What to expect from an Institute

said: Jun 28, 2006
 6 posts

Do experienced institute-attending parents have advice for us first-timers? My 8 year old and I will be going to Stevens Point this summer.

said: Jun 28, 2006
 22 posts

Stevens Point is a really nice camp, with good teachers and a large attendance rate. What I personally expect to get out of an institute is different ideas, some that I may not agree with but I am always willing to learn different ways of doing things. I also expect the children to get experience on learning how to interract with different types of people with different personalities, different musicians, and often, the different styles of music from around the world. Just go with a positive, open attitude, and you will never regret going-institute is probably the best motivator for practicing I have ever known :D

“Practice! Practice until you go crazy….then do it five more times.”

said: Jun 29, 2006
 44 posts

Be prepared to have a GREAT time, be inspired, and get a shot in the arm for motivation. Be prepared to make some great new friends, both you and your child. Be prepared to be exhausted for the first couple of days—you don’t know what to expect and the pace can be overwhelming for a first-timer. Your son will probably have 4 classes spread through the day; some will be back to back, but others might involve an hour or more of “off” time so take a book, Gameboy, snacks, etc. Your child will need some down time during the day. He will also be expected to practice daily and you might not want to wait until evening to do this—he will be TIRED. Take advantage of some of the parent talks, they can be very enlightening. Usually there are some exhibitors at Institutes with instruments, accessories, and musical knick-knacks. When my children were little, I always gave them a set amount of money to spend in the shops. They loved to look at all the stuff and looked forward to spending their $5 or whatever on bumper stickers, pencils, etc . Take your music. Even though all the pieces are played memorized, the master class teacher may want to make some notes in your music. Be sure to have a camera and/or video camera.
My children and I have been to several different institutes over the last 15 years. Usually the ones we go to are on college campuses or at least spread out over several buildings. I fixed up their cases so they can be carried as backpacks and took their scooters. They “scooted” between classes with their instruments and I followed as the sherpa with music, stands, camera, snacks, etc. They really enjoyed doing this.
I still am in touch with many teachers and parents that I have met over the years at Institutes. We look forward to seeing our Institute friends every summer. My college age kids still see some of their Institute friends at the various summer chamber music and orchestra events they attend.
Have a great time!

said: Jun 29, 2006
 44 posts

One other thing to expect: You may have teachers that tell you something completely different than your home teacher. Your child may be asked to do different bowings, try a different bow hold, different dynamics, you name it. This is OK. Every teacher is unique and it makes your child versatile and open to change. When you get back home, your home teacher may have him go back to the previous way. This is OK, too. Don’t let this be frustrating for you or your child. Consider it an adventure! Have fun.

Carl said: Jul 21, 2006
 11 posts

We will be attending the very same camp at Stevens Point (first week, 7/30-8/5). It will be the 3rd institute for my wife and our 11-year-old daughter, and my 2nd. Last year I tagged along and was absolutely hooked. I won’t miss another if I can help it. Suzuki Institute was by far the best overall summer music camp I had ever experienced—as child or adult, student or parent. Families attended from over 30 states and I believe 4 other countries. This created a cosmopolitan sort of atmosphere that was inspiring and thought-provoking as we shared in something bigger than ourselves. At the same time, each student received individual attention and opportunities to both polish known skills and learn new ones.

The whole experience was both memorable and rewarding. The teachers were capable and giving, and it was exciting for our daughter to meet and play alongside dozens and dozens of young musicians from all over the country and other places in the world. Both times after our daughter attended, we witnessed significant growth in her playing and overall musicianship, and we have come to expect this now.

I agree with the other comments about camp being motivating, meeting new people, being tired(!), bringing a camera/camcorder. Don’t try to go to everything. Better to get a lot of fewer things than to get a little out of everything. Give yourself down time and enjoy growing closer to your child.

I also agree you should bring some extra “wheels” if possible. Two years ago my wife noticed many kids and parents on scooters or bikes. So last year we brought bikes. Stevens Point has tons of bike racks, and last year due to rennovation projects, things were more spread out besides, so it was a good move.

As “kidadvocate” said, your master class (one-on-one) teacher may have your child do things a little differently than your home teacher. Last year our issue was the bow hold. Our daughter tried a different one, returned to her old one after camp, and has done just fine anyway. The intent is almost always for the good of the student.

We are all getting pretty pumped up and can’t wait to return. Have a wonderful time! My daughter says it’s a lot of fun and you two will have a blast. :D

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