Moving to France—any advice?

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Laura said: Jun 3, 2014
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

Dear Teachers,
I am writing this well in advance of moving, but hope that some of you out there have advice or contacts who could help me in my move. I will possibly be relocating in March 2015.
I’ve spoken to a few Suzuki teachers already, and I have found out that it sounds like I will either need additional training at great expense to be recognized by the ESA…or I could just do my own thing but then would not be able to participate in Suzuki activities. I would appreciate any help or advice. I am planning to be in the Southern region near the Spanish border, possibly near Toulouse or Pau. Thank you!

Sincerely,
Laura Appert Springham

Laura said: Jun 7, 2014
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

I've had a few private messages—if there is anyone else who would rather write me a private message, I really appreciate the help!
Thank you,
Laura

Erin Rushforth said: Dec 22, 2014
Erin Rushforth
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools
San Antonio, TX
19 posts

I have some friends who moved to southern France recently. You might enjoy checking out their blog and they might have some practical advice regarding the move—their contact information is on the about page. Good luck!
http://rixarixa.blogspot.com/2014/12/why-we-moved-our-family-to-france.html

Laura said: Jan 5, 2015
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

Hi Erin,
Thank you very much! I would love any one else’s insight. I received a few private messages as well.

Thank you!
Laura

Elizabeth Friedman said: Feb 19, 2015
Elizabeth Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
49 posts

Hi Laura,
I’m writing this in a public message, perhaps foolishly (but I hope not), because I hope it will shed some light on the situation currently facing Suzuki teachers who move between countries. This is something that is happening increasingly frequently. I think most people have no idea what it’s like, and imagine it should be simple.

I currently live in the UK and can perhaps provide some insight. I have my BMus (Michigan) and MMus (Rice) as well, and your degrees together with your Suzuki pedigree puts you in a good position. Before moving, I had completed ECC (Gilda Barston) and Book 1 (Pat d’Ercole at Stevens Point) and Books 2-3 (Chicago). I also had taught at the Hyde Park Suzuki institute and my boss was a wonderful mentor. Because of the requirements of the degree I was completing directly before moving, I wasn’t able to complete other SAA teacher training courses.

It took 8 months for the ESA to finally recognize my training, and I was accepted as a Level 2 teacher (completely appropriate—Level 2 is Books 2-3). While I was waiting, I began building my studio by telling the truth—that I was a teacher with a BMus and MMus, trained in the Suzuki Method in the USA—but I did not advertise as a “Suzuki teacher.” Rent had to be paid, and I don’t think the ESA really thinks about such mundane practicalities when they consider what a ‘reasonable time’ is for consideration of transfers. It took me a while to get over having to wait so long, as I felt my case was extremely straightforward, and I subsequently completed Level 3 last year (and had a baby, so took a break from training this year). Entering the course was wonderful, and I have greatly enjoyed continuing to grow as a teacher. I have really appreciated my teacher trainer and colleagues, and look forward to completing Levels 4 and 5 soon.

While I thought the ESA took far too long to consider my case, it was a short period of time from their perspective. The last time I checked ESA tranfer guidelines (2013), which were put in place after I was accepted as a Level 2 teacher, they made it impossible to transfer SAA teacher training credits because the courses they required do not exist (whether the ESA committee realized this is unclear). Whether the ESA has since amended this problem, I’m not sure. I have since found out that there are several US-trained teachers whose training has not been accepted by the ESA and are cut off from the Suzuki community here. Rather than starting again at Level 1 as I’m sure the ESA would prefer, they instead teach under the radar (of course they do!), avoiding describing themselves as the Suzuki teachers they are. There is no shortage of students here looking for good teachers, whether they are recognized by the ESA or not. But these teachers are not able to provide their students with access to the many wonderful Suzuki workshops here because their students must be with BSI-registered teachers in order to be members of the BSI, and must be members of the BSI to attend workshops. Their local Suzuki association, of course, misses out on the membership fees of full studios, as well as the collegiality of these teachers. It also misses out on being able to take on these teachers who may not have completed their training yet, who would like to continue training in Europe. The ESA is effectively shooting itself in the foot with its current policy. We are in desperate need of more Suzuki teachers. (Want to move to Oxford instead??)

