Any recomendations on good Suzuki summer institutes?

Håkan Strääf said: Jul 26, 2013
3 posts

Hi everyone!

We are a family from Sweden who are considering to combine a vacation to the United States with a Suzuki summer institute next summer. Our daughter is eleven years old and is currently playing the Vivaldi pieces in Book 4. She is no stranger to summer institutes since she has been attending the largest Suzuki summer institute in Sweden since she was six years old.

We are looking for Suzuki summer institutes in the U.S.
- where international students are welcome
- which has good and engaging violin teachers
- which are fun, engaging and challenging for our daughter

I realize that (almost) every summer institute fits this description :-), but we would like to benefit from your experiences to get the best possible institute for our daughter.

Which summer institutes would you recommend?

Best regards

Val Jaskiewicz said: Jul 26, 2013
 2 posts

There is a very good one in southeast Michigan, actually two sessions, one held in May, another in August. It is called the “Phoenix Phest”, and is run by the founder, Gabe Bolkosky, a masterful violinist and very fine, nurturing, Suzuki teacher. The faculty is first rate, from all over the US. The Phoenix Ensemble website has a lot of information about the Phoenix Phest:

Best of luck, Håkan!


Sharon Neufeld said: Jul 26, 2013
Sharon NeufeldViolin, Viola
Sioux Falls, SD
14 posts

Chicago Suzuki Institute—

Suzuki Music Institute Columbus—

Colorado Suzuki Institute—

American Suzuki Institute—

Wendy Caron Zohar said: Jul 27, 2013
Wendy Caron Zohar
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
100 posts

Hello Håkan,

I’m going to ditto Val’s recommendation of Phoenix Phest in South-East Michigan, especially the full institute in August which is called Phoenix Phest Grande. Here are my reasons:

-I’ve attended several years as a teacher trainer so I am a first hand witness to the wonderful time the children are having and the quality of the instruction and music making.
-It is inclusive and every child gets individual attention as well as superior group work.
-Each child is placed in an orchestra for large group performance.
-You can hear many non-native languages being spoken; among them, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Hebrew, so I imagine your daughter will feel right at home. The unifying language and activity for all the children is music.
-It is small enough so that a new child will not feel lost in a big crowd.
-The faculty is outstanding.
-Children new to the program are welcomed and made to feel at home.
-Though the standards of playing at the upper levels are extremely high, the atmosphere is cooperative and supportive, not competitive. Each student receives encouragement, acknowledgement and appreciation for their learning process and for their individual progress made over the week.
-There is chamber music for those who are ready for it. The groups get formed beforehand, so you should contact the director, Gabe Bolkosky at the link Val provided above, in advance, to arrange for your daughter to be placed into a group based on similar levels of playing.
-There is group yoga for all the kids.
-During the Institute there are outstanding teachers giving children’s workshop classes in Alexander Technique and the Kodaly Approach, as well as jazz and improvisation, and perhaps there will be even more options by next summer!
-The faculty concerts during the week are exceptional with packed audiences, as they draw music lovers from the surrounding community as well.
-The final marathon performances by all the groups and individual players is amazing, and everyone enjoys and celebrates each other’s achievements.
-The location is terrific, in the music building of Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
-It’s possible to find inexpensive but comfortable lodging in the area, and the eateries are fantastic.
-Did I mention that this is right next to Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan. It’s an active educational, cultural and entertainment center also in the summer, chock full of great things to do with children. I could provide more details if you just ask.

Good luck finding the right Institute for your daughter; we’d love to see you here!

Wendy Zohar

Wendy Caron Zohar

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

Rachel said: Jul 27, 2013
2 posts

We love the New England Suzuki Institute!

This was our fourth year and we are very, very happy there. The teachers are incredible, the programming is thoughtful, the families are very friendly and inclusive, and location is terrific. With so many to choose from, I don’t think you could go wrong—but putting in a great word for NESI!! Every year there are a few international families. Good luck! Rachel


Håkan Strääf said: Aug 4, 2013
3 posts

A big thanks to all of you for responding to my question. Your input will have a big influence on our decision.

As Rachel says, it’s probably hard to go wrong, but receiving advice and feedback from persons who actually have attended the institutes will make us more confident when making the decision.

The recommendations from Val and Wendy for the Phoenix Phest are quite impressive, but we will naturally look into the New England Suzuki institute proposed by Rachel as well as the four alternatives presented by Sharon.

If everything works out for us, we might meet some of you at a summer institute in a year or two!

Once again a Swedish “jättestort tack” to all of you from


Stacy Smith said: Aug 5, 2013
Stacy SmithInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
8 posts

You may also want to check out the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in Salt Lake City, UT. It is held in Mid-June every year and just celebrated its 35th anniversary. It is one of the larger institutes, with an enrollment between 600-700 students every year that come from all over the world. This year alone we had a large group of students from Singapore and Argentina, as well as teachers representing many different countries. There are classes for everything from pre-twinkle to the Advanced String Camp, which is for students that are beyond the suzuki books. There is also chamber days with the Fry Street Quartet, where advanced students meet for a few days before the Institute starts and are formed into quartets that have daily coachings and rehearsals with a professional string quartet.

I love ISSI- there is so much energy, it is so family friendly, it attracts some of the best faculty and staff from all over the world, and it is extremely well organized and run. I would recommend it to anyone.

Kim said: Aug 5, 2013
 39 posts

We’ve attended a number of institutes, and thought Colorado was the best in terms of offerings and organization. We would select it first even if it weren’t in such a beautiful setting! I have a violin and a piano student.

Håkan Strääf said: Aug 7, 2013
3 posts

Thanks Stacy and thanks parent10!

We’ll add those two instituts to our list.


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