All posts by Rebekah Thompson

2019 Annual Meeting: July 13


Mark your calendars for the Suzuki Association of Indiana annual meeting, hosted this year in Fort Wayne on Saturday, July 13. Exact location and schedule will be sent out in May, but you can expect the day to go from about 9:00 am-3:00 pm with lunch at a nearby restaurant (SAI board members will meet immediately following, 3-4 pm). The morning session will cover the business of the SAI, with reports from officers, elections for secretary and new board members, and other interesting and important discussion and planning. In the afternoon, we will hear from several of our teacher members about special features in their studio programs. The annual meeting is always an inspiring and valuable part of belonging to the SAI, and we welcome all members, teachers and associates, as well as any Suzuki teacher or parent friends you can bring in to join us for the upcoming year. 

If you have any questions or ideas about what will be discussed at the meeting, please contact Emilie Grondin, President of the SAI. For more information about visiting Fort Wayne, contact Emily Thompson, Secretary.

Reading in the Studio

One of the things I love about the Suzuki community is that there is so much wonderful  written material to help both teachers and parents through their musical journey with their child. However, it can be challenging to find personal time to read, and even more challenging to find the best way to encourage families in your studio to read.

This semester I decided to do something new. (I have recently moved to Indiana and started a new studio. Most of my students have little to no previous background with lessons/Suzuki.) I selected the book “Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families” by Christine E. Goodner because I felt it had a lot of helpful information that families could relate to and begin implementing in their lives. I divided the book into short segments, often just half a chapter,  for each week of the semester; and provided each family with a list of what to read each week. To make it even easier for parents I kept a copy of the book and list in my studio and made sure parents knew it was acceptable to read for a few minutes during group class if they hadn’t been able to read earlier in the week!

Beginning the first week of the semester we have been taking 5-10 minutes at the end of each group class to discuss that week’s reading segment. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. In some families both parents are reading the book, and some students are getting involved in the conversations as well. I have heard parents verbalizing discoveries and realizations I had hoped for, as well as received affirming and constructive feedback.

It may seem like there is so much to cram into group class already. How can you take time for conversations too? My experience has been that the time has been so worth it! Already planning to do something similar with “Nurtured by Love” next semester.

-Sarah Strickland

Play in the Suzuki Family Orchestra Concert

From Jillian Chrisman, SAI Teacher Member in Indianapolis:

Dear cello, viola, and violin teachers,

It’s that time of year again when I will be putting together a Suzuki family orchestra on Saturday June 1st for the finale of my studio’s spring recital.  This year we will play Seitz Concerto 2, 3rd movement arranged for string orchestra.

I invite you to join us with a student or two!  Pay is $30 per teacher, $15 per student – (total -not per service)

On June 1st: there will be a rehearsal/run through at 11:00 a.m. and then an 11:30 a.m. performance. Dress is nice.

If both teacher and student comes – attendance only to the run through (and performance) on June 1 is required.

If a student participates unattended by their teacher (on June 1st)- the student needs to attend one additional rehearsal either on  May 7 at 7:30 or May 18 at 3:45.

Please join us on Saturday, June 1, at Gethsemane Lutheran Church (new location!) located at 6810 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46219.  ALL string instruments are welcomed!

Contact Jillian Chrisman for parts.

Suzuki Students are Making a Difference

The Chrisman Violin Studio played for the Funtastics, a social group for autistic adults.  We played duets, ensemble pieces and Suzuki songs.  They were such a great audience and enjoyed our music.  Afterwards, several caretakers (family members) thanked me whole heartedly for providing the program, some with even teary eyes of appreciation.  These caretakers work tirelessly and were so appreciative that we came to enrich their loved ones’ lives.  It was a meaningful moment that could not be traded for anything.  This is what music can do!

Inspiration from Ed Sprunger’s Workshop

by Elisabeth Ohly-Davis

I really enjoyed the workshop with Ed Sprunger last fall and really appreciated how calm and peaceful the day was. Dr. Sprunger’s story-telling approach to presenting the workshop made the day interesting and thought-provoking. My biggest take-away was to give students more time to make progress. I realized that I was caught up in the “hurry up and achieve” mindset that seems to permeate the culture of teaching today. Since most of my teaching happens in a public high school school large group orchestra setting, the stakes often seem impossibly high. The curriculum prescriptions for public school teachers is vast for the progress that students should make in a year’s time. Add high stakes testing or orchestra contests and concerts, and it’s easy to forget that there are still only a limited number of minutes per day. The workshop really helped me reset my goals for my students, and take a more realistic look at what kind of progress we are able to make each class. Learning to play an instrument continues to be a long, but beautiful, journey and should not be rushed by expectations of instant gratification. It’s OK to hang out with intermediate level music for as long as it takes to achieve the techniques before moving on.


Chrisman Studio Invites Guest Misako Akama

Jillian Chrisman’s group lesson had a special guest artist this past September. Misako Akama, a competitor in the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, played Bach as well as a powerfully emotional Ysaye Sonata. She is from Taiwan and is currently studying in France. She was very sweet and happy to answer questions. She played a 1735 Nicolaus Gagliano violin. The students were struck by how old her violin was! When asked about how long she practices, Misako said that at first she practiced 30 minutes a day. Then in middle school it was an hour a day. But once she decided to be a professional violinist, it quickly doubled to 2 hours a day, and doubled again to 4 hours a day in high school.  Now she generally practices 6 hours a day. We all enjoyed the Bach very much. The Ysaye, however, seemed to be everyone’s favorite as we all felt the emotions of this rich sonata that is also filled with virtuosic passages. 

We all adored her.  I hope she truly felt our hearts as we lavished smiles and praises upon her.  The students were so proud to have their picture taken with her.  It was truly a connecting moment through music.

Dalcroze Movement Workshop with Dr. Jeremy Dittus

Where

Ridgway University Center, Eykamp Hall, University of Evansville Campus, 1800 Lincoln Ave, Evansville, IN

When

All-day event on Friday, February 8, 2019

Trainer Information

Jeremy Dittus

Jeremy Dittus Jeremy Dittus enjoys a career as a pianist, theorist, and Dalcroze Education Specialist. An avid recitalist, he has performed solo and chamber programs and presented Dalcroze masterclasses throughout the United States, Europe and South East Asia. He currently directs the Dalcroze School of the Rockies Dalcroze Academy teacher-training center at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He currently serves on l’Collège de l’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze. 

Dr. Dittus is the founder and director of the Dalcroze School of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado. The DSR offers Dalcroze Education classes (Eurhythmics and Rhythmic-Solfège) for children (pre-kindergarten through high school), adult enrichment classes, full time study toward the Dalcroze Certificate/License, in addition to post-License/pre-Diplôme courses. He recently has published books on Dalcroze Education: Embodying Music: A Textbook for Dalcroze Teacher Training, and five books that correspond to the Rhythmic-Solfège youth program in place at the Dalcroze School of the Rockies.

If you have additional questions, contact Maria Mastropaolo at 812-488-3435 or mm9@evansville.edu

Trainer Information