Teacher Training from home

Jenifer said: Jun 21, 2012
Jenifer NoffkeViolin, Voice, Piano, Viola
7 posts

I’m interested in getting my ECC and all training for the Violin Books completed within the next few years. I wasn’t able to make it to the Florida Suzuki conference this past week. Is there any other way to do it without traveling too far from home? Are there any violin teacher mentors I could become an apprentice of or involved with near me here in Melbourne, FL?

Jenny said: Jun 21, 2012
 98 posts

Martha Shackford is a violin teacher trainer in Florida. You could contact her about individual training:


Jennifer Visick said: Jun 21, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

I wonder if it’s possible to do something like ECC or any of the Book training online. Of course there would have to be a way to log observation hours locally, but would it be possible to do the lecture part of the course via some kind of distance learning? Hmmm….

Lori Bolt said: Jun 22, 2012
Lori BoltPiano
San Clemente, CA
261 posts

Love that idea, RaineJen…even though I’ve had ECC, it seems like at least that course could be offered online as there is no observation required. Also, it’s a great intro to the Suzuki philosophy for parents to take (maybe it would be less expensive online?).

What do you think, SAA Board?

Lori Bolt

Charlotte Dinwiddie said: Jun 23, 2012
Charlotte DinwiddieViolin, Viola
Poughkeepsie, NY
10 posts

I’ve spoken to a friend who is a teacher trainer and she said she declined to teach me. She felt that it was essential to have the experience of an Institute because you get so many ideas. You learn so much more than from just one person. It was also very expensive. I had another friend who did several books via private teacher and she also said it was far more expensive to do it privately than in a group.

ECC was boring (maybe because I taught so long before taking it and was well read/acquainted with Suzuki philosophy thanks to my friend who would not officially teach me)….doing it on line would have been welcome but I think the Suzuki board should consider how many people consider and advertise themselves as “Suzuki teachers” after just a day-long course. There are several teachers in my area who do just that and their training harkens back to the Book 1a—1b era. They absorbed nothing and give Suzuki philosophy a really bad name.

Paula Bird said: Jun 23, 2012
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
404 posts

Wow, my book 1A and 1B trainings took more than one day to complete. It took me two institutes to finish that training, probably about 11 days or more because of the large number of hours of observations that I needed to complete.

Personally I think the cost of teacher training is too high in general. We want to reach more young teachers, and this is not a demographic group that historically has a lot of disposable income to take expensive teacher trainings. Our institute at Texas State tried to address this issue by charging the same amount for the book one training as we did for the other book trainings, even though book one cost twice as much in terms of time. We made a decision that our teacher training was not going to be an income producing enterprise for us. We just wanted to make sure the costs of providing that training were taken care of by the fees we did charge.

This is all my opinion, but I would love to see it be easier to get admitted into the teacher training programs and be able to afford them. There are so many confused teachers and some may not have the best arsenal of teaching knowledge available to them. I understand that we are trying to raise the standards of Suzuki teacher level, but in actuality, these other teachers are out there teaching. I would rather see a program that is able to reach these teachers and put them on the right path so that they do less damage or confusion to students.


Paula Bird
512-694-7687 (text OK)
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Artisan quartet.com

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio
http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com (blog)
http://teachsuzuki.com (podcast)

Cleo Ann Brimhall said: Jun 23, 2012
Cleo Ann BrimhallTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
West Jordan, UT
40 posts

As far as ECC! being online, as a past-board member and an instructor of ECC! I would like to express my opinion. It sounds like a good idea—however there is so much of this course that is hands on it would be difficult. One of the most valuable assets of the course is the interactive discussion among the students. I find the live course much more successful with ten students rather than three. I can’t imagine it as an online course—one on one. It would lose it’s impact and valuable experience.


Wendy Caron Zohar said: Jun 23, 2012
Wendy Caron Zohar
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
100 posts

I am an advocate for real life ECC! classes, and don’t agree that it could be an online course or taken one-on-one. The class I took was well attended, very dynamic and hands on with all the participants trying out and comparing various pedagogic approaches together, discussing and sharing reactions to the material being presented, offering responses, listening and learning from others. Though I was already a versatile, successful traditional teacher with decades of experience, I learned so much from the interaction and greatly enjoyed ECC!. As a result it has been incorporated into my teaching and philosophy of education. I can say the same for being at an Institute class for Bk 1. The class interaction, working on each other, and observations of children in lessons can’t be replicated any other way. I look forward to training in all the remaining books this way, even if it takes me many years as I have to leverage the cost.

