FOR TEACHERS 2021-05-14T18:22:43+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 2021 GWSI:

    • Violin Unit 1 – Taught by RONDA COLE
    • Violin Unit 2 – Taught by ANN MONTZKA SMELSER
    • Violin Unit 3 – Taught by DAVID STROM
    • Cello Unit 1 – Taught by SHU-YI SCOTT
    • Cello Unit 2 – Taught by ALICE VIERRA

Enrichment Courses

Enrichment Course with Charles Krigbaum – “Preparing for Kreutzer & the Carl Flesch Scale System”
Rodolphe Kreutzer’s 42 Etudes and Carl Flesch’s Scale System have remained a core part of the pedagogical repertoire since their publication over a century ago and are today perhaps the most common set of studies for intermediate and advanced students of the violin.  
To scale and etude or not to scale and etude? Surprisingly, this question posed a major debate for Suzuki method teachers in the 20th century.  Indeed, the degree to which traditional scale study and etude sequencing is a part of a Suzuki student’s experience depends largely on the individual orientation, background, and training of their teacher. 
In this 10-hour Enrichment course: Preparing for Kreutzer & the Carl Flesch Scale System, Charles Krigbaum will take teachers on a journey to prepare students for these timeless and monumental works.

From the student’s first A Major scale on a Twinkle rhythm to playing two-octave scales in thirds with ease, the course will explore how to break down the challenges in these books to their most embryonic essence and how to present this material to students so that all can benefit from a healthy technical foundation that opens many possibilities for future repertoire.   The journey from pre-reading activities and flashcards to the Kreutzer etudes can involve experiences and encounters with some of the most classic studies in the violin canon (Ševčík, Schradieck, Mazas, Wohlfahrt, Kayser) and newer works (Martin, Wartberg, Kinsey, Trott, Geringas, Cohen) that capture the imagination and attention of young violinists.

Registerable as an enrichment course with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

A message from Charles Krigbaum:
It’s no secret: I am obsessed with scales. Dr. Suzuki says “practice only on the days you eat” and Barbara Barber taught me to “only practice scales on the days you practice.” All that being said, there is NOTHING magical about scales. It’s the fundamentals and principles at work WHILE we play scales that do all the heavy lifting. For many years I have been learning from everyone I can and studying every possible resource in depth to develop breakthrough practices for preparing Suzuki students for Carl Flesch (the most epic journey through scales imaginable) and to prepare young violinists for the Kreutzer Etudes.   
Based on the teaching of Charles Krigbaum, Kerstin Wartberg, Mimi Zweig, and the late Jerrie Cadek Lucktenberg, this course is designed for teachers who, like me, were once intimidated by the elements in Carl Flesch and unclear how to navigate the long winding path to Kreutzer.  Students can find joy in shifting and double stops. Yes, we CAN learn to play thirds with ease, beautiful intonation, and free of excessive tension. We’re going to flesh-out those scales: arpeggios, thirds, sixths, octaves—we’re going there. And I see the Kreutzer Etudes in your students’ future with skill, joy, ease, and a sense of accomplishment achieved through effort. Faulty intonation and insecure technique, we kiss you goodbye! I’m very excited for this opportunity, and I hope you will consider joining me this summer online with my dear colleagues at the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute.  
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 – “A Survey of Supplemental Literature for Use with Suzuki Books 5 and Up”
This course will look at important literature for the Suzuki Violin teacher to add to their curriculums to ensure that the student is learning all standard violin techniques, idioms, and stylistic periods. Pieces will be played in class and analyzed for appropriate level of use, what technical ideas are presented, what musical ideas are developed and which pieces are the most dense with material to use in developing an intermediate student into the advanced level of violin playing. It will include detailed analysis of complete works for teaching points and ideas incorporated into the pieces.
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 – Focus on Group Activities

What do you do when you are not able to be hands-on with your student?

This seminar is targeted toward all string teachers who recognize that there is a need to rethink the way we teach during the pandemic. With most of us switching to online lessons or with masks in person, the distance between us and the students makes it extremely frustrating to teach how to “feel” the instrument and how to “relax.” This course is designed to address this frustration and help all string teachers become better at communicating with your students about tension-release even in a normal face-to-face lesson setting. Learning to master online and distanced teaching serves to improve teaching in a normal setting as well.

Here is a sneak peak to the opening of my last seminar. 

Click excerpt 1 HERE.

Click excerpt 2 HERE.

Here is a home practice video of a 4yo student after practicing with my tension-release ideas. Click HERE.

One activity I use for online learning to help a student with a stiff left hand. Click HERE

During the course we will:

  1. Discuss how to tackle tension issues in different parts of the body: neck, shoulders, upper arm, forearm, wrist, thumb, and finger joints.
  2. Discuss how to tackle problems with teaching dynamics, tone, and shapes of phrases.
  3. Rethink and redesign the way we teach.  We will use props and games to bring students’ attention to their motor skills and muscle strength. Students will have fun learning while teachers have means to check the students’ readiness in distance lessons with tangible and measurable ways.

I look forward to sharing ideas with you!!

What prompted me to offer this seminar: I maintain a Suzuki cello studio of students aged from 3 to 18 in Austin Texas. My students and I transitioned to the Zoom environment in the middle of March of 2020. Besides their regular private lessons, I continued offering more than 60 online group lessons. To my pleasant surprise, all my students were able to retain their awareness of looseness in their muscles and flexibility in their body when they play. In the wake of the cancellation of our studio recitals in May, they each gave a porch recital to celebrate their accomplishment instead. The program ranged from the Flower Song to the first movement of Dvorak cello concerto with a backing track. What I realized is that my routine warm-ups for muscle toning and strengthening before Zoom and the tactics I created to tackle the issues with distance really helped them continue to progress with few struggles. 

Participants’ feedback:

I was able to directly implement the skills into my own teaching and see how your techniques really do work. Thank you for providing an online opportunity to learn and I look forward to learning with you again in the future!

Shu-Yi has completely changed how I teach. I’m grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait for more!

SO helpful, inspiring and a good reminder that fun can be so effective!”


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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