View Online
Translate: Español / Français / Português
Short Score - Your Key to the Suzuki Community
Newsletter September 2021FacebookTwitter
SAA Logo—First Image

The Board is pleased to announce Laura Yasuda as Interim Acting Director. Ms. Yasuda will serve in this role until approximately November 2021, when the Board anticipates the SAA’s next long-term Executive Director will be seated.

Ms. Yasuda has been a member of the SAA staff for seven years. She has a keen understanding of the many aspects of running the organization and also offers insight into how management can continue to be improved to serve membership. Ms. Yasuda’s service will be an asset to the SAA this fall.

August 31 marked the last day of Pam Brasch’s term as Executive Director. The Board is deeply grateful to Ms. Brasch for her decades of commitment and service to the SAA and recognizes the incredible growth of the organization she has overseen during her tenure. Thank you, Pam!


In order to address Teacher Development Program needs until the new SAA Executive Director is appointed, Interim Acting Director Laura Yasuda will work closely with Teacher Development consultant Christie Felsing and the Board of Directors’ Teacher Trainers (MaryLou Roberts, Edmund Sprunger, and Mary Halverson Waldo). Our goal is to facilitate the ongoing work of all teachers, Teacher Trainers, and Institute Directors. To this end, during the interim period, we aim to provide continuity with past guidelines so that those who wish to apply for Teacher Trainer or the Certificate of Achievement may continue their professional trajectories, and Teacher Trainers and Institute Directors can proceed with planning. This team will be available to respond to any issues that arise, in order for the work of the SAA and its members to proceed in a positive manner.

Teacher Trainers and Institute Directors were sent an email update on September 24 with links to documents for planning purposes. Questions related to teacher training may be sent to: and institute-specific questions may be addressed to

We realize coverage of Teacher Development offerings is crucial during this transition period and we aim to meet the needs of the association.


Laura Yasuda, Christie Felsing, Edmund Sprunger, MaryLou Roberts, and Mary Halverson Waldo

American Suzuki Journal 49.4

ASJ Issue 49#4

The next deadline for submitting to the ASJ is November 1.

We value submissions from any members of our Suzuki community — even, and especially, if you’re “not a writer.” We hope to increase representation in our pages from authors who are diverse in terms of instrumentation, geography, race, ethnicity, gender, ability, age, and more.

Manuscript guidelines can be found here: Please email questions to


The September issue of The Strad is a “Suzuki Special” dedicated to our method, with articles by SAA members. Support The Strad and your colleagues by reading on:


Carol Sykes

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of three Suzuki community members.

Suzuki violin and teacher trainer Carol Sykes passed away after a momentous career serving the community in Massachusetts and beyond. The SAA is awaiting further information about her passing and will keep the community informed once we receive her obituary.

Margaret Peggy Swingle

Suzuki piano teacher Margaret “Peggy” (Dvonch) Swingle passed away after a 40-year career that took her to Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and across the globe. Her obituary can be found here:

Kathy Gene Shelhart

Multi-instrumentalist Kathy Gene Shelhart passed away after 40 years as a music educator. She studied under Dr. Suzuki and her musical adventures took her around the world. Her obituary can be found here:

Approved Institutes and Workshops

A group of 26 institute directors gathered virtually on Sept 11th to reconnect after summer institutes. This was a gathering of friendly colleagues with a strong sense of community, checking in with each other to share wins and disappointments from the summer institute season and to look ahead. 

One common thread was that online teacher training was very well-attended, while student enrollment was generally low this year. Many directors shared what they had implemented to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at their institutes. 

Institute directors agreed that it would be important to discuss teacher training and DEIA in greater depth, so meet-ups in October and November are scheduled to devote more time to these topics. 

We are looking forward to continuing collaboration and communication among institute directors.

Special thanks to Christy Paxton for her many hours of devoted service to institute directors and best wishes to her as she moves on from the Institute Leadership Team to new endeavors! 

