Parents often ask me, “What can I do to get my kid to the next level?”
This one simple question incorporates so many assumptions that it is not always easy to answer. The first thing I am going to ascertain is whether the parents are actually participating in their children’s music education and supporting it in ways that are meaningful. It takes more than just taking them to lessons and paying for quality instruments; it means interacting with them on a personal level. You don’t need to be a musician yourself to follow what the teacher is covering during the lesson, take notes, and then check in with your son or daughter as they practice to make sure they are reviewing and comprehending the material. Of course, having decent quality instruments and keeping them maintained in tip-top condition is another easily overlooked area where progress can be impeded. Asking the teacher to check the student’s instrument before each lesson is good investment of two or three minutes of lesson time and can help detect small issues before they become big problems.
Assuming the above-mentioned are all checked off, the answer really revolves around another question, “What kind of experiences is your son or daughter having as they pursue this path of developing an unfamiliar skill?” If they only see their teacher, practice at home, and go see their teacher again, it is very likely they will become bored. Bored students don’t learn, and quickly lose enthusiasm for the tasks at hand. One solution is to give them a break from their routine and send them to one of the many week-long music camps available around the DC area and around the nation.
As a business, we at Potter Violins view ourselves as an educational institution with a retail component, and because of this we are constantly doing community outreach and providing services to camps and conferences around the country.
Here is a list of some camps we have provided services, and are wonderful opportunities to learn, grow, and renew enthusiasm for practicing.
We hope to see you there this summer!
American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras Summer String Academy http://www.aypo.org/summer/
Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute https://www.pennsylvaniasuzukiinstitute.org/
National Philharmonic Summer String Institutes http://www.nationalphilharmonic.org/education/summer-string-institutes.aspx
Greater Washington Suzuki Institute http://www.sagwa.org/gwsi
American Suzuki Institute https://www.uwsp.edu/suzuki/Pages/asi/default.aspx
North Carolina Suzuki Institute http://www.ecu.edu/cs-cfac/music/suzuki/
Hartt Suzuki Institute http://www.hartford.edu/hcd/music/summer-music/hartt-suzuki-institute.aspx#hsigeneral
L. Dalton Potter