Suzuki Institute Plays On at Walla Walla College

The sound of strings filled the air, and master teachers filled Walla Walla College buildings as the college hosted the Walla Walla Suzuki Institute.

The WWSI is an opportunity for students, parents, and teachers to study the art of string playing using the philosophy and teaching techniques recommended by Shinichi Suzuki. The Suzuki Method encourages young children to play their instruments by imitation, not by reading music. The method also stresses parental involvement.

Eighty students from around the Northwest were enrolled in the Institute, along with 16 adults enrolled in the teacher-training program. Classes were offered in violin, viola, and cello. Students took part in a master class, group classes, an orchestra, and other optional classes. Many students also participated in solo recitals during the week.

“This is an amazing experience for the students,” said Benjamin Gish, director of the WWSI and WWC cello teacher. “And I think they’re really enjoying it.”

This was the WWSI's first year, although Gish said it is a continuation of the Suzuki Institute of the Palouse, which had been held for many years at Washington State University. This year the institute included 12 master teachers from around the world, including Moshe Neumann, a violin teacher who lives in Israel and studied with Suzuki in Japan, and William and Doris Preucil, violin and viola teachers who founded the Preucil School of Music, a Suzuki school with more than 700 students. Other teachers included Kraig Scott, Walla Walla College Church minister of music; Glenn Spring, WWC professor emeritus; Kathleen Spring, WWC alumnus; and Gayle Norton, Walla Walla Valley Academy art and Bible teacher.

“I’m excited about all the faculty who have agreed to be here, and I hope this is the beginning of a long tradition of the Suzuki Institute at Walla Walla College,” says Gish.

September 01, 2005 / Walla Walla University