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Suzuki Summer Music and Arts Camp

Suzuki Camp webJuly 9 - 13, 2018
(Ages 4 - 17) 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

The Suzuki Summer Music and Arts Camp is open to all violin, viola, cello, and piano students who study by the Suzuki method.

Registration begins Feb. 28th for members, March 8 for patrons

416-924-6211 x 0.

pdfClick here for registration package. Packages can be dropped off at the MNjcc or mailed to:
ATTN: Gretchen Paxson-Abberger
750 Spadina Ave
Toronto, ON M5S 2J2

*Please do NOT email your registration forms.

If you would like more information about our camp please contact camp director, Gretchen Paxson-Abberger This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 647-637-1530. 

Welcome to Camp!

Welcome to our 2018 MNjcc Suzuki Summer Music and Arts Camp, now in its 9th year!  We will run the camp from July 9-13 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.  It is open to all violin, viola, cello, and piano students who study by the Suzuki method.  We offer all levels, from those who have learned Twinkles with fingers to beyond Book 8.  We hope to share Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy and nurturing approach to learning with all children and parents who attend.  Along with a basic daily foundation of semi-private lessons and Suzuki group repertoire lessons, campers will also participate in 3 enrichment classes with a choice from the following list: theory, ukulele, drumming, fiddling, arts and crafts, composition, chamber music, klezmer, improvisation, Alexander lessons, “Music Through the Ages,” “Perform with Pizzazz & Poise” workshop, yoga, a sports activity, cooking, and pottery, and musical theatre.  Campers will perform in an end of week concert featuring class demonstrations from many of our week’s activities.

To parents of children 10 years and younger, we encourage you to attend your child’s semi-private, and group class.  If you are unable to do this, we will make sure your child has a “Suzuki Buddy,” (one of our responsible MNjcc Suzuki Program teens, and program grads) who will take responsibility for writing down the assignments, and helping your child with their instrument.  

Lunch will not be provided.  Campers must bring their own lunch (nut free), snack, and drink.  During the lunch-hour we will have use of the gym.  The new salt water pool is available for our use, and we will again have a designated camp swim time this summer.  Extended care will be available before and after Suzuki camp hours.  

If you would like more information about our camp, and/or would like to be mailed a brochure with registration forms, please contact camp director, Gretchen Paxson-Abberger @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 647-637-1530. Registration can also be done in person starting Feb. 28th at the MNjcc Info Desk – phone – 416-924-6211 x 0.

Class Descriptions

Semi-Private lessons – violin, viola, cello, piano: Daily – 50 minutes.   

Students grouped with 2 or 3 other students according to instrument, age, and level.  Students observe each other’s lessons, and learn from each other. 

Semi-private lessons are not optional.

Suzuki group repertoire classes – violin, viola, cello, piano:  Daily – 50 minutes.  

Students grouped according to instrument, and pieces they have learned in the Suzuki repertoire books.  If there are a large number of students, it will be also possible to assemble Suzuki repertoire groups based on age and playing level.  Piano students will have a musicianship and/or theory class, depending on age and level.  Pianist and group class students will perform at our Friday afternoon concert.  Group classes are not optional.

ENRICHMENT CLASSES: (choice of 3) 

Art (Arts & Crafts): Daily – 50 minutes.  Children of all ages and levels are welcome. 

 Our Art & Craft classes through the years, have offered the opportunity for children to explore:

- Creating collages
- Creating Camp posters 
- Creating instrument drawings with various methods
- Relating music with art, and art with music
- Watercolour painting
- Marble Painting
- Decorating a craft bag
- Finger painting, and more... 

Please be aware that there may be glue or paint splattering.  Comfy clothes are recommended!

Chamber Music class:  

Daily – 50 minutes - Two levels- Intermediate (Bk. 3/Bk. 4), and Advanced (Bk. 5 and up).

Students will work together in small groups (3-5 people), coached by an instructor. These groups are often made up of several different instruments (i.e.: violin, viola, cello). Students will have fun playing in multiple harmony parts together while developing rhythmic independence. Open to students Suzuki Book 3 and up.  Students who take chamber music will perform at our Friday afternoon concert.

Composition class: Daily – 50 minutes – Intermediate - Advanced levels. 

This class, to be taught by Arie Van de Ven, will focus on improvisation as a compositional tool, and will include some games/activities that generate their own music.

Cooking class: Daily – 50 minutes - junior level only. 

This popular class will be taught by Lisa Koo, who for the past number of summers has created awesome, healthy, and yummy recipes for all.  As our kitchen will only fit 10 students per class along with the teacher, and helpers, we will close the class once it is full.  We will fill it on a first come, first served basis.

Drumming class: Daily – 50 minutes. Classes will be grouped by age, and playing level.

This class will be taught by Cheryl Reid.  Campers will explore rhythm with Cheryl, using her unique simple homemade bucket drums.  Cheryl actually taught one small class for a few campers last summer to such success, that this summer we would like to offer drumming to everyone.  Cheryl has a unique way of combining rhythm, popular tunes, improvisation, and discipline, mixed with her exuberant personality, to create unique original compositions with the students which will be heard at our Friday afternoon concert.

Fiddling class: Daily – 50 minutes. Three levels – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced. 

Traditional fiddling is more than reading the music off the page. In fact, most "real" fiddlers don't read a note. Of course, it's an advantage to be able to read music and learn by ear. The students in this class will be doing a bit of both. Incorporating rhythm is another key aspect to great fiddle playing. Students will learn arrangements of familiar and more obscure fiddle music, and will have fun with ensemble skills. Classes will be determined according to Suzuki playing level.  Students in fiddling will perform at our Friday afternoon concert.

