The Philadelphia-region has plenty of Suzuki teachers; enough to support a vibrant local Suzuki community. Here are some local and national resources that all Suzuki teachers and families should know about so that they can get the most out of their Suzuki Method experience.
The Suzuki Association of the Americas
The administrative arm of the Suzuki Association in North, South, and Central America, The SAA does so much. They handle teacher trainings, cetifications, oversee publishing a monthly journal, handle copyrights, list all the summer institutes , and more.
The Suzuki Journal
Aimed at both teachers and parents (but only available to members), the journal is a great way to stay motivated and get new tips and tricks for your home practice.
Finding A Teacher
Chances are good that, if you're on this page, you've already found a teacher. If, perchance, you haven't, they have a page where you can input your zip code and find a Philadelphia-Based Suzuki-Trained teacher.
Summer Institutes are an amazing experience for all Suzuki Students. These are held nation-wide, oftentimes in very desirable vacation spots. Think of it as Summer Camp for Suzuki Kids, where they can meet other Suzuki students of all different backgrounds and instruments! These Institutes provide amazing memories and experiences for everyone. Attending one of these should be on every Suzuki Family's bucket list.
The Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association
The Philadelphia-area is lucky to have one of the only 14 local Suzuki Chapters in all of North America. The Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association (GPSA) has a number of annual events that would be of interest to all Suzuki Families.
The graduation recital is open to all instruments and is a fantastic opportunity to help students truly refine their work and get an incredible, "true-recital" performance. Once students have finished a book (and, ideally, are 1/3rd-1/2 of the way through the next Suzuki Book) the student makes a recording of their performance piece, which is then reviewed by other teachers in the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association. They send feedback to the student's primary teacher, who helps incorporate this into the students performance. The students then attend a dress rehearsal and, finally, perform their highly-refined piece at an amazing venue in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.
At the end of the recital, students are presented with a trophy. And the trophies get bigger and bigger as the students advance through the books.
The recital is also a great opportunity for students to see other instruments. This event is often dominated by pianos, so my Suzuki Guitar students have always received a very warm welcome from both parents and other students.
This recital takes place in late Winter, but students should be planning for it by mid-December.
Fall Strings Play-In
Disclosure: I have never been to a play-in, as the Philadelphia Suzuki Guitar scene is too small to support it (and our repertoire differs from strings to engage, as well). That being said, everything I've heard about them is that they're pretty cool and one of the most-looked-forward-to events for Philadelphia Suzuki string students.
A traditional play-in is typically started by the most-advanced Suzuki students. They play their most advanced piece. Then, they play backwards through their repertoire. As they play through easier and easier material, the other students at the play-in join in at their own level. Of course, this all ends with everyone playing the quintessential Suzuki song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Some play-ins keep it a bit simpler and play through a pre-selected set of repertoire.
I don't actually know much about this, other than that it's organized by the excellent Rebekah Waggoner, who has been teaching and performing in the (much) Greater Philadelphia area for years!
The Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association offers a scholarship to assist or fully-cover the cost of tuition to one Summer Institute (which can be found on the Suzuki Association of the America's page, see above).
The New Jersey Suzuki Workshop
The New Jersey Suzuki workshop is an essential stop for Suzuki Students of all stripes (Lightly Row and up). It's a weekend jam-packed with events: Masterclasses, Group classes, Enrichment classes that take students far outside of the typical Suzuki repertoire. There's a Parent-Teacher talk and an Advanced Class for teens. It ends with a Suzuki Play-In and Group Class performance.
Located in Mercer County, this weekend workshop is easily accessible for Philadelphia-Area Suzuki students.
The Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute & Young Artist Program
While there are many Suzuki Institutes in this hemisphere (and others!), the PA Suzuki institute is easily the most accessible one for Suzuki Method Students in Philadelphia (although I wouldn't recommend commuting there!). Located at Moravian College in Allentown, this is a program for strings and piano students that typically takes place in late July.
The structure is basically the same as the New Jersey Suzuki Workshop, but stretched out over 5 days. This allows students to go much more in-depth and develop much more meaningful relationships with the music and with each other!
The Young Artists Program adds Chamber Music and Orchestral Experience to this, and is exclusively for students ages 12+. It's a great way to keep a soon-to-be high school student engaged with the music.
I hope this article helps you get the most out of your Suzuki Method lessons in Philadelphia!