So your teacher wants you to go to the Suzuki Summer Institute again this year. Why do they push you to go, spending a week and what seems like lots of money? What is the value? Let Aunt Rhody tell you!
It’s fun: Kids seem to think that a day spent playing an instrument must be torture. In fact, the kids have fun, lots of fun. There are many activities other than the enjoyable lessons; practice prizes, picnics, a fiddle contest, and enrichment classes, which explore other music genres. Humans learn best in an atmosphere of fun and games. Institute provides.
Motivational: The Summer Institute provides motivation by the bucket full, since the environment is one of fun and games. Students are encouraged by watching others struggle and succeed, discovering that they aren’t alone. Aunt Rhody has heard parents say that the Institute improved their child’s attitude for six months! Aunt Rhody knows of a student who progressed more in the year after his first Institute than in the previous FOUR years.
Progress: Daily lessons and the Institute’s atmosphere promote a leap in the child’s ability and confidence that can’t be duplicated in any other way. Students have practicing assignments each day and rarely wish to disappoint their Institute teacher. Daily assignments seem easier to accomplish than the normal weekly ones and the daily practice promotes progress.
Old news becomes new: The Institute teacher may say the same thing to a student that your home teacher has suggested for months. But because the Institute teacher is the “expert” giving daily assignments, the kids seem to absorb and retain the information more readily. A long-standing problem may be solved.
Camaraderie: Students and parents make new, and are with old friends all week. The kids have opportunities to run outside with friends, playing catch, or quiet sitting games. Parents have opportunities to visit and learn from other parents and teachers. The camaraderie is fun and again, fun leads to learning.
Value: Aunt Rhody has heard that the Institute costs too much money. There is no doubt that it is costly, but then so too is music study in general. What value can be placed on four to five hours a day of instruction, and surfeit of inspiration, fun and motivation? The Institute when considered in terms of its benefits it is a bargain at any price. Teachers put in a lot of extra time to make Institutes happen. It’s not for them; it is all for the kids and their beautiful hearts.
© 2010 Susan A. Sommerville
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