Canoes, s’mores, and flutes...what could be better? The Suzuki Flute Institute at Lake Sylvia (near Annandale, Minnesota) always offers a rewarding week full of learning opportunities (for both students and teachers of all ages and experience levels) and provides a fun setting in which all the participants can build a supportive community of colleagues and friends.
This year, two of my students will be attending camp, and I am excited about watching them grow during the week and afterwards. They will take lessons with David Gerry, who is an incredible mentor for students. I always enjoy watching him invent creative and strategic games to directly build flute skills. His whimsical ideas not only inspire lots of laughter (making it a fun experience for students, families, and teachers), but are also incredibly effective at helping students to overcome their biggest challenges at that point in their flute lives. Wendy Stern, the teacher who works with more advanced students, is fantastic as well; her analytical approach helps students to reach a higher level of playing and to enjoy the learning process. This year, there will also be a recorder component for both students and teachers; it will be taught by Mary Halvorson Waldo.
I have pursued Suzuki teacher training at Lake Sylvia for the past three years, and I am looking forward to Book 4 training this June. The creative ideas and tools I have encountered in teaching observations and training discussions, along with the supportive relationships I have built with my teaching colleagues, has helped me to grow immensely as a teacher and as a player. The spirit of collaboration is one of my favorite parts of the Suzuki philosophy; through connections built at camp, I have built close working relationships with several other flute teachers in the area, and we often get our studios together to perform concerts and share ideas during the year. I am excited about the upcoming June institute; I’m sure we will all (students, teachers, and parents) come away from it feeling invigorated and full of new ideas to enrich our flute lives!