origin of the Play-In

Vincent said: Jan 23, 2013
Vincent Phelan
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Cincinnati, OH
1 posts

Does anyone know the origin of the first Suzuki Play In? Who coined the term? and
where it was held?

Jennifer Visick said: Feb 23, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

I think “play-in” is a sort of take off on “sit-in”, which was a much more visible term in the 60’s, back when Suzuki’s ideas about music teaching were first arriving in the U.S.A.

We sometimes call them “play-downs” now. I’ve no idea where the first play-in (that was called ‘play-in’ in English) was held, but I always assumed the idea for getting together to play a bunch of suzuki rep originated in Japan with Shinichi Suzuki’s first students…

Anne Brennand said: Aug 30, 2014
Anne Brennand
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Boulder, CO
55 posts

I would like to ask more about Play Ins. How have others found them most successful? What mistakes are common? Any tips for leading them?

Anne Brennand, cellist and cello teacher

Jennifer Visick said: Sep 2, 2014
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

Have as much fun as possible, choose rep your students know well, try variations on well-known tunes, games, let students choose their favorite songs to play, have more advanced students sight-read simple harmonies to their review pieces (if they are comfortable doing that), invite parents & onlookers to applaud, find a cool location, serve food/snacks, try some impossible thing/variation with a piece of music and dissolve into laughter when it doesn’t work, play musical games, improvise a new variation on an old piece, combine a play-in with a pool party (or whatever), etc.

goal: play as much rep as possible. Hang out, have fun, let parents chit-chat, give students time to communicate with each other through music. Don’t try to do a whole lot of “teaching” (save that for technique or rehearsal classes).

Related things: think jam session, coffe shop music, talent show, informal busking, chamber music party, what-have-you.

Heather Figi said: Sep 3, 2014
 96 posts


We do these here in Eugene, Oregon every summer as a way for all studios to get together.

We meet at a local park and teachers take turns leading.

They are an absolute blast and one of my favorite events!

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