SAA Conference in 2014

Margot Jewell said: May 27, 2013
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

Hello Canadian teachers,

I have just returned from an inspiring SAA leadership conference in Ohio. There were 20 Canadian Suzuki teachers present, including our newest Canadian teacher trainer, Kathleen Schoen. Congratulations Kathleen!

It was a wonderful opportunity to gather with like-minded people to vision, share ideas, enjoy each others’ company, celebrate old friendships, and make new ones throughout the weekend. Topics ranged from specific pedagogy (introduction to new violin book 6 and book 7 changes) to new trends in educational philosophy in general. There were many presentations dealing with the future of Suzuki education for example, the influence of technology on learning.

Please consider attending the 2014 SAA conference in Minneapolis, MN next May 22-26. . The theme will be “Power of Community.” This will be a wonderful opportunity to continue with your life long learning!

Kathleen Schoen said: May 28, 2013
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

Hi Margot!

It was loads of fun seeing you in Ohio, and sharing a room with so many teachers from Ontario that I never usually connect with even though we live in the same country!

I just want to add my voice to yours in urging people to attend the 2014 SAA Conference. I’m already looking forward to seeing all of you again, and hoping that even more of the Canadian teachers will come.

Kathleen Schoen said: Oct 4, 2013
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

Hello Canadian teachers!

The deadline for Conference sessions is fast approaching. Do we want any specifically Canadian sessions or events?

If we want another lunch meeting to discuss general Canadian issues like the one we had last conference, I’ll see if I can get it on the program. Let me know if you would come and what you would want to discuss.

Good things came out of the last session, not least of which is this specifically Canadian discussion group.

Any other Canadian ideas for sessions?

Since the theme is Community, I thought that a session on integrating Suzuki instruction and the RCM syllabus might be of interest. Perhaps a panel discussion featuring teachers of different instruments? Our American colleagues do not have a similar examination system, although the RCM is setting up an American branch. They may also be interested in knowing how we make it work.

Let’s throw around some ideas!

Kelly Williamson said: Oct 5, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
262 posts

If you’d like a(nother) flute teacher who sends students in for RCM exams, I’m in! PS The ABRSM is also available in the US now… some of the flute teachers in the eastern seaboard area are using it.

Kelly

Wendy said: Oct 6, 2013
Wendy Seravalle-Smith
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Cello, Violin
Thornhill, ON
117 posts

Yes I successfully integrate violin/viola/cello Royal Conservatory exams in with regular Suzuki progression for those students interested. Supplementary repertoire that my students study are in the syllabi and either gives the student a “special” other piece or we sometimes all learn the same pieces and play them as part of group class too. Exam level chosen is based on the technique rather than repertoire so often the repertoire portion is “review” and so can be very polished or upgraded with more advanced skills in bow stroke or position fingering. This leads to generally a great result and further confidence as well as a deeper understanding of the importance and purpose of review. Technique that is at their current Suzuki level is more relevant to them. Working on studies and scales together in a group technique class makes it more fun. The exam goal is therefore not one that supercedes their progression in Suzuki or is daunting but a happy experience.

I am happy to be part of a panel. As a strings examiner, I can also give insights from that point of view. Thanks.
Wendy

Kathleen Schoen said: Oct 6, 2013
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

Oh yes! I think having examiners on the panel would be wonderful—having the point of view from both sides of the desk, so to speak, would be very valuable.

So far we have strings, flute, and recorder(flute) on our potential panel. Any pianists out there who would like to participate? Guitar?

Margot Jewell said: Oct 6, 2013
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

HI Kathleen,

It is great that you are thinking about Canadian content at the conference! The lunch idea is great.

I wonder if there is a way of pairing teachers from more remote Canadian areas with those of us from the bigger centres. It is so easy to feel lost when you don’t know anyone at these big conferences. I wonder if we can pair up in advance and plan to meet the very first evening.

I like your idea of putting together a panel discussing RCM exams. You know that the deadline for session proposals is Oct 25.

It is great that Wendy can represent the Suzuki string teachers who are RCM examiners.

I think it would be great to get a pianist on the panel. When Susan Gagnon, Julie Brierly and I presented a session at the 1008 SAA conference on the value of assessments (exams), most of those in the audience were piano teachers.

You will want to be sure you have the most up to date info on what is happening in the USA with the Music Development Program (what eth RCM is calling itself in the US) I would be happy to fill you or Wendy in on the latest developments as we get closer to the conference date.

Tim Eckert said: Oct 6, 2013
Tim Eckert
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools
30 posts

I’m not an examiner but I could talk about how to bridge from Suzuki piano to RCM piano.

