Imagine your favorite delicacy. It could be a particular rue recipe, a comfort food, a particular restaurant’s specialty—that taste so memorable it begs for repetition! You don’t find it everywhere. It has a niche existence, whether it be a gifted chef’s creation, Grandma’s special family recipe, or a happy accident. What makes this delicacy so special is the combination of quality ingredients—substandard ingredients just won’t do! Some popular items used to be advertised with the slogans “it’s in there,” and “the quality goes in before the name goes on,” assuring consumers that quality “ingredients” were an intentional priority.

Each one of you Suzuki educators prize quality ingredients in your pedagogic interactions. That is a part of what attracted you to “sit at the feet” of master music educators. Dr. Suzuki himself was one who always sought quality learning experiences. Though the combination of “learning ingredients” varied over time and relative to the individual student, certain basic elements remained consistent, and begged repetition: a loving, nurturing environment, models of excellent aural musical language, and ever the optimistic hopefulness in the educational relationships.

Though various philosophers and developmental psychologists have debated whether nature or nurture influences human development, current conclusions recognize both aspects make us who we are. Both our inherent abilities and the opportunities and support we access contribute to who we will become. Our pedagogic journeys, though varied and individual, reflect the legacy of seeking quality educational ingredients and experiences that nurture our natures and those of our students. What a challenging journey!

Starting a brand new year is a traditional time of reflection and resolve. What quality ingredients could be added or subtracted in our educational praxis? What quality ingredients could be added or subtracted in our organization? One addition recently voted was to develop an ad hoc committee to explore improvements in the needs and relationships of all of the ”Americas” represented by the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Inclusivity and connectivity are major aspects of plans for the growth of our organization. Where would you like to see growth in the SAA? We would love to hear from you about your dreams for the organization and how it can support you in your quest for “quality ingredients!”