Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A pocket-sized institute

This was the Suzuki Valhalla Institute. Eight cello students, three viola students, 70 or so violin students. Pre-Twinklers to post-book-10 level. Two orchestras, three string quartets, a couple of reading ensembles, half a dozen group classes a day. An intimate master class for every child every day. Twelve amazing faculty with wide-ranging skills and interests. And the most amazing group of parents -- friendly, caring, flexible, helpful, understanding. Suzuki families, like homeschooling families, are a select bunch. The parents have made a big commitment to being actively involved in their children's learning and holistic growth over the long term. And that means that in the space of just five and a half days an incredible sense of community can spring up.

We didn't get quite everyone for the group photo. I think about an a quarter of the students and parents are missing. But it's still a great representation of the size and the good cheer. I've been to lots of big institutes, and a few small ones. There are advantages to both. This is the loveliest small one I've ever been a part of, though. And I'm not biased!


  1. Amanda2:58 pm

    My daughter and I have just returned from a similar-sized institute in England - more cellos and fewer violins, and some pianos, but about 80 students overall, probably 85% of them 11 and under. It really was absolutely wonderful all round.

    My daughter has been playing piano for three years now but violin for only a year, and was very keen to play mainly violin at this institute. She happened to end up in the leader's chair in the baby orchestra, and I have never seen to match hers when she took her (perfect) bow in the concert performance.

  2. Amanda2:58 am

    Somehow I missed out the words "a smile" after never seen!


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