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Newsletter July 2022FacebookTwitter

Dear SAA community,

What a privilege the last six months have been—we have accomplished so much together. Our focus as an organization has centered around establishing clear communication between staff, the board, and members, while improving systems and processes to better support our members, teachers, parents, and students. We established community gatherings, community guidelines, and have connected directly with Country Associations, Teacher Trainers, Institute Directors, and those that believe in the work of the SAA. We are investing in translation tools that help us ensure better communication with our colleagues who speak Spanish, Portuguese, and French, and are working with the Country Associations to create stronger systems for all members of our community. We will continue to formalize our communication channels via membership surveys, and systematic approaches that ensure we understand members’ needs and hopes for the direction of the SAA. We have made adjustments to our website to support our new technological needs and hosted our first online conference—free to members of the SAA. We have partnered with El Sistema USA to offer discounted Symposium tickets, and look forward to future opportunities for collaboration and partnership with education institutions, leaders in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, as well as organizations interested in building a dynamic and equitable music education field.

Ultimately, of course, our mission is first and foremost, to realize the vision of Dr. Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy and belief that every child can—will drive all of our work for the months and years ahead. For a more comprehensive overview of my priorities as we move into our next six months together please attend our Annual General Meeting on July 26th, or review the Community Gathering notes detailed below. We remain open, always, to hearing from you about what you hope to see from the SAA, and have so appreciated all positive and constructive feedback we have received. Please continue to write to us at .

It’s an honor and privilege to be here with you, to learn from you, and to be held accountable to the philosophy of Dr. Suzuki. We look forward to collaborating with you, and writing our next chapter together. We hope you enjoy the rest of July—wherever you are in the world—and we look forward to seeing you more in the weeks ahead!

Angelica Cortez
Executive Director, Suzuki Association of the Americas

Share the love!
Heart Wall Logo Pink

Please consider making a contribution to our Suzuki Heart Wall campaign! As this fiscal year comes to a close, we want to invite you to contribute to the future of the SAA. You can donate to the SAA in honor of a person, an idea, or a passion that you want to see realized in our new chapter. Read more below.

Board News

This month, our discussion focused on our continued fundraising efforts, adding finishing touches for our Annual General Meeting, and brainstorming for future SAA conferences and potential collaborations. We also approved our slate of appointments and candidates for our upcoming elections.

Members of the SAA are welcome to submit their ballot, and read more about the Annual General Meeting below.


Two Board Directors will be elected from a pool of three candidates for a three-year term. Members may vote once for up to two nominees. Before you submit your ballot, we kindly ask that you please review our call for applications for a comprehensive overview of the Board Directors we are seeking, as well as the biographies of each candidate below. Voting closes July 22, 2022.

About the Board of Director Candidates

April Losey
I am very excited about the potential to serve as a board member for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. The rapid pace of change taking place throughout the world makes it increasingly vital that our children have access to grow beautiful hearts through music. I am deeply committed to developing the Suzuki community throughout the Americas. In my roles as Suzuki institute director, founding member of the institute leadership team, teacher trainer, teacher, and—most importantly—parent to a 4-year-old Suzuki cellist, I believe that I am well-positioned to serve as an advocate for the many perspectives that allow Suzuki education to thrive. My experience as a professional orchestral musician and a college instructor provides opportunities for me to engage with colleagues beyond the Suzuki community. My background in public relations informs my ability to contribute to the board on the impact that decisions will have on different communities, which is vital for supporting inclusivity and accessibility within the organization. Having grown up as a Suzuki student in rural Canada and currently living outside of Los Angeles, I have experienced Suzuki education in both rural and suburban contexts.

As a member of the SAA board, I will work diligently to represent all of the Americas, bringing my experience to the endeavor of sharing and promoting the Suzuki philosophy through community-building and engagement. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the strategic vision and organizational leadership of the SAA as we strive toward developing an ever more vibrant and equitable Suzuki community throughout the Americas.

Nancy Modell
I feel this is the right time for me to give more of myself and contribute more directly to the SAA, an Association that has given so much to me since I first embraced Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy in Suzuki string pedagogy classes at Ithaca College in the mid-70s. In the 1980s, while living in Jerusalem, I experienced learning another language as an adult, as Dr. Suzuki did. I pioneered the Suzuki Approach in Israel by lecturing at teacher colleges about the Suzuki philosophy and training the first Suzuki piano teachers in Israel. I am an experienced Suzuki piano teacher and a seasoned Teacher Trainer who fully believes in the Suzuki philosophy but is open to new ideas and innovations. I’ve been involved in Teacher Training at colleges, Institutes, and privately (online and in-person) for many years. I’ve taught master classes and workshops at Suzuki events, and at the Taubman Piano Festival where I am credited as a Suzuki teacher. I’ve presented at the Biennial Conference, the 1era Convención Suzuki de las Américas, and at Teacher Trainer Retreats.

