ASTA CAP anyone else?

Ruth Brons said: Apr 13, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

Our ASTA CAP exams are happening this Sunday.
As I was listening to my students play through their programs yesterday,
I was thinking how the ASTA aspect has fit in and enhanced the experience in my studio.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

The ASTA CAP program description clearly states that the hard working “average” student can advance one level per year, and I have noticed that most of my students really rise to that challenge. My students have really bought into this system.

The early levels of the program work well within the Suzuki repertoire,
and I love how the upper levels need to pull in supplemental pieces to complete the program.
I love how proudly the Foundation Level students present their A Major Scale and perhaps two Twinkles, and I am in awe of how much work my busy high school students have been motivated to get done to get their Level Nine program of three memorized pieces ready!

We do need to talk about the Spring ASTA goal each Fall, and deliberately lay out a plan that will get it all done.
The ASTA work plan has made both my students and myself more organized. I have to work to make good on my promise to get all the ASTA material covered by Christmas, in addition to all the other things we work on.

Many students have come to set their personal goal to complete Level Ten by the end of their Junior year,
so they can brag about it on their college applications. I think it’s great they are making long-term goals!
So now I recommend students work to prepare the level that is one number less than their grade at school, if possible, to help them achieve this long-term goal [ but i also tell them anything over level 5 is impressive, and they know they can skip a level later if they are not up to their-grade-minus-one level this year.] This tends to be a great equalizer in terms of peer motivation. For example, two fourth graders who know each other from group lessons or school, one working in Suzuki Book Three and one working in Suzuki Book 6, can now both be preparing for the same ASTA Level Three.

Parents and students both seem to really appreciate that they know the progress is going as expected—they used to be so confused that some Suzuki books go by slower or faster than others.

All that being said, I will be glad when our exams are done on Sunday!

Here’s the link to learn more:

Best Wishes,

Ruth Brons
Things 4 Strings bow accessories

said: Mar 19, 2011
 24 posts

I have been doing some reading about ASTA membership. I really enjoyed reading this post Ruth. My son takes private violin lessons from a teacher at a small music academy in our town. At our music academy she is the only Suzuki instructor and there aren’t group lessons, etc. She is an amazing teacher, but there isn’t a “community” of young string students in my town. My son, his teacher, and I are dedicated to the development of his talent and we spend a lot of time planning, etc. We practice about 1.5-2 hours 7 days a week and we absolutely love his instructor. We go to summer institutes and continue lessons in the summer with another Suzuki instructor that lives about an hour away (she is the next closest instructor to us) when his regular instructor leaves for teaching at conferences in the summer. I really wanted to open up a conversation with his current instructor regarding setting goals and advancing levels and I thought perhaps discussing the ASTA Certificate Advancement Program would be a good thing for us to do. He is finishing up Book 2 right now and I didn’t know if he is at a level appropriate to have a discussion with the teacher about this. I also didn’t know if ASTA membership is available to every one or if it is something for only string teachers, college students, and professionals. Also, if we are able to get started in this program how would participating in this program work? Would we have to submit videos for the non-competitive examinations or would we have to find the nearest participating teacher?

I feel like this may be a good opportunity for me and my son to set goals and track his progress. My son really does well with setting these tangible goals for his playing and takes ownership when he knows what direction we are heading in. Another reason why I’m interested in starting this is because sooner or later his instructor will have to move and I want to have clearly defined goals when we have to seek out another instructor.

Thanks for your help.

Lisa Hansen said: Jul 20, 2011
Lisa Hansen
Suzuki Association Member
21 posts

I have had students participate in these in the past, but found that I was spending a lot of lesson time to be sure they were doing the scales & arpeggios in the exact tempo & with the specific bowing required. Combined with the time necessary for preparing for local youth orchestra auditions, in addition to preparation for my studio recital, it seemed like way too much for the month of May. If the students’ parents are interested in participating, I will help them plan for it, but otherwise I don’t require my whole studio to participate.
I do want to point out that I am a member of ASTA, and have gotten a lot out of the membership. Our local chapter sponsors several master classes each year, which are very beneficial to my students.

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 21, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I used to be a member of ASTA until I looked at my books one day and decided that I had more important things to do with that annual fee. (Which, I understand, has gone up significantly since that time!)

Every once in a while I bug ASTA by sending their membership person an email asking if they will ever have an option for a lifetime membership, (for some reason, paying a large one-time fee is more appealing to me than having to renew every year).

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