Violin certification

Imari said: Sep 24, 2013
7 posts


I have wanted to get my Suzuki certification for years but could never afford it. I tried finding something for 2013, but there were no classes offered in my area and the only ECC course was several hours and for guitar!

I’m hoping a more complete 2014 schedule will be posted soon. Because of the distance and time (I have very little vacation time), my husband and I would like to combine the trip with a vacation if possible, even if it means we can only hang out in the evenings or need to tack on a day or two to the vacation just for us.

So my question is, what is getting the certification like/what does it entail? Would it be reasonable to try to plan the ECC and Unit 1 course along with a vacation, or would that be stressful for me and unfair to my husband? Also, what can I expect from the training? Do I need to have the entire book memorized (I have most of it but am a bit rusty since I didn’t use it in college)? Will I have to sample teach a class, or just watch a group play? Will there be written/oral/performance tests? I’m a little nervous about it!

I’m trying to plan now because, as I said, I have very limited vacation time and am already planning my trip home to my parents’ in January, and I’m not sure how much time I will have to allow for this training in the summer. I suppose a week, or a week and a day, for the ECC/Unit 1?

Thank you!

P.S.— Is there a limit to how soon I can pursue the Unit 2 training after completing Unit 1? And is Unit 1 completed in one or two parts (I’ve seen some people post about 1a and 1b)? Thanks!


Mengwei said: Sep 24, 2013
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
119 posts

This page is about the teacher training in general:

A few “experience” type things that you won’t necessarily get from that page:

  • ECC is not instrument-specific, but if you’re traveling because there’s no course in your neighborhood, it’s more cost effective to go to an institute where you do your one day of ECC, followed by 8 days of Unit 1—easily 6 or 7 weekdays total. (Unit 1 replaces what used to be two separate courses, 1A and 1B.)

  • Unit 1 was very draining for me. The schedule on weekdays, coinciding with the student institute, is something like 8am to 4pm and you are in teacher classes or intensely observing student classes almost the whole time. Even if you skip optional events such as evening concerts, you might not have energy to do much else.

  • However, it’s a great learning experience. You learn the Suzuki way to start a beginner and go through book 1—setup and teaching points for pre-Twinkle, Twinkles, and each piece and seeing it in action via student classes. It’s not exactly “certification” since there is no “test” or grade other than the video audition. You might practice on your classmates and demonstrate to your trainer but it’s not for a formal evaluation.

  • I’d suggest taking some time to absorb Unit 1. If you have mostly beginner students, try out what you learned in 1 on them before going on to 2 perhaps the following year. Good news—Unit 2 and others take only 5 days!

Imari said: Sep 25, 2013
7 posts

Awesome, thank you for such a thorough response. I might still try to combine it with vacation just because of my lack of time but I will probably add a day or two just for us. Is it relatively easy to pass the training? I guess I’m afraid of failing, even though I’ve been playing for awhile.


Jennifer Visick said: Sep 28, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Once you pass the video audition, if you show up to class and turn in the assigned observations & any other assigned work the teacher gives, you can register the class.

There are no grades for the class itself, so you can’t actually fail the classes after you’ve passed the audition.

That is why the SAA is so adamant that they do not actually “certify” teachers: you can be registered, but not certified; registration means that you passed the basic audition for that class level and that you showed up to class (and, one hopes, received some insight in how to teach thereby).

Get some advice from friends/colleagues if you’re not sure about passing the video audition or not.

Annie said: Oct 9, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
6 posts

Are CLU’s (CEU’s) offered with the training? I intend to take the viola Unit 1 in January.
Annie Young-Bridges

Annie Young-Bridges, Private Violin/Viola
and Public School Strings Teacher
Covington, Louisiana

Lisa Moore said: Oct 9, 2013
Lisa MooreViolin, Cello, Viola
Longwood, FL
6 posts

Note to Annie: Louisiana school districts determine which professional development activities will apply to required CLUs for relicensure. It is up to you to make the case with them.

Barb said: Nov 8, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
678 posts

I imagine this is institute specific, but I had the option of earning post-grad credit from at the Idaho institute (for an additional fee). Is this common?

To save on travel costs in the future, after completing book 1, you may be able to do two books consecutively at one institute, such as Utah.

Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Janet Poth said: Nov 9, 2013
Janet PothViolin, Viola
San Clemente, CA
5 posts

When I took training as an older, experienced teacher I found that combining books 2 and 3 made sense. I was familiar with the material and used it regularly. I also combined a review of my book 6 training with book 7. Combining makes sense but you should be prepared for some serious and intense work. You will need time outside of the class to absorb, practice and revise notes you have made.
Sightseeing during an institute would be too much for most trainees. You want time to learn from your peers and to observe the world class teachers working at the institutes.
I’ve had great trainers and am grateful for what I’ve learned from them. It’s always been valuable. I’ve attended both large and small institutes, a different one each year. I’ve gained many new ideas as a result. I’ve met many fine teachers who take courses again in order to work with a different trainer and reinvigorate their teaching.

Annie said: Nov 9, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
6 posts

Thank you for the discussion! I did obtain permission from my school district to use my Suzuki training for CEU’s. Does anyone know approximately how many hours are involved in Unit 1?

Annie Young-Bridges, Private Violin/Viola
and Public School Strings Teacher
Covington, Louisiana

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