Mandatory Membership - London Suzuki Group
Learning with the Suzuki method requires becoming a member of either the BSI (British Suzuki Institute) or the LSG (London Suzuki Group). This membership is obligatory and has to be in place before the first lesson (after the observation period). It offers the child a wide range of holiday classes, workshops, and events. (To sign up go to http://londonsuzukigroup.co.uk/membership/ or call 020 3176 4170.) You can pay by direct debit or PayPal.
The London Suzuki Group are the teachers. All Suzuki teachers who give up their time, mostly unpaid, to make events happen and collaborate to continuously develop our teaching practices for the benefit of the children and families.
There are meetings, conferences, and events at least four times per term unpaid in order that this tradition of collaboration and shared experience for the children, their siblings, and their parents can be continued.
That is what Suzuki method is.
LSG events are subsidized - there are free playtogethers in London and there is a free solo performance platform at a good venue every term (Performance Platforms happened at prestigious venues like The Royal Academy in the past).
The groups festival in the autumn is free for performers with a very low ticket price. This concert is most definitely subsidized. The book 1 bonanza, piano early stages workshop, and Angela East's Pimlico Cello Workshop are all discounted for LSG members by up to 30% and as such are subsidized by the LSG to a degree.
The annual Graduation Concerts usually take place at St John Smith's Square and the National Children Workshop, which took place in the Royal College of Music until recently, now takes place at Trinity College Greenwich.
The LSG also has a very well established bursary scheme which helps dozens of families access the quality teaching and community experience (this fund is not taken from the subscriptions but is financed through a separate charitable fund). Families in receipt of bursaries receive a reduction in the membership fee. The bursaries are organized by a bursary committee.
Organising workshops and concerts is an enormous task administratively and is also prohibitively expensive. The teachers subsidize them by giving up their time for free. If teachers were all paid an hourly rate for the time they put into organizing and running these events the membership and ticket prices would be a lot higher.
This is an important issue for 'The Cello Corner' to address - how much everyone values the network of teachers and families who learn with the Suzuki method and the shared events and how much everyone feels that is an integral part of teaching and the success of the students.
It is also possible to only be a member of the BSI (British Suzuki Institute). The LSG membership includes that.
The BSI membership covers some of the workshops, including the Pimlico Workshop in June, but the registration fee is higher. It does not allow taking part in LSG concerts such as Cadogan Hall, the autumn groups festival or the solo performance platform series.
It does cover graduations and any other national events just not the London ones.