My goal as a Board member is to introduce and advance ideas that are dear to my heart, and that I have successfully implemented in my teaching. I hope to influence the SAA to become even more welcoming. I have always been concerned about inclusivity. I’ve become especially conscious about DEIA matters during the past number of years due to local and world events. This has broadened my musical horizons and has impacted my teaching to include music from my students’ cultural heritage and to introduce lesser-known women and minority composers beyond the standard repertoire. I hope to encourage our members to embrace this approach and provide them with the necessary resources to implement it. Over a decade ago, I started introducing original composition in my studio curriculum and was happy to see how much it contributed to my students’ musicianship and self-confidence. I have championed this idea in lectures and workshops in the Suzuki community and beyond. Especially in these challenging times, I am passionate about giving our students the emotional outlet of self-expression through improvisation and original composition.

As a Board member, I will encourage supporting the learning of these valuable skills for all our teachers. I am aware that being on the board of an international organization requires a different skill set than that which is required for being a fine teacher. However, I think that at this point in my life, I have acquired the necessary experience. I was President of the NJ Music Educator Association and a long-time board member of this and other statewide music teacher organizations, including the Board of the NJ Suzuki Workshop. I know how to get things done in large volunteer organizations. Through my various SAA activities, I’ve become very familiar with the Suzuki education system which I believe will help me work to strengthen and improve it.

I look forward to being among those who will lift the SAA to higher ground, advocate for more inclusivity for our members, and support pathways to greater creativity for our students and our teachers.

Katherine Okesson
Katherine Okesson, DMA, is the Director of Suzuki Strings and Orchestral Studies for the Sedona Charter School in Sedona, Arizona (a K-8 school with more than 120 string students). Dr. Okesson is also a member of the Grammy-nominated Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra and is a sought-after soloist, chamber musician, and guest lecturer throughout the United States. She has been a member of the American String Teachers Association’s Studio Teaching Committee. In addition to extensive pre-college teaching, she has taught at Kansas State University, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Kansas. She is also an active solo and ensemble adjudicator and has published articles on the Sassmannshaus, Suzuki, and “ABC’s of String Playing” methods. Dr. Okesson graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music with a BM in Violin Performance. She received her Performer’s Certificate in Violin from Northern Illinois University, her Master of Music from KSU, and her Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Kansas.

As an instructor, Dr. Okesson believes firmly in the inclusive philosophy of the Suzuki Method. To that end, Dr. Okesson has designed and implemented several Suzuki neurodiversity programs for children, with the primary goal of equity and inclusion in strings. She has also collaborated with Indigenous Peoples of the Southwestern United States to create string programs, which incorporate extraordinarily diverse and multifaceted performance traditions with the Suzuki repertoire.

Voting Closes July 22, 2022

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting will be held:

**Tuesday July 26
5-6:30p PT | 7-8:30p CT | 8-10:30p ET**

This year’s Annual General Meeting will be hosted via Zoom and takes place live. We hope to see all of you there!

SAA Community Gatherings

The June Community Gathering took place on June 23, 2022. The event centered a presentation from Executive Director Angelica Cortez, summarizing her takeaways from her last six months in office and priorities for the next six to twelve months.

Here are the notes, the slide decks (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), and video.

No Community Gathering in July. Instead, join the Annual General Meeting (see above)!

Our next Community Gathering will be August 25th.
Register Here for the Community Gathering August 25th

Have a question, comment, or gratitude to share? Submit here.

We are Suzuki Video Feature
May 27 Lightning Session Video

We hope you’ll consider checking out this video from the We are Suzuki Conference! This Lightning Session featured three members of the SAA, including:

Liza Barley: “Hop Hop Creative Orchestra: Pittsburgh’s Answer to bringing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Together”

Katie Perry: “We are a Rainbow: A Quick Introduction to Gender Diversity for Music Teachers”

Laura Sinclair: “Autonomy: How Putting my Students in the Driver’s Seat Helped us all Thrive in the Pandemic”

Thank you to Liza, Katie, and Laura for their incredible work, and for sharing it here for our members!

