FOR TEACHERS 2022-05-27T18:25:04+00:00

Teachers attend the GWSI to refresh, re-inspire and expand their teaching skills and to learn about the Suzuki approach.  Teachers participating in the Teacher Development Program must be at least 17 years of age, have a high school diploma and be an active member of the SAA.

Teachers may enroll as a course participant or an auditor. To qualify as a participant, an individual must pass an audition submitted to the SAA. Participants who successfully complete a course will have their training registered with the SAA. For Auditors, an audition is not required, nor will their training be registered with the SAA.

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Teacher Development Courses

Teacher Development Courses are conducted by Teacher Trainers registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA). The Teacher Development Program includes:

The Foundation Course (Every Child Can!©)

The Foundation Course (Every Child Can!©) is an eight hour introduction to Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy and its application to Suzuki education. It provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the Suzuki approach to teaching and learning and is open to both parents and teachers. There is no pre-requisite and no instrument required.

Unit Courses

Unit Courses, seminars that include the pedagogy of the Suzuki approach and the musical, physical and social development of students, are open to Suzuki teachers or those aspiring to become teachers. Enrollment requires successful completion of an SAA audition. The unit course numbers correspond to the same numbered Suzuki Repertory books.

  • Unit 1 Courses are 28-hour courses plus 15 hours of student lesson observation. The Foundation Course, Every Child Can!©, is a pre-requisite for the Book 1 courses. Teachers may register for the Foundation Course in addition to Book 1.
  • Unit 2-4 Courses are 15-hour courses plus 8 hours of student lesson observation. Note: Unit Courses Book 1-3 should be completed consecutively and in order. Unit Courses for Books 4 and up may be completed in any order once Books 1-3 are complete.

The following unit courses will be offered at the 2022 GWSI:

Ronda Cole is the legendary founder of GWSI and director for over 40 years. Her former students include 5 current members of the National Symphony, world class soloists Nicholas Kendall and Katie Lansdale as well as members of the Aeolus, Jupiter, and Viano Quartets. Join her in Unit 1, as she guides new and experienced teachers in establishing the critical early foundation that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on her first in person training in 3 years!!

This is where it all begins. Join GWSI co-director David Strom in Every Child Can online- the prerequisite course for all Suzuki training. According to David, “I love teaching ECC online. We really go to the heart of what it means to be a Suzuki teacher. Some of the most profound and foundational conversations in any training course occur in ECC.”

We are so excited to have Daina Volodka Staggs teaching Unit 2 online at GWSI for the first time. She will also teach her own specially designed enrichment course, “Blasting off: Preparing the Beginning Suzuki violinist for the Intermediate Stage”. Daina’s exuberant energy, creativity and passion make training with her an unforgettable experience. She is currently the co-director of the North Texas School of Talent Education.

Join GWSI co director David Strom for Unit 3, in his first in person training in three years!! David’s former students have attended the country’s leading music schools including Eastman, Oberlin, Cleveland Institute, Peabody, Indiana and University of Michigan among many others. He is passionate about teaching both music and the underlying process of generosity and self discovery that undergirds the learning process.

We are so excited to welcome the distinguished pedagogue Kimberly Meier Sims to teach Unit 4 online for the first time. Kimberly is the director of the SATO Institute for Suzuki Studies at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music. She has trained many of the leading Suzuki teachers in the country. We are honored to have Kimberly at our Institute!

Alice Vierra will return to GWSI to teach Cello Unit 1 online. A distinguished pedagogue, her students have gone on to Boston University, Hartt School of Music, Indiana University, Peabody Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Oberlin, and Yale.  Join her in Unit 1 online, as she guides new and experienced teachers in establishing the critical early foundation that will last a lifetime.

Dr. Shu-yi Scott is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most creative and dynamic teacher trainers in the country today. During the pandemic, her group class teaching enrichment courses and unit training courses were regularly sold out. We are fortunate that Dr. Scott will teach Unit 2 cello online as well as her own specially designed class, Inclusive Group Class Teaching for teachers of all instruments online.