Thanks for organizing this, Kathleen.

Tim

Laura Nerenberg said: Oct 7, 2013
Laura Nerenberg
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Ottawa, ON
49 posts

Hi Kathleen et al,

I’m still not sure if I’ll make it this year (though, it’s in my calendar!)
— but, if I do, I’ll be at the session for sure!

I also like the idea of pairing up.

Laura

On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 3:05 AM, SAA Canada Discussion <
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Kelly Williamson said: Oct 7, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
262 posts

Would it be helpful to have a presentation on the geography of Suzuki in Canada in 2013/14? I’m not sure quite how we’d do this, but perhaps the SAA office could offer some stats and some graphs and maps could be prepared. I suspect few people are aware of where everything is going on, especially outside of our own instrument, and where exactly people are, because we are so spread out. My guitarist partner is not a Suzuki teacher, but I was interested when she said that for training, she’d have to go to California or somewhere else… she was astonished when I told her that there is a teacher trainer four hours away by car, in Michigan.

Perhaps a document like this could be helpful for people like her who might be interested in the method. We could explore ways of publicizing it to people outside of our community. I also think it would be a useful addition to our teacher training materials—if handed out in all instrument classes, it would be very helpful in supporting and mentoring new teachers in all instruments and parts of Canada. If you knew there was a new flute teacher in your area, wouldn’t you be happy to send them an email and invite them to drop in? Many people are shy to cold-contact someone they don’t know, especially another instrument teacher if they are very new to Suzuki… and for months, they might not even know where to start. A list like this would be concrete information as well as an open invitation. (People who are already on the Teacher Search would not object to being on a contact list… if there are people who are in more remote areas who have not posted a profile on the teacher search, they might be contacted and asked if they’d be willing to be on such a contact list.)

I know of lots of flute teachers who are very isolated, and they’d really appreciate this. It would be fun for them, too, if they were at the conference, to be asked to stand and wave at everyone when their area was presented. They may not, of course, be there, due to those very distance challenges… but if we propose this session and it is accepted, a special invitation could be sent out to all of the Canadian teachers. Another way to help people to feel welcomed at the conference, and get to know other people.

(I made stickers with country flags for people’s name tags at the last conference, and made some lasting friendships outside of my instrument area. Basically, I had country stickers for everywhere I knew that Suzuki events had taken place. If you’d attended Suzuki events in Canada and the US, you’d have those stickers on your name tag—very colourful. Lots of people saw them on my name tag and asked to be “stickered” too. Actually, there will be at least one other person—a Californian—doing this at the next conference because she liked it so much! I could bring province stickers… or people in remote areas could bring their own special stickers… yeah, I like stickers, but I think this is good! :D )

Kelly

Kathleen Schoen said: Oct 8, 2013
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

My strategy as an isolated flute teacher was to recruit colleagues :-)

I really like the idea of a Suzuki Canadian geography presentation. I also like the idea of pairing up. I think both of these ideas address the main concerns that were raised when we met at the last conference (communication & isolation). Perhaps we could incorporate both of these ideas into a general Canadian meeting, like the lunch meeting we had last time, but right at the beginning of the conference, as Margot suggested? We could do the sticker thing too, as Kelly suggested—having the stickers right at the beginning would help us make connections throughout the entire Conference. This certainly fits the Community theme. I also really like the idea of a special invitation to the conference to the Canadians that highlights how many of us will be there and what we are doing.

Thanks for volunteering to be a piano rep on our RCM panel, Tim. The list now stands at 4 panelists representing piano, strings, flute and recorder, with one person also being an RCM examiner. I think we can safely go ahead —I’ll submit the session proposal—but if anyone else wants to be part of it, you are welcome to join us! (Guitarists? Vocalists?)

Margot Jewell said: Oct 8, 2013
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

This all sounds
wonderful!

Kathleen Schoen said: Oct 23, 2013
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to let all of you know that I submitted the two session proposals that we discussed: the Canadian meeting (including all the suggestions discussed above), and the RCM panel discussion.

Margot Jewell said: Oct 23, 2013
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

Great! Thanks for doing all the work for submitting the proposals!

Pierre Yves Gagnon said: Oct 24, 2013
Pierre Yves GagnonViola, Violin
Oakville, ON
17 posts

Recently, I wrote a French letter that I intend to publish on the Canadian website concerning the lack of resources in French available to the French community in Quebec and outside of Quebec. I submitted this letter to the SAA board and they are supportive of my initiative. Would it be possible to include Suzuki en francais as a topic of an eventual Canadian session?

