Summer Suzuki Institute

Heather Forman said: Feb 16, 2012
 2 posts

I’m trying to determine if enrolling my son in the a Suzuki Institute this summer is worth the very considerable investment. He is 9 and started violin at the beginning of the school year. We thought the kids would be getting more formal lessons at school, but they really just toss them in to the existing orchestra. He liked being part of the group, but was struggling with the instrument. Three weeks ago he started Suzuki lessons outside of school and the progress he has made has been wonderful. He is much more confident and is very willing to practice now.

His Suzuki teacher is a student and is leaving the area until August (although we plan to do some lessons via Skype). So I’m thinking about enrolling in a week-long camp. It looks wonderful, but it is a lot of money for us. He thinks it looks fun, but he’s not overly enthused. I’m sure he’d rather do a local camp with some of this friends. And he’s only in the early Twinkles.

I’m not out to get a concert violinist—I’d just love him to become competent enough so that he sticks with it and is able to jam with friends when he’s older.

Should I go for it this year? Wait until next year? Or is school plus lessons enough to keep him interested?

Thanks for any advice,


Litz Brown said: Feb 17, 2012
 Violin, Cello
2 posts

Hi Heather,
The summer institutes are great! Especially in your son’s case. His progress will be so rapid that his confidence will skyrocket and he’ll make friends that are playing. The chances of him sticking to the violin are so much greater when you add these immersion experiences.
They often offer finacial aid. I’d ask around and see what’s available.

Deena said: Feb 18, 2012
 9 posts

Hi Heather,
I’m very happy to respond to this post. Your experience similar to mine.
I only have have three answers to your questions—yes, yes, and YES! :-) My son is 9 years old also and is attending an institute this summer. I just registered him for it today.

My son attends the institute every summer and the only regret I have is putting it off when I first learned about it. It isn’t easy for me either financially, I’m a single mom and I operate a household on one income. In order to make it happen I have to plan several months out. I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I’m not trying to raise a professional either, I believe in the Suzuki philosophy and I’m trying to help my son gain confidence in himself and learn the positive benefits of working hard at something and sticking to it through learning how to play the violin. Violin has been incredibly rewarding. After the institute we really feel invigorated. There is nothing like it. If I didn’t have the means to do it, I would find a way to afford it so we could attend each year—that is how much I love it.

There are many reasons why I love the institute so much. The set up is wonderful. We had no idea of what to expect the first year we attended. The teachers are great. He has small and large classes. The kids and other parents are very supportive.

My son’s teacher also leaves every summer. She performs and teachers at conferences all over the United States. I found a summer teacher for him through the “find a teacher” search on this website. I found an amazing teacher who works with him for two months every summer while his teacher is away. I would consider that if I were in your situation. The summer institute will be great even if you don’t find a summer teacher, but I would encourage you to find someone to bridge that gap. His teacher loves the fact that he works with another teacher over the summer. If you decide to do that I’d start working on that right away to find teachers in the area allow the summer teacher time to plan for an additional student in his/her studio. We have to travel about 45 minutes away for his summer lessons, but I fit it in to our schedule. You might be able to find someone closer.

You can e-mail me any time if you have any question about the institute. I’d be happy to tell you all about it.

Heather Forman said: Feb 19, 2012
 2 posts

Thank you so much for your responses. Unfortunately, just as I’d convinced myself we should enroll, the institute (Ogontz in NH) booked up completely. I am disappointed, but I have enrolled him in a 2-day Suzuki festival in Boston next month. I’m going to keep an eye out for these opportunities.

Hi teacher did find another college student who is willing to work with her students in her absence, but she’s not a suzuki teacher and he’s been doing so well that I really hate to change. So we’re going to do weekly lessons via skype and see how that works.

Thanks for sharing your story!


Ariel said: Feb 21, 2012
Ariel SlaterViolin
Hopkinton, NH
12 posts

Hi Heather,

Are you in the New England area?? I worked in Lebanon, NH for a few years, and would encourage you to go to ANY of the summer institutes (or weekend workshops!) out here. I’ve worked with the teachers who teach at Green Mountain Suzuki Institute, and know that they’re really excellent—really warm and encouraging, and have always had them send home great things to work on with my students.

Good luck!

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