MakeMuisc Alfred Logo

We would also like to thank We are Suzuki sponsor, Alfred Music.

From The Top

From the Top is hosting Virtual “Live” Auditions!

Let your students know that they can audition for From the Top and learn more here.

EZ Notes 50% off Discount!

The good folks at EZ Notes have generously offered SAA Members a 50% discount! Just use the code suzuki50 at checkout.

The E-Z series of music teaching and learning accessories were developed by Lucy Chu, who drew on her decades of teaching experience to design practical products that make studying more effective and fun.

Check out these EZ Notes testimonials!

Some popular products include EZ Notes magnetic/dry-erase staff boards, EZ Notes Scale Blocks and EZ Notes magnetic music boards. Please view their signature products here.

Please note:

  • Shipping available to U.S. and Canadian addresses
  • Latin-American/Australian inquiries must contact for a shipping quote
  • Discount offer of 50% off is available through 12/31/22
  • All purchases are final
News from Latin America
Ecuador Festival 10

Ecuador celebrates 10 years of festivals! INEPE (Institute for Research, Education, and Promotion of Ecuador), with the support of the Ecuador Suzuki Network, is organizing with muchenthusiasmthe X Suzuki International Festival, which will be held in August 2022, endorsed by the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. It will be a very special event where we will have training courses, master classes for students, talks for families, and various recitals and concerts. We are very excited because we will have the festival in person, after two years of pandemic! On this occasion we will have the presence of teacher trainer Caroline Fraser, who will coordinate the Philosophy course; during her stay in Quito, there will be a small ceremony where she will be honored for having accompanied the edition of each festival in Ecuador during these last ten years. Likewise, for the first time in the country, we will have teachers Fabio Dos Santos (Brazil), coordinator of Violin Unit 2 and Teaching Strategies; Miguel Aguirre (Mexico), coordinator of the Piano Unit 1 course; Blancamaría Montecinos (Chile), coordinator of Lectura al Piano 1 and Group Classes for all instruments; and Diana Chagalj (Argentina), who will coordinate the Guitar Unit 1 course, online. During the festival, we will also have the participation of Guillermo Rizzotto, Argentinian guitarist and composer based in Barcelona, who will give a beautiful workshop on Argentine and Latin American Rhythms for Guitar. He will give a concert open to the public, as well as maestro Miguel Aguirre, who will share his virtuosity in a special piano concert during the festival. Canadian teacher Kelly Williamson will be a special guest, who will offer an online talk for Suzuki families on “How to accompany practice at home,” a topic of great interest to the parents. The entire Suzuki community is invited. Finally, the Suzuki students from Ecuador will have the opportunity to present and share with the Quito public in four recitals that will be held in person during the festival. From now on, we want to express our deep gratitude to all the teacher trainers who will accompany us during the festival sharing their knowledge; to the Suzuki Association of the Americas, for its support with scholarships for teachers; and to all the volunteer sponsors who, with their support, are making the X International Suzuki Ecuador Festival possible. Course registrations are still open! You can write to: information on how to participate.

