Persuading parents to go to Suzuki camps


said: Mar 10, 2007
 5 posts

I have a fairly new studio, and am trying to convince the parents in my studio to go to a summer institute (such as the Chicago Suzuki Institute or Stevenspoint) this summer. Most of my students’ levels range from Song of the Wind to Minuet 1; ages between 4 and 7.

Please help me answer some of their questions. I myself went to the Chicago Suzuki Institute long ago, but at a much older age (at age 11 and 12), so my experience was a little different.

What are younger Book One students expected to do during the day besides the shared private lesson and the group lesson (and the optional after-lunch student recitals and evening faculty/guest recitals)? Do they have shorter days than the older students (as I remember also doing orchestra, jazz improv, and fiddling as an older student)? Do many parents bring younger siblings (1 yr olds and up) to the classes all day? Are there usually babysitters available?

I strongly believe in the great benefits of summer institutes, and want to encourage them to go, so any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Laurel said: Mar 10, 2007
Laurel MacCulloch
Suzuki Association Member
Langley, BC
120 posts

I think the individual Institutes would have the info on those things. I know the one near us has the private lesson, a small group lesson (maybe 10 students), a larger group lesson (maybe 20) and an elective (fiddling, drumming, origami or whatever, it changes every year and there are options for different abilities) included in the fee.

I didn’t see that many younger siblings, but there were a few. I don’t know if there was babysitting available, but at another institute in another province, you could sign up for childminding.

One of my students went last year; he was not quite 6 years old and while it really did benefit him (jump-started his confidence and such) he found it a long day—each session was 45 min. and that was a bit much for him. At this place, only the Pre-Twinkle class would have a shorter day.

Hope this helps!

Doreen said: Mar 14, 2007
 3 posts

My son, now 9 will be attending his 5th institute this summer. He went to his first Institute after 6 months of lessons. I was very apprehensive about how much he’d get out of it because he was barely 5, a beginner, and well, it’s expensive! But his group lesson teacher, his private teacher, and all the other teachers and parents in our community made it clear that institute is expected, so we did it. We did the bare minimum, so as not to over-exhaust him, but it was great! Seeing himself with others at his level and the more advanced students really made him feel like a musician, even though he was still on the twinkle variations. His favorite part of institute that year? I’d like to say it was the Orff music class because he seemed to be really into it. But no, it was the playground in between classes. His favorite part last year at age 8? Getting to play on the BIG concert stage. Second favorite was playing frisbee (ah, but he made friends with a few young cellists & a violinist).

We progressively take in more of the recitals, optional classes, and evening recitals as he gets older. I figure it’s better to not do enough than to try to “get my money’s worth” and push him too much and make him dislike it.

I know a few 3-year-olds who “visited” institute briefly 1 or 2 days to get a feel for it and were very excited about “attending” the next year.

Christine said: Mar 16, 2007
 22 posts

We’ll be attending our 4th Suzuki Institute ths summer. My girls love it and it’s worth every penny. One is in book 4 and the other is finishing book 3. Both play violin.

Our first year, we only observed. We went with our teacher for the day and observed master classes, recitals, and a grand concert (all the kids on the big stage.) We were hooked and we’ve attended ever since.

I know not all institutes allow you to oberve or they charge a fee. We were fortunate that ours lets you observe for free. Since then, we’ve guided several families across campus and to classes for a day of observing. Most are there for the full week the following year.

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