Zoom Call Photo—International Suzuki Festival of Ecuador

The International Suzuki Festival of Ecuador celebrated its ninth annual edition this year, online. This festival was particularly special and historic as the Teaching Strategies course for mixed instruments took place, coordinated by Teacher Trainer Caroline Fraser (Scotland). Below, read the testimony of one participant:

“I found the Teaching Strategies course with Caroline Fraser charming and very enriching. In general, when having training on the different units (in my case, guitar) we focus on technique, relaxation, which exercises to do with students to fulfill a certain characteristic of the work, etc. All of this is very relevant to our training as Suzuki teachers, but this time I had the opportunity to see the work of various teachers in their classrooms: flute, recorder, piano, and saxophone, each with its own unique characteristics and beauty. Each teacher implemented different tools for a goal that we all share, which is that students love the music they play. I was delighted to see the work of all my classmates; I’ve taken ideas and games from all of them that I can use in my classes, and Caroline’s guidance is always something that I value very much. Thanks to her advice about my class, I have goals to improve and know what I should focus my attention on. There is something in Caroline’s courses that rekindles in me the commitment that is to be a Suzuki teacher, to improve for my students and to grow as a musician to be an example for them. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of this course and highly recommend the experience for other teachers.”

—Tomás Álvaro (Ecuador, Guitar)


Private Music Lessons in the Time of Covid

by Merry Bing Pruitt

Asian Boy Playing Guitar

A group of Suzuki piano friends met informally via Zoom on Aug. 8, 2021 to discuss how to offer lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attending were Julie Chen-Glaser, Merry Bing Pruitt, Melissa Sengstack Robol, and Allan Roth. Additional input comes from Judy Mains Scurci. We realize that everybody’s situation is unique, and vaccine availability and COVID-19 case numbers are regional. Therefore, we wanted to share notes from our discussion as options, rather than passing judgment. We hope they will be helpful to other teachers navigating pandemic teaching.

Some variables include but are not limited to: 

Age and health of teacher, teacher’s family, student, student’s family. None of us want to get sick or be the cause of sickness in anyone else–this was true even with colds and flu, how much more serious now. Better an abundance of caution than an abundance of regret. Health is a precious commodity.  

Size and type of space where lessons are given: Is social distancing possible? Can you leave 5-15 minutes between families so they don’t run into each other and you have time to wipe down surfaces, and/or can you direct students out a different route? How about outdoors or on a porch or gazebo (dream on) in good weather? Would it be better to have the lesson at the studio, or at the student’s residence?

Equipment: Perhaps a digital keyboard makes lessons and/or recitals more possible. More and more Suzuki teachers have become accepting of this, depending on the situation.

Parental proficiency and availability: How is the parent doing with follow-through on practice? Is transportation going to be a problem if we return to in-person teaching? How about sibling care?

Frequency of lessons: Maybe you could have one in-person lesson per month and the rest online or via FaceTime?

Masks: Willingness and/or ability of people to wear masks, and wear them properly (nose & mouth covered).

Vaccination status: It’s important to know whether people are fully vaccinated or tested regularly.

Length of time since last vaccination/booster: People have been known to contract COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated.

Teacher’s economic situation: Can your finances withstand the possibility of losing students due to them rejecting your policy on lessons/masks?

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke! If everybody is happy the way things are now, maybe there is no need to change the way you give lessons.

Weighing risks: The vaccine is free. Contracting COVID-19 can be very expensive in terms of money and health.


Woodland Musicians at the Village Stroll

Woodland Musicians at the Village Stroll

Submitted by: Bekka Eowind

We performed a few sets of violin music as Wilmington, VT locals and tourists gathered to celebrate summertime on Main Street. Chapman Antiques hosted us on their wide porch so we could stay out of the intermittent rain drops. Our repertoire included some Suzuki favorites such as “Unicorn, unicorn” Twinkle variation and Rameau Gavotte, a few more advanced pieces such as Jenkinson’s “Elves’ Dance”, some fun fiddle tunes including the “Wizard’s Walk” by Jay Ungar, and a popular movie theme arranged by one of the student performers! We were grateful for the opportunity to play together in person, and to share our music with the public. The students received so many compliments afterwards!

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!

Translate: Español / Français / Português

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.

You received this message because you are a member or supporter of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Update email preferences or Unsubscribe here

Suzuki Association of the Americas
PO Box 17310, Boulder CO 80308