Pierre Y Gagnon

Kelly Williamson said: Nov 25, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
262 posts

Hi Pierre,

I just checked out your post on materials in French… I asked whether you had contacted Melanie Grenier. When I was living in Montreal, the teacher group there had several translation projects going. I don’t know where they are it with it now, but if you haven’t seen the documents they have, it would be good to make them more widely known and available.

I submitted the proposal for a “Suzuki in Canada” session. If it is accepted, I’d be happy to include the discussion of materials in French as part of the presentation.

Best wishes to all!

Kelly

Kathleen Schoen said: Feb 5, 2014
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

So the conference session on integrating RCM examinations into the Suzuki studio has been accepted.

Tim, Kelly, Wendy, you have all volunteered to be on the panel. Let me know if you are still on for this :-)

This provides coverage of recorder, flute, piano, and strings. Any other Canadian teachers (of other instruments?) with experience using RCM exams with Suzuki students are welcome to join us—just let me know by Feb. 28 so that your name is included in the program.

So now we need to consult with each other on how best to organize all the information we have to offer. I am thinking that one way would be for each person to say a few words about our own experience using RCM exams with Suzuki students and then open it up to general discussion / questions. Any other ideas?

We also need to know if we have AV requirements or if we can just provide handouts.
I’m thinking just handouts, but if you have something that would need a projector we need to let the conference team know by Feb. 28.

I’m really looking forward to working with you on this!

Wendy said: Feb 5, 2014
Wendy Seravalle-Smith
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Cello, Violin
Thornhill, ON
117 posts

Hello Kathleen and Tim:
Yes I happy to contribute to the panel from strings perspective as well as an examiner. I do not think there is anything for a projector.

One thing that I do with my students as they begin exams is to organize their review around the scales in their review and this has been very effective in getting the scales as a regular part of their practise. I also put together technique books and also try to have technique parties or technique class so we can play scales, and studies together. I also incorporate ear test and sight reading skills regularly in groups and individual lessons and make it into a game in these technique classes. No doubt the grade chosen to do is based on the technical requirements leads to success—repertoire often older pieces that are very polished and upgraded with new skills in bow stroke and fingering. Also very often the student will do one of their repertoire selections from a grade higher, depending on exam level chosen. Later, same goes for orchestral excerpts—having an excerpt party. I also have exam candidates perform their exam solos at seniors’ concerts or self organized adjudicated solo festivals with an examiner colleague as the adjudicator. They are given range mark with ideas on how to get to the next range of mark. I wrote a couple of articles on taking exams in the Suzuki style and a new approach to music festivals that I can tweak for a handout on ideas for exam preparation. All this leads to great confidence in their preparation and solid awareness of expected outcome. Lots of practise assessments from me help too.

I will check with RCME and Margot Jewell on other ideas I can share from the Royal Conservatory about the system and the Suzuki student.

Hope that helps you with some of my perspectives.
Wendy

Susan Gagnon said: Feb 6, 2014
Susan GagnonTeacher Trainer 6 posts

I would love to join a panel on integrating the RCM exam system into a Suzuki studio. As you may know, I was one of the main contributors to the new cello RCM books. I am having most of my book one/two group class do Grade 1/2 exams this June. I only occasionally have had students do grade two before this and never anything earlier. Since there are recordings now, I am having the kids choose and learn their repertoire by ear as I would their Suzuki materials. If I haven’t started them on reading, I’m having them learn their Etudes by ear as well—I recorded them.
Susan

Kathleen Schoen said: Feb 7, 2014
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

Thank you for joining us, Susan!
I didn’t know you were involved in the compilation of the books—this will give us another point of view on our panel.
So now we stand at violin, viola, cello, flute, recorder, piano / teachers, teacher trainers, examiners, contributor.
This should be a very rich session—I look forward to it!

Margot Jewell said: Feb 10, 2014
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

This sounds wonderful! Thanks to all of you for the thought and energy you are and will devote to this session! I will be quite busy with many jobs at this conference, but hopefully will be free to attend your session and cheer you on!

Ellen Kogut said: Feb 12, 2014
Ellen Kogut
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Montréal, QC
2 posts

I will look forward to attending this session at the Conference!

Pierre Yves and others, is there still an interest in meeting about improving the availability to French language materials? If so, I would be interested in participating.

Margot Jewell said: Apr 7, 2014
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

Hi Kathleen,

I see that the RCM panel session was accepted. What about the ideas for a Canadian session? Has that gone anywhere? How about organizing a Canadian lunch? Anything we can do about connecting rural and urban participants? Is that something I could work on? Since you are on the planning team, I thought you might have some knowledge of this. I have a SAA board meeting this weekend, and would appreciate knowing where the Canadian sessions stand.