Improvisation with “Creative Ability Development”: 

Daily - offered to both Junior & Advanced students - 50 minutes

"Creative Ability Development is a method for developing uninhibited creativity in music performance. Through the improvisation games we play in Creative Ability Development, the student is given the freedom to discover his/her own musical ideas, and style. Each child will discover his/her own musical voice. With self-discovery comes renewed feelings of self-confidence, freedom of expression, and a true connection with musical creativity."

All participating students will conclude the week’s activities with an improvisation performance at the Friday concert.

Klezmer Ensemble: Daily - Advanced level only – 50 minutes

Students will be introduced to three of the most important dance/music styles in the Klezmer repertoire, incorporating the use of some “Jewish” ornaments. Students will study and play a piece in each of three dance styles: Chosidl, Bulgar, and Hora They will learn about appropriate accompaniments and how to interpret the melodies in terms of ornaments, style and general attitude. Interspersed, with playing, students will listen to recorded samples of source recordings placing the music and Klezmer musicians in a socio/historical context before and after the great wave of immigration to America, including the modern 21st century developments of the style.  Simple arrangements of the melodies will be constructed to conclude the week with a performance at the Friday concert.

Music Through the Ages: Daily – 50 minutes.  Will be offered to all levels and ages, and will be our first class of the day.

Music tells a story – a good story – and everyone loves a story! These entertaining presentation/performances are sometimes comic, sometimes dramatic, and sometimes moving - but always lively. Come hear Clayton Scott bring the stories of the great operas, ballets and symphonies to life. Composers will be taken off their pedestals and revealed as real people living in a real time. The audience will be inspired by the music, enthralled by the dramatic stories and fascinated by the creative process behind these masterworks. 

“This master story-teller and eloquent musician exquisitely entwines words and music. Her dramatic presentations enthrall listeners of all ages and must be experienced to be believed.” Susan Hammond, Classical Kids (“Beethoven Lives Upstairs”) For more details and photos, visit

Musical Theatre: Daily – 50 minutes. Class will be grouped by age.

A highlight of our 2017 camp, and now for a 2nd consecutive summer, Maya Chilton (a singer/songwriters/composer in her own right), will be teaching our musical theatre class.  We plan to divide the campers by age (5-7), (8-11), (12 and up).  Depending on the abilities of the groups, each class will work together on Musical Theatre basics with a focus on vocals to be presented at our week’s end concert on Friday afternoon.

Musicianship class: Daily – 50 minutes – Will be offered daily to all junior level campers.

Children will learn Ear Training through folk songs and games with Solfege.  Elements of music such as dynamics (loud and soft), pitch (high and low), and tempo (fast and slow) will be expressed with kinaesthetic movements of the body that are natural to children.  The renowned methods of Kodaly and Orff-Schukwerk will be used in this class to develop children’s natural ability to understand sound and rhythm.

Perform with Pizzazz and Poise: Daily – Intermediate - Advanced level only – 50 minutes

This hands-on, performance-oriented workshop taught by Clayton Scott will help students become confident, comfortable and competent performers. During the workshop, students will learn about time management, effective practicing, stage presence, and how to control nerves. Students should bring 1 or 2 polished pieces to the workshop and provide Clayton Scott with a copy of the scores.  Students in this class will perform solos for each other in their final Friday morning class.

The Alexander Technique: Advanced students (two 30 minute semi-private lessons during the week)

Like music making, the Alexander Technique is a skill.  Discover why for over 100 years, people have relied on the Alexander Technique to address excess tension, improve freedom of movement, and enhance the abilities of performing artists.  Because each person has unique habits, individual study is required in order to put the Technique into practice.  One lesson usually provides an immediate feeling of well-being.  The longer one studies, the more able they are to apply the Technique throughout the day.  

Advanced campers will work with our certified teacher of the Alexander Technique in two 30 minutes semi-private sessions during the week.  Each will undoubtedly discover better use of their body in daily everyday movements.  Many ideas of the technique are easily applied to the study of their instruments.

Pottery/Ceramics: Daily – 50 minutes – offered to both Junior & Advanced students. 

Please note - We will do our best to group classes by age. Each class will be limited to 8 students (no exceptions). Classes will fill on a first come, first served basis. This class is designed for students who want to explore their creativity with clay- the oldest of mediums– using hand building techniques such as coiling, pinching, slab building and texturing, to create three directed projects over the course of the week.  The campers’ pieces will be fired at the end of the week, to be picked up at a later date.

Music Theory: Daily - level to be determined – 50 minutes.  

We will only offer this class if we have a minimum of 4 campers who wish to take theory.  We have not been able to offer theory every summer.  There is some flexibility with the levels the camp will offer.  Theory classes can/will be scheduled based the number of the children wishing for this, and the level of experience.  The minimum number of student for each class will be 4.  If less than 4 students register, another enrichment will be scheduled instead. 

Yoga: Daily – 50 minutes – offered to both Junior & Advanced students 

During the camp week, our yoga teacher will introduce a mixture of yoga postures appropriate for the fitness level of all participants.  Classes will focus on helping students of any age and playing level to develop and enhance coordination, flexibility, balance and strength for playing their instrument and/or doing everyday activities.  Students will not need their instruments for this class, nor will prior instruction in Yoga be required. 

Ukulele class:  Daily – 50 minutes.  Three levels – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.  This class will be limited to 10 students per class.

Using the ukulele as an educational tool, campers will be learning melody, harmony, and rhythm. The ukulele is an ideal instrument for all musicians because one can achieve a lot very quickly.  Singing is a big part of learning to play the ukulele and self-accompaniment is extremely satisfying. In this class students will work a lot on singing, and will learn to play ukulele while singing at the same time.  Suzuki students of all levels are quick to learn the ukulele because of all the aural training they already have.  All ukulele players will perform in our Friday afternoon concert.

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