Summer is often a time when we take a break from our usual routines and engage in activities that refresh our Suzuki spirit.

Attending a Suzuki Institute is one way to do that. Whether we attend as a teacher, a workshop participant, a parent, or a student, an Institute stimulates us and reminds us why we are so deeply attached to the philosophy of Dr. Suzuki. These events change us to some extent. Perhaps we observe someone’s teaching and gain new insights for how to work with students on a particular skill. Perhaps we bond with other teachers and/or parents in a way that makes us ever more dedicated to our Suzuki community. It is very likely that we will return home with noble hearts filled with love.

While teaching a Suzuki Piano Book One course this summer at the Virginia Suzuki Institute, I spent time every evening reading through observation notes that the class participants submitted to me that day. During the course, we had discussed the Suzuki philosophy at length, and we had reviewed several of the anecdotes in the books Nurtured by Love and Ability Development from Age Zero by Dr. Suzuki. One cannot read those books without pondering the concept of love. Dr. Suzuki wrote about his love of Mozart, his love of Tolstoy, and his love of children. Poring over the written observations, I was very moved to read the following statement from one of the participants:

If I keep looking at a little child’s attempts at beautiful music like those of one learning to speak, I find my heart actually feeling a little of the love that Dr. Suzuki so much tried to communicate.

Since returning home, I frequently revisit this statement in my mind. I have realized that each time I am working with a student and helping him or her make music, I am really trying to help that student learn to communicate various emotions, including love, with the language of music. Even very young children can experience the joy of making someone else happy with music. Music can heal, it can comfort, it can excite us, and it can connect us to all of humanity, past and present.

As your new Chair of the SAA Board of Directors, I challenge all of you to spend time yourselves contemplating not just the “how” of Suzuki teaching but the “why” as well. And then please ponder the importance of bringing our Suzuki education to all of the children of the world. Dr. Suzuki himself worked toward this goal every day of his life. Take time to ask yourselves what you can do to support this long-term vision, starting with each community in the Americas. Please stay connected to the SAA and to your local chapters. Please encourage others in your communities to join us or renew their memberships. We all need to be involved in dialogue with others, expressing our opinions and our ideas. We need to be prepared to explain and promote our beautiful philosophy to others. And realizing that our annual dues do not cover the costs of making these dreams come true, please make a personal pledge to support the SAA in whatever amount you can.

Be assured that every one of you is important in carrying out our SAA goals. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the next two years. I welcome hearing about your own visions and thoughts. Let us join together with much hope for the future of the children of the Americas—and perhaps the world.