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The San Diego Suzuki Institute is now open!

We are very pleased to be able to announce that 2017 registration is now open.

It was a long road transitioning SDSI from its predecessor, Strings by the Sea, into its current form. Everything from class offerings to finances had to be reassessed. We are very grateful for all the hard work the Strings by the Sea directors put into making their camp run successfully for twenty years. Glen Campbell and Karla Holland-Moritz paved the way for a lot of young musicians' careers with their vision.

We are excited to be able to continue their legacy with this new Suzuki institute. Having a registered Suzuki institute will allow for new opportunities for the local community. We are hoping to not only provide a quality experience for the students attending the institute but to also provide teacher training avenues for the teachers in the area.

So here's hoping for a smooth first year and we look forward to meeting everyone!

For more information about the San Diego Suzuki Institute…
Recent posts

Why Play Games When Practicing?

People often underestimate how much mental power it takes in order to practice a musical instrument.  The challenges of the instrument aside, even just deciding simple things like how many times is "enough" can wear you down.  This is especially true when the students are young.  Almost any child will decide he has done something "enough" after two or three repetitions tops.  This is usually in direct conflict with the parent who knows that he has not done said task nearly enough.

Games can not only remove the charged emotional elements but they also have the power to draw the participants closer together.  Games are a social experience that present a challenge outside of a regular comfort zone.  While a student may only "feel" like doing two or three repetitions, throwing a number five on a dice pushes the student to do just a bit more.  The act of trying to overcome that challenge is more of a bonding experience than someone just telling the student wha…

Fluidity

I've practiced martial arts for over a decade.  I've blogged about this concept before but for those that haven't read those posts: I strongly feel that martial art and music practice pair well together.  There are a lot of crossover skills between the two.  You can read more about that here.

Something that I've really come to appreciate while practicing Tai Chi is the idea of fluidity.  With music it is often all too easy to give yourself the lofty goal of "sounding like the recording."  We inaccurately assume that so long as we figure out the notes and play it as fast as the recording it will sound "as good" as what we heard.  Unfortunately, this usually just leads to us sounding sloppy.  Playing something quickly is not the same thing as playing something fluidly.

The nice thing about Tai Chi is that there's less temptation to give yourself such lofty goals.  There's no "recording" that we are trying to imitate.  You can either …

TEDxSydney - Richard Gill - The Value of Music Education

Music educator Richard Gill argues the case for igniting the imagination through music and for making our own music. In this talk, he leads the TEDxSydney audience through some surprising illustrations of the relationship between music and our imagination.

Richard Gill has been Music Director of the Victorian Opera Company since its inception in 2006. He has also been Artistic Director of OzOpera, Artistic Director/Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Adviser for the Musica Viva in Schools Program. 

Currently the Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony's Education Program, Richard has frequently conducted for Opera Australia and OzOpera, Meet the Music (SSO), Discovery concerts (Sydney Sinfonia); Ears Wide Open (MSO), and Canberra, Queensland and Tasmanian symphony orchestras. 

Richard's many accolades include an Order of Australia Medal, the Bernard Heinze Award, an Honorary Doctorate from the Edith Cowan University of Western Australia, Hon. Doc. (ACU), and t…

Logical Cause and Effect

I love games of all sort.  Computer games, console games, board games... you name it.  I've talked about disc golf a lot on this blog.  Part of the appeal of that sport for me is that it feels game-like.  You have to strategize about your shot and you get to throw brightly colored plastic (just like dice).  I grew up playing games but it wasn't until I started teaching that I appreciated everything games can teach, specifically board games.

The best thing about games--and I've mentioned this in many blog posts--is that they create a neutral party.  Even if it is you versus another person, that competition is still within the confines of the game's rules.  So even if we don't realize it this redirects a lot of frustration.  In the practicing environment this is invaluable.  Telling a child to do twenty repetitions is demanding.  Rolling a twenty on a dice leads to a good-natured groan followed by the challenge of trying to actually do something twenty times.

But th…

The Private Teaching Business Model

Over my years of teaching I've come across a wide variety of interpretations about the private teaching business model.  I feel that this is a natural result of the type of society we live in.  Many services these days are either "subscriptions" or "appointments."  For example, a gym membership is a subscription.  You pay a monthly fee to use the facility at any time during their hours of operation.  A doctor's visit or a haircut is an "appointment."  You call ahead to set up a time, you show up and then pay after the services have concluded.

With most services falling into one of these two categories, most people try to rationalize music lessons as one or the other.  However, music lessons are neither subscriptions or appointments.  They are actually a combination of both if the business entity is going to be successful.

The reasons why this hybrid business model occurs are:

1)  The service itself is centered around personal attention (appointmen…

Music as a Language: Victor Wooten at TEDxGabriolaIsland

Victor Wooten is an innovator, composer, arranger, producer, vocalist, and multiinstrumentalist. He has been called the greatest bass player in the world. He is a skilled naturalist and teacher, a published author, a magician, husband and father of four, and a five-time Grammy award winner.