I know it is just the beginning of December and we are all swept up in the whirlwind of activities that precede Christmas, but I would like to ask all parents to think ahead to the warmer months of summer. Many parents must request summer vacation time right at the beginning of the year, so now is the time to take a look at the SAA’s website, suzukiassociation.org, and see if there might be an institute that would fit into your family’s plans.
Institutes are week-long “camps” that involve students of all instruments, at all levels. Institutes are modeled after Dr. Suzuki’s Summer School, which was held each year in Matsumoto, Japan. Margery Aber brought the idea to the United States when she founded the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Each student has a minimum of 3 classes each day: a master class with 3 other students at the same level, a technique class, and a repertiore class. Depending on the student’s level, there may also be additional classes such as music and movement, fiddling, orchestra, and chamber music. There are also extra activities: play-ins, final concerts, parent talks, and recitals. The best part is that parents come along too; you can go back to summer camp!
Institutes offer you and your child a chance to meet new Suzuki families and make new friends. You also have an opportunity to learn from teachers with a variety of backgrounds and teaching styles. Imagine the progress your child will make when he/she is playing the violin 3 hours each day!
There are institutes in all 50 states (including Alaska and Hawaii) plus Canada. The institute schedule begins right after Memorial Day and runs through mid-August. Perhaps you will want to think about combining an institute with your family vacation: a trip to Niagra Falls and then on to the Southwest Ontario Suzuki Institute or further east to the Ithaca Suzuki Institute. Or there is the Chicago Institute (held in Deerfield) right in our own backyards.
Matusmoto Castle in Japan. Matsumoto is where Dr. Suzuki started his original "summer school."
Taughannock Falls, near the Ithica Suzuki Insitute.
Chicago Botanic Gardens, near the Chicago Suzuki Insitute in Deerfield.
Niagra Falls, near the Southwest Ontario Suzuki Institute.