Cello group class at South Carolina Suzuki Institute

Cello group class at South Carolina Suzuki Institute.

Are your students attending an institute this summer?

If so, it’s time to help them prepare to get the most out of the experience.

Here are some ideas from a presentation by Teri Einfeldt, SAA 13th Conference, May 25, 2008.

Tips for the home teacher:

  • Explain to the student and parent that the purpose of a master class is not to learn new pieces.

  • Define and help student prepare a polished piece to play for the private lesson/master class. Often a good guideline is a piece four pieces behind the one on which they are currently working. The home teacher should designate this piece before the student leaves for the institute, and the piece must be in the Suzuki repertoire (even for advanced students).

  • Students should be expected to practice daily for the master class (and other classes, as well) during the Institute. Parents should take careful notes. The home teacher should be given a copy of the notes after the institute for their own reference.

  • The student may be asked to do something differently at the Institute—this is a good thing!

  • Make sure the students arrive with proper equipment:

    • CD and player or iPod to listen to their piece
    • Suzuki Books
    • Piano Accompaniment, especially for any additional piece outside of the Suzuki repertoire
    • Metronome and Tuner
    • Rosin
    • A properly prepared instrument. Put on new strings, consider getting the bow rehaired before the institute. Check over your equipment!
  • Let students know beforehand whether they are ready for a new instrument or not. Often, vendors will attract students to upgrades that they are not quite ready for.

  • Let them know whether to accept instrument setup advice from the institute teacher.

  • Give the student questions to ask the institute teacher, when appropriate, concerning ongoing issues (such as posture, vibrato, set-up, etc).

  • Be content with ensemble placements. Remember that this is not the most important part of the Institute, and the chamber repertoire will require additional practice time.

  • Create an institute checklist to ensure that you have everything you need for a productive and fun week!