Ask the Experts

What is the purpose of the SAA “focus group” meeting at Institutes?

The SAA is a huge organization with about 8,000 members in North, Central, South America, and beyond. While the membership consists primarily of Suzuki teachers, it also includes parents, educators, and others who are interested in supporting music education for children. Your Board of Directors currently has twelve members, who are charged with the mandate of representing the membership and governing the organization according to Dr. Suzuki’s vision for the world’s children. The dedicated and skilled SAA staff at the head office in Boulder, Colorado, organizes and runs the many programs which work towards achieving this vision.

As you can imagine, it is a major challenge of the Board to stay connected with the membership. Teachers, parents, and students of violin, viola, cello, bass, harp, piano, flute, guitar, recorder, organ, voice, and Early Childhood all follow Dr. Suzuki’s teachings but may have different perspectives on what they need from the SAA and how they can contribute to the organization. Institute Directors, Teacher Trainers, schools, administrators, and businesses will have diverse viewpoints, as will those in rural and urban programs. To top it all off, 49 countries, many with different cultures and languages, are represented in the membership!

One of the best places to establish a membership-board connection is at a summer institute. For example, in the United States and Canada, thousands of Suzuki teachers, parents, and students gathered at 66 institutes held during the summer of 2010. The SAA “focus group” meetings run at each institute provided wonderful opportunities for discussion, particularly with Teacher Development participants taking Suzuki training for the first time who may have limited knowledge of the SAA.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of the SAA? What does being a “member” of the SAA mean? What can we offer the organization? Which SAA programs can we look forward to experiencing in the year ahead? What questions do we have about the SAA and the Suzuki Method? These and many other issues can be explored at an SAA meeting in the summer institute setting, where participants from all walks of life are enjoying an inspiring week of immersion in music and the Suzuki Method.