A job worth doing is worth doing together!

2010 Conference

The 2010 SAA Conference saw true teamwork in action! From its brainstorming stages to the on-site cooperation and collaboration amongst the entire crew, the 13th biennial conference attracted 850 teachers plus many parent, students and exhibitors to Minneapolis, May 27-31.

Kicking off Thursday’s registration night was an eclectic mix of music by the Bad Boyz of Bass. This quartet of Volkan Orhon, David Murray, Paul Sharpe, Antho the world of bass and entertained folks upon arrival with their refreshing arrangements and anecdotes. They literally “set the stage” for our theme of TEAMWORK.

Throughout the weekend we featured our own distinguished members, associates and young artists in master classes and sessions, thus celebrating the many successes of the Suzuki Method. Clinicians were seen leading solo master classes as well as team teaching at the intermediate and advanced levels. Tapping into such talents was evidence that the movement has come full circle. We are enriched by the service of long-term SAA members and inspired by the next generation of former Suzuki students who shared their expertise as performers and teachers. The Young Artists Recital was a testimonial to their Suzuki upbringing, instruction and vision of musical excellence that continues to be forefront in their lives.

Further teamwork was seen in the expansion of the chamber music component of the Conference. The Claremont Trio, consisting of Donna Kwong and former Suzuki students Emily Bruskin and Julia Bruskin, led inspiring master classes with pre-formed quartets, piano trios and quintets. These preformed groups had the additional special opportunity of performing on the Minnesota Orchestra stage as part of their pre-concert series. This year’s creation of the non-preformed chamber category allowed for six cross-instrument ensembles, representing thirty students, to participate. SAA members coached three “behind the scenes” rehearsals before these groups appeared in side-by-side chamber master classes. Numerous lectures specific to chamber program development, funding and coaching techniques were also offered to develop the chamber music area.

Greater collaboration among colleagues and instrument areas was one goal of the Tracks afternoon. This half-day format was engaging and fast paced, and the many twenty-five-minute sessions allowed the Conference to showcase the skills of many more of our members. Topics covered included group classes, working with parents, practicing, business, improvisation/alternative styles, healthy lifestyles and Suzuki philosophy. All in all, forty-three track speakers were represented, involving both new faces and old.

Reflecting on the weekend, I can honestly say that 2010 was truly a team effort! From the clinicians and coaches who graciously gave of their time, to those presenting sessions and keynotes, to students performing (in master classes, SYOA, International Ensembles, Piano Concerto, Flute Performing Ensemble, Bass Choir), to the SAA Board in action, to volunteers, to sponsors and exhibitors, to audience members, the list goes on. A huge percentage of the weekend’s success was due to the wonderful work of the 2010 Conference Team, who worked effortlessly towards a common goal, continually fostering a spirit of teamwork. I thank each and every one of the team for helping make 2010 a reality! Finally, a heartfelt thank you to Executive Director Pam Brasch, Assistant Conference Coordinator Debbie Moench, Board Chair Teri Einfeldt and the full SAA office staff for their constant and skillful guidance throughout the process. As stated in the program booklet, “a job worth doing is worth doing together!” That would be true of “Team Suzuki” and the 2010 Conference. Thank you all for your contribution and attendance in Minneapolis.