The Real Magic of the Conference: Student Performances

As the Conference Committee plans for the 17th Biennial SAA Conference in May 2016, we are energized by all the exciting potential that lies ahead for engaging discussion, inspiring sessions, and most importantly, student performances. This is where the true magic lies; the tangible evidence of beautiful, heart-felt music making is witnessed every day at the conference.

Teachers and parents, this is where we need your encouragement and insistence to get the students to Minneapolis for this unforgettable experience. We need you to prepare the students for audition videos and help them understand that opportunities like these positively influence the trajectory of our musical journey.

What kind of opportunities are available to students at the SAA Conference?

  • Master classes taught by guest clinicians in each instrument area, as well as masterclasses for chamber groups
  • Instrumental Ensembles: Flute Performing Ensemble, Recorder Consort, Bass Choir, Cello Choir, Guitar Ensemble, Three-Piano Ensembles, and Violin Performing Ensemble
  • Suzuki Youth Orchestras of the Americas
  • Piano Concerto Soloist with orchestra
  • Groups spotlighted on our International Ensembles Concert
  • Suzuki Young Artists String Ensemble

Specifically, the instrumental ensembles, youth orchestras, and young artists ensembles are a blend of students from all over North, Central, and South America. There is something really special that happens when a new ensemble of Suzuki students is formed. If you have ever seen this happen at summer institutes, you will have an idea of what this means. Each Conference, these ensembles are made up of different students who have prepared a well-executed audition, prepared the designated repertoire for the Conference, and saved money for the travel expenses to attend this charmed four-day event.

How is this different than an institute experience? These students remain with the same ensemble for four intense days of rehearsals, transforming the notes on the page into a beautiful group sound, day after day, hour after hour. They create musical bonds that blossom into lasting friendships. They relate to students who have come from all over the Western Hemisphere for the single goal of performing music together. Now that is special!

Below are some ideas that can help families defray the expenses of getting to the conference:

  • Inquire if your SAA chapter affiliate (or program) has scholarship funds for students attending the conference. Most affiliates have scholarships reserved for institute participants, and some, for conferences.
  • Fundraise the same way you would for institute or any other musical tour, such as busking, practice-a-thons, benefit concerts, or other fundraisers.


    It’s possible to make things happen if we truly want to find a way! Be the teacher or parent that encourages your student to reach for meaningful experiences, something magical found only at the SAA Biennial Conference.

    Megan Titensor

    Megan Titensor, cellist, is on the faculty of the Asociación Cultural de Qantu in Cusco, Perú. Megan completed her master’s degree in cello performance at CU-Boulder and her bachelor’s degree in cello performance at Utah State University. Also an accomplished pianist, Megan has extensive experience as a performer and collaborator, enabling her to accompany her own students. Her students range from young Suzuki cellists to adults. Megan has also had experience teaching early childhood music and movement classes and enjoys teaching Music Mind Games. She loves skiing, hiking, biking, cooking, travel, and yoga.

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