Gasshuku Workshops

 Gasshuku - Past and Present 

     "Gasshuku" is a Japanese term meaning special training, often held outdoors. The name was chosen by SEMSA for our biennial workshop in honor of our Japanese Suzuki heritage and because it nicely summarizes our event, a special weekend of training for Suzuki students, parents and teachers. The standard repertoire for violin, viola, cello, piano and harp will be studied, along with orchestal works for middle school students.

     Learning to play a musical instrument well is a rewarding, but demanding task.  It requires daily practice, weekly lessons, and year round dedication.  A music workshop adds excitement to the learning routine for both the student and parent.  At the Gasshuku workshop, musical instrument clinicians will challenge the students with a variety of ideas and techniques that students can use to develop their skills and their understanding of creating music.

     Each Gasshuku has a theme.  The theme is threaded throughout the class sessions during the weeking.  Holding the 2014 and 2016 Gasshuku workshops at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center allowed us to incorporate a variety of outdoor activities, in a beautiful, natural setting.

  • The theme for Gasshuku 2016 was Practice where students gained additional motivation and methods to help them improve their daily practice routine.
  • The theme for Gasshuku 2014 was Science and Sound where students learned the physics of the creation of sound and the concepts were applied to their instrument playing.  


Gasshuku 2016 in Review

     Gasshuku at Eagle Bluff 2016 was held on November 11 and 12 at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN.  Eleven guest clinicians  instructed 100 student musicians, in addition to 60 parents and 10 music teachers. Participating students range from beginning ‘twinkle’ students through advanced high school students.

    A teacher forum was held on the afternoon of November 11 for the SEMSA teachers and the Gasshuku clinicians. Three one-hour topic sessions centered on the theme of practice from the teachers perspective were presented.

     On Saturday, November 12, there were special presentations for parents outlining how practice changes as a child grows older and how parents can help their child grow into becoming responsible for their practice and musical development.

     Our goal for the weekend was for students, parents, and teachers to all discover new ideas, renew musical motivation for practice and the commitment daily playing requires.  We believe it was a fun experience whereby students made new friends, developed musical skills, and learned new musical techniques.  

   Featured Clinicians were:

David Holmes, Cello
Janelle Lemire, Harp
Annette Lee, Piano
Diana Galindo, Piano
Andrew Hisey, Piano Lab
Katie Bast, Violin
Sherry Cadow, Violin
Ute Brandenburg, Violin and Viola
Jere Lantz, Chamber Orchestra
Jennifer O'Neill, Stretch for Musicians
Jan Matson, Piano Accompaniment 



Gasshuku 2014 in Review

     The Southeastern Minnesota Suzuki Association hosted the Gasshuku at Eagle Bluff 2014 on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, Minnesota.  The music workshop allowed students, parents and teachers to experience a first-class music workshop close to home.      

Featured clinicians were:

     Bass -- Blake Bonde, Rochester, MN, and Michael Van Ryn, Winona, MN
     Cello -- Beth Cantrell, Greenwood, VA
     Piano -- Lauree Christman, Preucil School of Music, IA

     Piano -- Suzanne Greer, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis, MN
     Piano Lab -- Andrew Hisey, Minneapolis, MN

     Violin -- Christie Felsing, Boulder, CO
     Violin/Viola -- Betsy Stuen-Walker, WA
     Violin/Viola -- Robert Richardson, Jr., Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
     Enrichment, Music History and Theory -- Jere Lantz, Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Choral
     Enrichment, Physics of Sound -- Rod Milbrandt, Rochester Community and Technical College Faculty
     Enrichment, World Music -- Russell Packard, Lakeland, MN 

     The Gasshuku committee welcomed over 130 students, 100 parents, and 20 music teachers at this music workshop.  Participating Suzuki students ranged from four year old, beginning ‘twinkle’ students through advanced high school students; the attending student musicians play bass, cello, harp, piano, viola, and violin.  Students in grades 6 to 12 attended Friday and Saturday, staying over night at the Eagle Bluff facilities.  Students in pre-kindergarten through grade 5 attended the Saturday full-day program.

     The theme selected for Gasshuku 2014 was "The Science of Sound - Sound Matters". Students learned about the physics of the creation of sound and the concepts were applied to their instrument playing.  The theme was threaded throughout all of the music class sessions during the weekend.  The clinicians challenged the students with a variety of ideas and techniques that the students will continue to use to develop their playing skills and their understanding of creating music.

     Two presentations for parents based on the Suzuki philosophy of instruction were held on Saturday. This was an opportunity for parents to hear informative presentations especially for parents of Suzuki music students. "The Upper End -- Advanced Students and Their Parents" was presented by Betsy Stuen-Walker and "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Suzuki Parents" was presented by Christie Felsing.

     Grant support for the 2014 Gasshuku at Eagle bluff music workshop was received from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, the IBM Corporation, the Rochester Arts Council, the Eagles Club, the Police Benevolent Association, Community Charities - Recreation Lanes, and the Rochester Music Guild.  Due to this grant support, SEMSA was able to provide this workshop at an affordable cost for all SEMSA families and provide need based scholarships.  The Gasshuku planning committee hopes your family truly enjoyed this outstanding workshop event and that the skills learned continue to benefit your student musician in the daily practice and performance opportunities.