending concerts, and other activities like arts and crafts, swimming, soccer, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee.
After a busy week everyone will be exhausted but happy and filled with motivation to come back the following year! I remember enjoying my time immensely at the summer institutes I attended as a kid. I was kept very busy at these institutes spending time in my classes, personal practice, optional activities, and spending lots of time with the new friends I made at the Institute.
A Suzuki Institute is a rich musical environment that immerses a student and family for a week. Dr. Suzuki believed that a child needs the right environment in which to strive musically. Motivation does not come by itself but is acquired through positive enriching experiences.
I started playing the violin when I was four and did not overly enjoy practicing that much. My mother set up a practice time for me each morning so it became part of my daily routine like brushing my teeth before going to bed. As I got older it was even more difficult for me to practice with the many different activities I partook in as well as a busy school schedule. This became especially true in high school because of sports and the difficulty of school. However every summer from age 4 to the end of high school I went to a Suzuki Institute for a week and practicing was easy and fun there! One of my favorite classes was my chamber group where we got to learn a trio, quartet, or quintet and perform it at a high level by the end of the week! I was easily able to practice a lot and enjoy it because everyone was doing it there and it was a great experience to be making music with so many other Suzuki students.