Teacher: Dr. Timothy Durbin
Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin’s unique brand of teaching excellence makes him one of the most sought-after clinicians/conductors in the world. With infectious enthusiasm and inspired musicianship, he brings smiles and laughter to students throughout the United States and around the world.  His dynamic teaching career includes over 1000 workshops and institutes! His performance and teaching career stretches across the United States and Canada into Bermuda, Germany, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and he has recorded two CDs, including the complete chamber music of Marcel Dupre for the Naxos label. He has been appointed principal conductor of the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra since the 2016-17 season. He has directed the South Dakota and Montana All State Orchestras. He is the holder of the American Suzuki Institute Suzuki Chair Award for 2013. Terry Durbin is also an accomplished composer and notable arranger.
Enrichment Course with Dr. Timothy Durbin – To Be Announced
Registerable as an enrichment course with the Suzuki Association of the Americas
Dr. Durbin holds a DMA in orchestral conducting from Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, California, a Masters in violin performance from the University of Illinois, an undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama, and is currently the director of the Suzuki String Program at the University of Louisville. He is a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Terry lives with his wife, Sandy, on 140 acres north of Lexington, Kentucky. They have three children, two grandchildren and one great grandchild.

He believes in the magic of music’s power to enrich our lives.

Enrichment Seminar with Dr. Shu-Yi Scott – “Group Class Teaching Strategies – All Instruments”

Based on the belief that “Every Child Can”,

Dr. Shu-Yi Scott has developed numerous strategies, including use of teaching toys and games, for Suzuki group class teaching. Any Suzuki teachers can use these tactics to make their group classes more inclusive and encouraging for students at all levels of playing, especially for transferred students or remedial learning. This course is for all string teachers for all levels of students.

Enrichment course by Daina Volodka Staggs: “Blasting off: Preparing the Beginning Suzuki violinist for the Intermediate Stage”

The road from Twinkle to Seitz is a journey that includes many milestones for the young violinist. Skills such as vibrato, shifting, and finger motion in the bow hand are important tools that serve to expand a student’s ability to express themselves with the instrument. This course will introduce a variety of technical exercises and studies in vibrato, shifting, and bow technique that, over time, develop into techniques that the student can use to shape and sculpt the music to suit their unique point of view, and bring their personal interpretation of the music to life!

Add-On Virtual Courses for Teachers with Katie Lansdale


Why has J.S. Bach’s music remained so beloved through the centuries? How do resonance, harmony, lilt and meter contribute to our enjoyment of his music? Pick a piece by Bach to demonstrate in this class, and dive into the discussion! We will also widen our lens, and do a brief survey of Bach’s music through the Suzuki books.


The repertoire of classical music is constantly expanding, and the flexibility of the violin is ideal for this stylistic explosion. In addition to learning about an array of diverse new pieces during the class, please bring a piece by a composer from an under-represented demographic group, or play a few lines of such a piece (assigned in advance by the instructor). Climb on board our musical rocketship: Let’s take a thrilling journey into the ever-widening musical universe.


Presto magic! Scales, arpeggios and more do wild and wonderful things to develop our playing. How do we gain fluency and comfort on every part of our fingerboard? By developing fluid shifting and scaling the mountaintop, reaching the uppermost positions. Please bring a three octave scale and arpeggio sequence (or more) to this session. This class will be a catalyst for your violnistic calisthenics!


Bring a large section of your concerto or other repertoire to present and explore. Students are invited to support their peers and join in on discussions about next steps in practicing these pieces.


Each participant in the Suzuki Institute may enroll in the Every Child Can!©  course and one violin or cello training course.  Participants (other than auditors) in Teacher Development Program Unit courses are required to become an active SAA member and to complete and submit a DVD audition to the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA).  The deadline for submission of teacher training videos for those participating in the GWSI Unit 1 courses is 8 weeks prior to course start (May 2, 2020).  After that point in time, participants will be required to submit an express audition application and pay a $50 late fee. The SAA will not accept auditions received after June 11, 2020. Contact the SAA the SAA office at 1-888-378-9854 for more information.

All participants in unit training courses are also asked to prepare the repertory in the book to be studied to the point of fluent performance. Memorization is not required, but is recommended. Participants should be conversant with the ideas presented in Dr. Suzuki’s book, Nurture by Love. GWSI recommends further reading of Edmund Sprunger’s Teaching Parents to Practice.

Participants should bring their own instruments to play in class, music books and note taking materials.

Participants (other than auditors) will have their training automatically registered with SAA when all course requirements are complete and signed by the trainer.  Be on time so you do not miss class time – even a few minutes are very important. This is a SAA strict requirement to register your training with the SAA!

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