Frequently Asked Questions


Most FAQs from the institute feedback forms

Can I get my child's schedule in advance?

- Yes; with payment in full by the deadline, your child's schedule will be available to you ahead of time so you can plan your week. We usually email these out ahead of time - so be sure to give us your current email information on your application.

Can I request no 9:00 classes? (or can I ask for no last period class so we end earlier?)

- Although you can make this request, we cannot honor it. We do our best to make sure students get the best schedule possible - any limitations to times may end up giving you a schedule with large gaps at another time.

Why can't you pick a specific location and let us know ahead of time where it will be?

- Currently, we rely on the Anchorage School District (ASD) for sites. This means that although we put in a site request form back in December, we are at the mercy of the school district as to what we end up with. We are lower on the priority list than any ASD program, and construction and summer school often bumps us. The final decision on sites for the summer programs (us included) is not made until well into May, and while we let you know as soon as we hear.

Why are there other student's in my child's group class that are not playing as high in the literature (or are much higher), and why are the classes not smaller?

- Especially in the strings, group classes are dictated by the number of students attending institute, their levels and the overall number of teachers. If there are 80 violin students at institute, and six violin teachers…given that ALL strings have their group classes at the same time, there will be about 13-14 students in the class (many institutes have groups up to 25 students). If the mode of the string players is about the same, the groups end up very homogenous. If there is some spread, it ends up a bit more varied. Often at the lower levels we have several book one and two classes. At the upper levels, two books may be grouped together because there are fewer students on each one. Ideally, each class would have only students within a song or two of each other, but numbers make this impossible. Keep in mind that Suzuki felt that a lot of learning was accomplished through listening and observation, so there are benefits to students even when they do not play all the pieces in a class. Learning to sit quietly is also a valuable skill.

Why can't the lunch concerts be after a 20-minute break?

- The main reason for this is that it is sometimes difficult to tell how long is needed to complete the program, and we do not want to cause anyone to be late getting back to afternoon classes. We did make them a time to eat lunch quietly, and they are of course optional. Often there was an inadvertent break due to the time needed to set things up, but if your child needs a break, you can always take one and come in quietly when you are ready and listen to the concert in progress.

Why can't my child have all afternoon/morning classes, or why can't all the younger students have all morning classes, or why can't all the electives be in the afternoon?

- It is not possible to give all morning classes to a student except on the rare occasion it works out to do so for a pre-twinkler child. String students, for example, automatically have a 10:30 and a 1:00 group class. It is not possible to put all core classes in the mornings or all in the afternoons for students because it would create problems with master classes being too heavy in one part of the day and practically empty in the other part. Having all the electives in one part of the day would result in very large elective classes and few chances for student's to get the electives they really want. With a full day's six periods, there is some flexibility in scheduling, but with only three there would be almost none.

Why can't there be fewer students in a master class? My child only gets a few minutes, and the last person to go gets the least amount.

- Master classes are set up with four students (three in upper books) to a period to allow for 12 minutes or so of one-on-one with the master teacher, but the other 36 minutes should be spent observing the lessons of the other students. Suzuki believed a student also learned by watching and listening. This goes for parents as at-home teachers too. The goal is not to have a half-hour lesson each day. Master teachers are careful to alternate who goes first, second, etc. on each day so no one is last every time. Usually the average minutes over the week are about equal for each child. If you have specific concerns at institute about your class, please let us know.

Why can't you have fewer requirements for parent involvement so I can drop my child off and not have to take time off from work for this institute?

- The Suzuki experience involves parent and child as an integral part, and most institutes (unlike ours) will not accommodate parents with more than one student enrolled. We are not trying to be a drop-off day camp. Although parents who work have to either take four days off or have a stand-in (babysitter, nanny, grandparent, or alternating parents) the experience requires the participation of both. As parents are the home teachers, just sending the child alone to classes would not be as beneficial and does not follow the Suzuki philosophy. Think of this as quality time with your child they will probably remember for years! Teen students are the one possible exception to this – please contact us if you have questions about that.