That doesn’t mean you’re without hope. Make videos of lessons with students, and create an archive of student performances if you can in such a short space of time. Make sure you’ve got copies of your degrees as well as documentation of the courses you’ve taken. I know the SAA considers its online database to be proof of training, but you might request some sort of written documentation from them, explaining the situation. Get letters of reference from as many teacher trainers as you can. If the ESA does accept you, you’d come in as a Level 2 because Unit 4 is in the middle of Level 3.

The lack of parity between Suzuki associations is built on an archaic understanding of citizenship and flies in the face of Suzuki’s dream that we would create peace between nations through music. I look forward to the day when Suzuki associations around the world can find a way to recognize international training and accept teachers from other countries.

Sue Hunt said: Feb 20, 2015
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

Well said Elizabeth! Let’s celebrate Suzuki’s memory and learn to work together to accomplish his dream.

It would indeed be wonderful if international teacher training could be a bit more inclusive.

Laura said: Feb 22, 2015
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

Hi Elizabeth,
Thank you so much for your long and detailed response. I was just speaking to teachers who came for a workshop this weekend from the U.S. about this same issue. I also don’t understand why Suzuki voice teachers are required to have a music degree (and other instruments do not have this requirement….I have been to training where several of the class members were not competent players. That is a whole other discussion!)

Our first priority is to get settled into a new life. I am going to put building a studio on hold for awhile. I’ve had lots of teaching experience and I can always start up again, but want to become bilingual and search for a home. Luckily we have some money saved so I don’t have to try and find work right away.

I’ll keep you posted, and maybe we can meet up at a conference sometime! I was hoping to meet Sue but we will be gone when she comes to Bermuda!!

Thank you,
Laura

Margaret Parkin said: Feb 22, 2015
Margaret ParkinViolin, Viola
6 posts

Dear Laura,

I am a Canadian living in the UK and am very fortunate to work with Elizabeth in Oxford.

Joanne Martin would be a good person for you to make contact with once you have your feet on the ground. She is a SAA/ESA teacher trainer and spends half of her year in France, half in Canada. She might be able to offer insight to you with regards to your next steps. Karen Kimmett, another Canadian with strong ties in France and also a SAA/ESA trainer is another great resource.

Best of luck with your upcoming move and hopefully we will meet sometime!

Margaret Parkin

Sandrine said: Feb 23, 2015
 Piano
Orist, France
10 posts

i am very happy to read ours messages because i am a French Suzuki teacher piano from French indies, Antilles. And i did every teachers training in USA and Canada, i am regestred with the SAA, books 1 and 2.
Now, a few weeks ago, i moved in Spain with my family, i would like to teach here, i speak spanish. But, i understand i cannot work immediatly, i have to convert my certificates in Europe.
I know Karen Kitmett and i send her a message to have as possible Every informations.
if you have any to tell me , i would have satisfaction.
Thanks everybody.

Sandrine L

Sandlaur

Laura said: Feb 25, 2015
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

Hi Margaret,
I’ve corresponded with Joanne Martin. She was very helpful (but basically said what Elizabeth said…lots of hoops).

Thank you for your suggestions and time that you’ve taken to write me. I’ll update once I’ve moved!

Laura

Elizabeth Friedman said: Mar 2, 2015
Elizabeth Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
49 posts

Hi Laura,
Not sure whether you’re able to come to the ESA conference in Davos in July, but that would be a good place to meet people and see what’s going on in the ESA.

Best of luck on your journey and in your new life!

Laura said: Mar 6, 2015
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

Hi Elizabeth, I’m thinking about it, but we are in transition in the summer so not sure I can make it. Are you going?
I’ve looked on the website but haven’t written anyone about trying to sign up.

Sandrine said: May 6, 2015
 Piano
Orist, France
10 posts

Hello Laura,
I am in Europ and i didn’t find a Practicum course to convert my SAA’s certificates.
The ESA don’t have at this time a course, so i am looking for a Suzuki piano teacher who would do this course, and you do you find some things?
Thanks

Sandrine

Sandlaur

Laura said: Jun 2, 2015
Laura Appert SpringhamViolin, Viola
33 posts

Hi Sandrine,
I don’t know about piano teachers, but I was able to search teachers on the ESA website, so you may be able to find help there.

www.europeansuzuki.org

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