In the beginning of August, I had the chance to visit Seattle for a week to attend the Japan Seattle Suzuki Institute. I took the Practicum teacher training class. We were both students and teachers at the same time! There were only five students in our class, and we each had to bring a couple of videotapes of us teaching lessons to share with the class and discuss. We also got a chance to have a mini-lesson in front of the class with a student from the institute whom we had never met. Pressure!
Our Practicum class with our teacher, Kathleen Spring, at our favorite hangout, Byen Bakery
It was a great little group of teachers that I got to work with, all of whom have been teaching in different situations for many years, so we got to share experiences. One of my classmates is the strings and orchestra teacher at the Seattle Waldorf School, another is the only violin teacher in a fairly remote city in Canada. Our teacher, Kathleen Spring, was a lovely person and shared a lot of good practical information with us. She’s also the author of Bunny Ballads, a book with a collection of original pre-Twinkle songs, which is delightful.
The institute was at Seattle Pacific University. Seattle is a beautiful place! It was so refreshing to be in cooler weather for a change, with lots of lush greenery. I hadn’t been to Seattle for years so I had forgotten how hilly and charming it was. We were lucky to be there during the season of fabulous weather. One evening my new teacher friends and I got a chance to explore the town, and visit, among other things, a fabulous chocolate shop in the Queen Anne neighborhood called Chocolopolis! Trust me, that was definitely a highlight. We were also lucky enough to have a lovely little Scandinavian bakery pretty much next door to our classroom, which we visited quite frequently. We even had part of our class time there.
Drinking chocolate at Chocolopolis
Other explorations included walking to the Fremont Troll, a huge urban sculpture under a freeway bridge. It was quite popular for kids to climb on. We also enjoyed watching the Fremont Drawbridge go up, and one of my classmates took a video of it to show to her 3-year-old son. And, of course, we dropped by the Space Needle.
Fremont Drawbridge going up
Of course, you have to say you saw the Space Needle!
But back to work…Along with class time, we also were required to observe the students’ classes, which was a lot of fun. There were private lessons, group classes, orchestras, and chamber groups. The kids were kept quite busy!
One of the group concerts
A book 1 group class rehearsal
It was one of the most fun institutes I’ve been to. Every student and parent that I saw seemed to be having a fabulous time, too. I’d highly recommend any Suzuki summer institute for students of all ages!