Thanks

Margot

Margot Jewell said: Apr 7, 2014
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

Hi Kelly,

In rereading old posts, I see it was you who submitted a "Suzuki in Canada" session. Was it accepted?

Margot

Ellen Kogut said: Apr 8, 2014
Ellen Kogut
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Montréal, QC
2 posts

I'm interested in a Canadian session or lunch, and could help out with organization.

Kathleen Schoen said: Apr 8, 2014
Kathleen SchoenTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Edmonton, AB
25 posts

Hi Margot,

The Canadian session (S, eh, eh? v.2) has been accepted. I requested that we have a "real" room to meet in, instead of huddling in a corner of the lobby like we did last time. :-) Scheduling is yet TBA. Last time it was at lunchtime, and everyone brought their own lunch. If we could set it up where there was food available that would be more convenient. (The flute teachers have a lunch at a restaurant across the street.) I requested that it be near the beginning of the conference, so that we can identify each other (rural + urban connections as Margot suggested) and continue connecting as the weekend progresses. Issues for discussion, many of which have already been raised in this forum, will include: availability of French language materials and helping teachers in more remote areas. Other suggestions are most welcome!

The RCM session has also been accepted. Our panelists include Tim Eckert (piano) Susan Gagnon (cello + contributor to syllabus) Wendy Seravalle-Smith (strings + examiner) Kelly Williamson (flute) Kathleen Schoen (flute + recorder). A guitar person would be welcome if anyone is interested! Here is one possible suggestion for organizing the presentation :
1) Quick overview of what a student needs to prepare to do an exam
2) Each panelist can briefly address how each exam element (repertoire, etudes, scales, ear training, etc.) can be integrated into Suzuki study for their particular instrument.
3) Summary of overall benefits of exam preparation
4) Questions & general discussion
What do you think? Suggestions and alternatives are most welcome.

Margot, is there any way we could send a special invitation to all the Canadian SAA members highlighting some of the Canada-specific sessions at the conference? Having more Canadian teachers attend conference is another way to work with one the the main issues identified at our last Conference meeting, which is geographic isolation.

Margot Jewell said: Apr 8, 2014
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

Thanks for all this information Kathleen!

I will think further about suggestions and will also check at our board meeting if there is a way to communicate with only the Canadian membership. I will be in touch.

Margot

Elizabeth Bronsveld said: Apr 23, 2014
Elizabeth BronsveldViolin
6 posts

I would be very interested in joining. I have had a few students do grade 1 & 2 RCM so I am familiar with the requirements for those but not beyond.

Margot Jewell said: Apr 24, 2014
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

HI Elizabeth,

I am so excited to see that you will be attending the SAA conference! I believe that the session on RCM\Suzuki that we have been talking about in this thread has been scheduled for 5:00 on Thursday; the very first session of the conference! As a RCM examiner, as well as a SAA board member, I am interested in this session too and will see you there!

Is this your first conference? Do you know anyone else who will be going?

Elizabeth Erb Sherk said: Apr 24, 2014
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Recorder, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Guitar
27 posts

Hello to Margot & all people contributing to this thread:

Integrating Suzuki with RCM?
Supporting each other in rural & urban environments
Facilitating bilingual instruction
etc. etc. all Canadian issues….

I think I had better make a point of joining that conversation at 5:00 on Thursday, the first day of the conference.
There was a Dalcroze Eurythmics Class all day Thursday, that I wanted to be part of, but I am travelling on Thursday morning so will miss at least half of it, so I will not be going to that….

I am not the Elizabeth you were writing to just now, Margot, but I am an Elizabeth who will attend….and listen.

Elizabeth Sherk

Margot Jewell said: Apr 24, 2014
Margot JewellSAA Board
Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
148 posts

Glad to know you will be attending the conference this year. Elizabeth Sherk. There will be quite a few Canadian sessions after that very first one.
Looking forward to seeing you in Minneapolis!

Elizabeth Bronsveld said: May 7, 2014
Elizabeth BronsveldViolin
6 posts

This is my first conference! I'm very excited, also feeling like I need to plan everything as I will be bringing my 6 month old with me! She does love music and gets excited to meet people so I think she will do great but it is the first time I am travelling out of the country with her!
I think I will run into some people and teacher trainers I know (And I know Pierre and Susan, Pierre is one of my old teachers and Susan taught my little brother) So I think this will be a very fun weekend! Looking forward to running into friends and meeting new ones!

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