Ecuador Festival 10 Details

¡Ecuador celebra 10 años de festivales!El INEPE (Instituto de Investigación, Educación y Promoción Popular del Ecuador), con el apoyo de la Red Suzuki Ecuador, está organizando con mucha emoción el X Festival Internacional Suzuki Ecuador, que se realizará en agosto de 2022, avalado por la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador y la Asociación Suzuki de las Américas. Será un evento muy especial donde tendremos cursos de capacitación, clases magistrales para estudiantes, charla para familias, y varios recitales y conciertos. ¡Estamos felices pues viviremos el festival de manera presencial, tras dos años de pandemia!En esta ocasión contaremos con la presencia de nuestra maestra Caroline Fraser, quien coordinará el curso de Filosofía; durante su presencia en Quito le rendiremos un sincero homenaje por haber acompañado la edición de cada festival en Ecuador durante estos diez años. Asimismo, tendremos por primera vez en el país a los maestros Fabio Dos Santos (Brasil), coordinador del curso de Libro 2 para violín y Estrategias de la Enseñanza; Miguel Aguirre (México), coordinador del curso de Piano 1; Blancamaría Montecinos (Chile), coordinadora de los cursos de Lectura al Piano 1 y Clases Grupales para todos los instrumentos; y Diana Chagalj (Argentina), quien coordinará el curso de Guitarra 1, en formato online.En el marco del festival nos visitará el maestro Guillermo Rizzotto, guitarrista y compositor argentino radicado en Barcelona, quien dictará un hermoso taller de Ritmos Argentinos y Latinoamericanos para Guitarra. Brindará un concierto abierto al público, así como también el maestro Miguel Aguirre, quien compartirá su virtuosismo en un concierto de piano especial durante el festival.La maestra canadiense Kelly Williamson será una invitada especial, quien ofrecerá una Charla online parafamilias Suzuki sobre “Cómo acompañar la práctica en casa”, un tema de mucho interés para nuestros padres y madres de familia. Toda la comunidad Suzuki está invitada. Finalmente, los y las estudiantes Suzuki del Ecuador tendrán la oportunidad de presentary compartir con el público quiteño en cuatro recitales que se realizarán de manera presencial durante el festival.Desde ya queremos expresar nuestra profunda gratitud a los maestros y maestras, quienes nos acompañarán durante el festival compartiendo sus saberes; a la Asociación Suzuki de las Américas, por su apoyo con las becas para profesores; y a todos los(as) auspiciantes voluntarios que con su apoyo están haciendo posible la realización del X Festival Internacional Suzuki Ecuador.¡Las inscripciones a los cursos aún están abiertas! Pueden escribir a: información sobre cómo participar.

Equador celebra 10 anos de festivais!O INEPE (Instituto de Investigação, Educação e Promoção Popular do Equador), com o apoio da Rede Suzuki Equador, está organizando com muita alegria o X Festival Internacional Suzuki do Equador,que ocorrerá em agosto de 2022. O evento também com o respaldo da Universidade Pontifícia Católica do Equador e da Associação Suzuki das Américas. Será um evento muito especial, no qual teremos cursos de capacitação, master classes para estudantes, palestras para famílias, e vários recitais e concertos. Estamos felizes pois o festival será realizado de maneira presencial, depois destes dois anos de pandemia!Durante o festival, contaremos com a presença da nossa professora Caroline Fraser, que coordenará o curso de Filosofia; durante sua presença em Quito lhe prestaremos uma sincera homenagem por haver acompanhado cada uma das edições do Festival no Equador durante estes dez anos. Da mesma forma, teremos pela primeira vez em nosso país os professores Fábiodos Santos (Brasil), coordenador do curso de Violino livro 2 e Estratégias de Ensino; Miguel Aguirre (México), coordenador do curso de Piano livro 1; Blancamaría Montecino (Chile), coordenadora dos cursos de Leitura ao Piano 1 e Aulas em grupo para todos os instrumentos; e Diana Chagalj (Argentina), que coordenará o curso de Violão 1, em formato online. No âmbito do festival, receberemos a visita do professor Guillermo Rizzotto, violonista e compositor argentino radicado em Barcelona, que dará um belo workshop de Ritmos Argentinos e Latino-Americanos para Violão. Ele também oferecerá um concerto aberto ao público, assim como o professor Miguel Aguirre, que partilhará o seu virtuosismo em um concerto especial de piano durante o festival.Como convidada especial, teremos aprofessora canadense Kelly Williamson,que oferecerá uma palestra online para as famílias Suzuki sobre "Como acompanhar a prática em casa", tema de grande interesse para nossos pais e mães. Toda a comunidade Suzuki está convidada. Finalmente, os alunos Suzuki do Equador terão a oportunidade de se apresentar ao o público de Quito e compartilhar sua música ao longo de quatro recitais que serão realizados presencialmente durante o festival.Desde já queremos expressar a nossa profunda gratidão aos professorese professoras que nos acompanharão durante o festival compartilhando seus conhecimentos; à Associação Suzuki das Américas, pelo apoio com bolsas de estudo para professores; e a todos os patrocinadores voluntários que, com seuapoio, estão viabilizando o X FestivalInternacional Suzuki do Equador.As inscrições do curso ainda estão abertas! Você pode escrever para:festivalsuzukiecuador@gmail.compara receber mais informações sobre como participar.

ISA News

We thought you might enjoy this article in The Strad featuring Augustin Hadelich. He has wonderful comments on Dr. Suzuki, the Suzuki Method, and his experiences making the Violin Book 4-6 recordings.

If you are interested in becoming a Premier Business Member please contact the SAA office.

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The Suzuki Association of the Americas is a nonprofit organization of teachers, parents, and educators dedicated to the advancement of the Suzuki Method in the Americas.

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