Wendy Caron Zohar

If we work hard, music may save the world.—S. Suzuki

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 23, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

Online training courses don’t have to be one-on-one. There is software out there which allows multiple people to participate in lectures & discussions, react and share ideas in real-time, and see and hear one another.

For example, consider the Google Plus Hangout feature, or the GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar/GoToTraining software…

I don’t think online training should be rebuffed without giving it a try. It could be cheaper (not having to pay for transportation), and done over the course of several days, so that more people (who might not have a whole day to devote to ECC, or who might not be in a place where they can even get to an ECC course) could be exposed to the ideas presented.

Of course an online ECC experience would be different from a classroom experience, but not necessarily different in essentials; only in the means by which those essentials are communicated.

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 24, 2012
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

I like the idea (on the Canada forum, from Kathleen & Barb, I think…) about combining distance learning with in-person coursework—potentially shortening the amount of in-person time needed for a “starter” (by which I mean ECC + book 1) course, and/or enhancing the in-person course with follow-up similar to the way the SPA courses have pre & post coursework…


They also bring up the excellent point that in-person SAA coursework is fairly easy for people in the U.S. to access, but not so easy for those living in Canada, and even harder for most of the population living in South America. There would be a market, I think, for online coursework even if one couldn’t be “fully” registered for those courses until some in-person work was completed.

I’m into the “online learning” idea at the moment because I just finished taking an online class last May (albeit not a music-related class) and I was very pleased with the camaraderie, interaction between fellow students, and level of interaction and feedback from the instructors and discussion leaders that was possible, while being located across the country or even halfway around the world from many of the participants, including the instructors.

Brighid Wagner said: Jun 24, 2012
Brighid WagnerViolin, Viola
Eugene, OR
12 posts

Wow Paula!!! Well said!!! I haven’t had a hard time getting admitted to the training programs, on violin or viola, but I do agree the training is so expensive that I can only do about one a year. I wish there were more double units like they have at ISSI. My studio pitched in and sent me there this week!

Sent from my iPhone

Lori Bolt said: Jun 24, 2012
Lori BoltPiano
San Clemente, CA
261 posts

The training is expensive….an investment of both time and finances. It is especially so for new teachers needing ECC! plus Book 1, but I also find myself unable to afford Teacher Training courses right now, so I’m limited to observation at the nearest Institute. With my family having two in college and also trying to rebuild my studio due to the recesssion, I also wish the fees were lower so that I can get further training done.

It’s wonderful when students’ families pitch in to send their teacher!

Lori Bolt

Barb said: Jul 3, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
685 posts

Just home from my ECC! and Cello bk 1 courses! I still feel the same, that a portion of book 1 could be pre and/or post institute. It was a bit difficult to get the 28 hours of class time plus 15 hours of observation all into the week. We had to do some of our observing as watching videos provided by our teacher trainer of her teaching in her studio.

Probably because of hanging out here and having read Nurtured by Love and Ability Development from Age Zero twice, I’m not sure I actually learned anything new in the ECC! course. Others might have a learning style which learns more from a live lecture, but reading is fine for me. Interaction can be done using a forum, and the few activities we did didn’t seem all that valuable to me, but again, to another person, it may fit their learning style better.

I DID enjoy Donna Lim as our ECC! instructor (though observing her teach pre-Twinklers was even more fun), and I enjoyed getting introduced to the others whom I would see around campus all week, and having our dinner break together (there were about 15 in the ECC course, only four of whom were in our cello course).

Had the ECC course been available online, I may have taken it earlier than four years into my teaching career. I ended up going to an institute which took me two days to drive to, and was only able to do that because I was able to find another teacher to carpool with. There are closer institutes to me, but cello isn’t offered, or was offered in a previous year before I was able to get there.

There was a lot of value in going to institute, interacting with others, live observation, attending and participating in performances, making music with others in our dorm in the evening (or outside during the power outage)—including a young book 1 violin student! But I think ECC! could be offered online and might reach more people if it were, and that book one could be shortened by having a portion of it be pre and post institute work.

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