Suzuki Violin Idea from Ray Chen?

Ray Chen Humor on Stage!

Enjoy!  The video is under 5 minutes and worth the laugh.

We could have a lot of fun in our Suzuki studio with the “Bach Double Concerto” if we take a cue from violinist Ray Chen. Or we could use our imaginations and do our own thing at our next recital!

Suzuki Books 4 & 5

Book 4 introduces Violin 2 and Book 5, Violin 1 for the “Bach Double Concerto.”  While Suzuki Book 4 is a big leap for students, some find the challenge exciting.  Book 5 continues with even more intricate skills. When you watch the video, you can appreciate at least some of what you or your child is learning in Books 4 & 5. It is not for the faint of heart, but nothing worth doing is easy. (Rumor has it that Books 6 & 7 are not as challenging–never give up!) Playing at a high level can be done by children–Suzuki planned the progression of skills with great care. He developed brilliant repertoire structure.

Ray Chen

Ray Chen published this on Oct 11, 2015, on YouTube.

“After a wonderful week in Venezuela working with the awesome kids in the El Sistema program I decided to finish the end of the concert with a special encore with my two very good conductor friends Diego Matheuz and Christian Vasquez!”

“Happiness is playing my violin with others.” Could have been said by Charlie Brown.

Suzuki Summer Institutes: Why go?

A Suzuki Summer Institute! It is a wonderful way to bring your child into the company of other children and parents who share your vision.

Many Institutes have a family camp atmosphere making the experience one your entire family can enjoy together.  In these hurried days, it would be pleasant to take a week off to enjoy each other while learning and growing in Suzuki.  You will have the opportunity to focus on your child, to enjoy this experience together, to make memories.

At an Institute, you will be refreshed and renewed, knowing that the Suzuki violin program you are taking is right for your child.  There are wonderful performances to attend where you and your child can see the possibilities that lie ahead.  You can join in with helpful parent talks to learn new ways to support your child.

The final concert at many Institutes includes all the students–an exciting experience.

I have attended many Institutes all over the United States and one in Lima, Peru—some with the Family Camp atmosphere and some not.  One of my favorites for the family atmosphere is the American Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point, WI.

Click on the photo for a video of one of the large gatherings at Stevens Point!

American Suzuki Institute


I truly believe you and your child would leave a good Suzuki Institute and talk about returning the next summer.

In case I haven’t given you enough reasons to attend a summer Institute, the Suzuki Association of Americas lists 25 reasons why you would want to go.

Joseph Chapman, who writes a blog at says, “One’s creative endeavors, especially as a child or adolescent, aren’t easy to maintain. But the right support structure, even if it’s only for a week or two, can nourish an aspiring artist throughout the year.”


Some Family Camp Atmosphere Institutes

The American Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point, WI.

The Ithaca College Summer Institute (Pre-Twinkle Variations and above)

The Virginia Suzuki Institute ( Has a special program for those in Pre-Twinkle through Lightly Row)

The Blue Ridge Suzuki Camp (Not an affiliated Suzuki Institute, but an established camp held at Orkney Springs)

The Blue Lake Suzuki Family Camp in Michigan.

Local Institute

Not a Family Camp atmosphere, but locally the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute is held at Woodrow Wilson H.S. in DC.

All Summer Institutes

Click here for the list of all institutes throughout North America.

“Taking a week to spend immersed in music is well worth the time and money. As a child, seeing the wide ranges of players at camp helped inspire me to practice harder and become a better player.” Alexandra Ostroff, a Suzuki Teacher in Training

Suzuki Parents’ Need to Know List:

Suzkui parents can support

How rewarding it is for parents to watch the children grow and develop, learning a skill that seems beyond their reach.   Suzuki parents know that “nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.”*

Suzuki teachers work hard to teach children to play one of the most difficult instruments; parents work hard to learn the skills they need to aid their children on the journey; and children learn that hard work has its own rewards.

Support for Parents

Parent training classes give parents knowledge and the specific skills they will need to support their child as he/she learns to play the violin. However, once in a while, parents need to be reminded that the path they’ve chosen is a worthy one; they need to know that they are doing it right.

Group class is a good opportunity for parents to support each other.

Calling an experienced Suzuki parent can really help.

Talking to an experienced Suzuki parent before or after class gives the new parent just the tips he/she may be looking for.

Suzuki Method Parent Discussion Group on Facebook, is a good place for parents to ask questions about all things Suzuki.

Another good source for parents is a post by Brecklyn Ferrin who is a mother and Suzuki violin teacher. She shares what she has learned from both sides of the bow.   Click here to read her “Top 7 Things Your Suzuki Violin Teacher Wants You to Know.”

Learning to play the violin is one of the most challenging as well as one of the most rewarding activities a child (or adult) can undertake.  Imagine the human physical structures that must work together to create beautiful music from this instrument.  Suzuki believed that we can create a beautiful human spirit also through learning to play the violin.  But it does take a parent who shares the same vision.

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges….” Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.


*Nicholas Sparks, American novelist, screenwriter and producer.