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Newsletter August 2020FacebookTwitter

Online Teacher Training

By now I would imagine you have all heard or read that Suzuki training for ECC, Unit 1 Revisiting Book 1, Enrichment Courses, and Units 4 and up are now available on-line.  (North America only: Books 2 and 3, along with a strategies component, as well as the Practicum, will be added in the not too distant future.)  View SAA Events Here

On behalf of the Teacher Development Advisory Committee (TDAC) I would like to give a big shout out to the many Teacher Trainers who took the time to attend numerous meetings and share what worked best during the summer months of offering on-line courses, as well as aspects of online training need more thought and follow-through. 

The wonderful array of SOS courses that were presented in June, July, and August were among our first online course presentations, along with the long-term trainings in university settings, where Trainers were obligated to finish their spring semesters online. The community of trainers really rallied and willingly presented many new ideas over the course of July and August to trainers of all instruments.  We are now all fired up to delve into our training classes with renewed commitment and enthusiasm. Thank you, Trainers, for all the extra time you put in researching how things work and trying out different solutions when things were not working well. 

I hope you, our teacher members, will check out the many courses that have already been posted already on the SAA website.

—Teri Einfeldt

Chair, Teacher Development Advisory Board

IRSTE 30th Anniversary Symposium Report

International Research Symposium on Talent Education

The 15th International Research Symposium on Talent Education (IRSTE) was a huge success!  After our in-person meeting was cancelled, the Symposium occurred online for the first time over three days from August 15 to 21. We had triple the usual number of attendees who joined us from all over the Americas as well as from Germany, Italy, Australia, Iran, and Nigeria.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of IRSTE’s founding. For three decades, IRSTE’s goal has always been to bring together a diverse group of researchers, teachers, and other members of our community who are interested in applying research evidence to the field of Suzuki teaching and learning. As we envision the next 30 years for IRSTE, we recommit to our values of inclusion and diversity. We will also strive to continue putting these values into action by welcoming new contributors, reaching new audiences, and examining our evidence through the lens of equity. 

This year’s evidence-based presentations addressed varied topics including teen motivation, teaching strategies, parent education, and instrument-specific topics.  We were especially pleased to welcome back Dr. Beatriz Ilari whose keynote asked the question, Does Participation in Formal Music Education Programs Enhance Children’s Prosocial Skills?  We ended with small-group discussions of how the Suzuki community can support learning and wellbeing for students and their families; as we navigate the pandemic, the anti-racism movement, and a back to school season like no one has ever seen, these conversations felt very timely.

To hear all the presentations, please visit this SAA page or where you will find the recordings for each session. We have also posted the 15th Symposium Proceedings booklet, which includes presentation summaries, email addresses for each of the presenters, and a copy of our welcome letter reflecting on IRSTE’s past and future.    

Parents as Partners Logo 2021

Plans are underway for next year’s Parents as Partners Online, set to launch mid-January 2021. This series of short videos will feature practice support for parents and caregivers and inspiring ideas for the teachers who work with them. Videos from this year’s Parents as Partners Online will remain up on the website through December 15th for those who are registered and are a great way to get extra inspiration as we all get back to our fall lesson schedules.


American Suzuki Journal – Call for Submissions

The forthcoming summer issue of the American Suzuki Journal is one of our best yet. It is full of valuable pedagogical content as well as touching and inspirational storytelling—and for this issue, we turned the writing over to Black members of our Suzuki community, who have so often been overlooked yet who are just as active in their own communities as they nurture beautiful hearts through music education.

Going forward, we plan to actively include the voices of our colleagues who are Black, Indigenous, and/or Persons of Color. It is part of our ongoing commitment to racial equity within the SAA.

We also want to hear from our colleagues of all cultural backgrounds about how you are addressing racial equity within your own communities and studios. What programs do you have in place to ensure a more just Suzuki community? What resources can you share with other teachers who are starting the journey of making Suzuki education more equitable? What have you learned along the way?

We at the SAA recognize our responsibility as an organization to address diversity, equity, and inclusion; at the same time, we wish to share the important work you are doing in your own studios and communities.

In the early days of the Suzuki movement, Suzuki teaching was a polyphony of individual teachers experimenting with Dr. Suzuki’s ideas mixed with their own knowledge, all the while trying new things, and of course, sharing these ideas with their colleagues. The American Suzuki Journal bore witness to this process and is a record of those times. As the American Suzuki Journalcontinues to chronicle new ideas for Suzuki teaching and learning, we also look forward to recording the Association’s progress in becoming a more diverse and inclusive community.

Please see article guidelines. Submit articles and questions to

—Libby Felts,  editor

News from Institutes

Institute Directors and our teams are looking forward to summer 2021 with a sense of wonder and determination. Coming off the 2020 institute season, where we had to cancel in-person institute plans with some choosing to pivot to online experiences, we are regrouping for a weekend-long huddle via Zoom this September. Over 60 of us have registered for the virtual institute director meetings, which will be moderated by Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin, as we discuss institute culture, diversity and equity, teacher training, and institute management. We hope to continue the positive forward momentum from our 2019 Leadership Retreat, which resulted in our Institute Director Task Force (helping to organize this virtual weekend), a Facebook group open to all Institute Directors and Assistant Directors, and many collaborative friendships.

As a relatively new Institute Director, I take comfort knowing that I am not alone in making difficult decisions about my institute, and I thank my fellow directors for their generosity in sharing ideas, plans, and their perspective. Although it’s too soon to know whether in-person institutes will return in 2021, I’m convinced that as we strengthen and lean on one another, we’ll be able to adapt to the circumstances and provide a meaningful and positive Suzuki learning experience for all Institute participants.

—Erin Rushforth, Institute Directors Conference Planning Committee


Communications Updates:

If you are not receiving messages from the SAA, remember that you can always update your email and web settings under your SAA Account. You also may wish to add the domain to your email providers whitelist and add the email address to your contacts. If your mailbox is full or your email provider has overly aggressive SPAM settings, messages might not be delivered because of your email provider. All messages sent by the SAA are DKIM verified and signed and sent through Amazon AWS.


Chamber Music in the Park

Chamber Music in the Park

(Submitted by Pamela Hunt) When our local orchestra camp was cancelled due to COVID-19, we decided to hold a chamber music camp outside. Five different groups met for 90 minutes a day in our local park and worked on their sight reading and ensemble skills. Community members drove by, walked by, stopped to listen, or even sit and eat lunch. It was a great way for the kids to share their music with the community. Too bad it was 100 degrees every day!

Have a great picture to share? We are looking for photos of students performing in their community. Did you invite the neighborhood to a book recital? Or the general public to a group concert? Have you played in an assisted living facility, street fair, or mall? Submit your own picture today!

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