Institute Teaching Advice

Kimberly said: May 28, 2009
Kimberly Fanning
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Viola, Violin
7 posts

I am so excited to be teaching at my first institute in a few weeks. I have 4 A classes (”private” lessons)—two violin book 1, one violin book 2, and one cello new beginners/book 1 (so far). Any advice for a first time institute teacher?

said: May 28, 2009
 89 posts

Not a teacher, but from a parent who has brought kids to several institutes … we’re excited to be there and to be learning with someone new. We want the institute to be a place to work hard and be successful, and to be fun and not feel like we’re competing with other kids. We want you to notice our successes and help us fix the weak points. We want to walk out after a week feeling proud to wear our new t-shirts.

If you’ve been asked to teach, you’re probably pretty good at making that happen already. Have a great time!

Laura said: May 29, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

I also have no doubt you’re more than qualified, if you’ve been invited :)

As a parent and teacher trainee, the times when I have been the most impressed by the institute teacher were:

  1. when the teacher focused on no more than 1-2 major issues for the week overall (while gracefully ignoring other issues with individual students—too much to cover in a week). In other words, like a ‘theme of the week”. This gave the students a chance to focus on these areas for themselves and also encourage one another through the same points. I believe this helped them experience real understanding and success in these areas, in a lasting way. Overall, a great use of one week!

  2. when the teacher “used” the whole range of private students to work on a completely different point for each. This gave the parents (and also the students if they were mature enough to observe) a good variety of things they could take home and chew on for themselves, as they saw fit.

Completely opposite ends of the spectrum, I know—but either extreme seems quite effective in the right hands.

Have fun! I’m sure it will be a great experience for you—please share about it when it’s all over!

Diane said: Jun 1, 2009
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

My favorite advice came from Ronda Cole:

Listen to the entire piece. Resist the urge to decide on what to work on. At the end of the piece, whatever “itches” the most is what you work on.

I also loved watching Karin Hallberg work with my students. At times she would just ask the student—”What do you want to work on?” Kids are pretty intuitive and what better way to validate that!

On a personal note—have a water bottle and snack with you at all times! Institute teaching can be quite exhausting.

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

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