Life is a journey of discovery. From our infancy, we humans are exposed to the process of discovering the various elements of our environment. The joyful discovery that we can control those marvelous appendages our parents call fingers; the amazing discovery that things we put in our mouths have sensation and taste that we can hold onto or explosively “return to sender”; that sounds can calm, excite, or irritate us by intention or accident.

In time we learn to refine our responses to discoveries and to what we choose to accept or filter out in our life journeys. We adopt or adapt methods of discerning what is valuable or useful, what is momentary or enduring. These decisions require billions of neurons to collaborate in microseconds in a four-step process within our prefrontal cortex/hippocampus neural network. Discovery is complex!

Our discoveries open us to an array of emotions, memories, fulfillment, despair, but mostly questions. When processed, discovery becomes learning, which is a key reason for this group’s existence. Our job is to enable our students to discover the patterns and processes that contribute to excellence in character as well as musicianship and skill. According to Dr. Suzuki, the primary focus is to develop a good heart. Developing exceptional musicians is a positive by-product of the journey.

In the journey of discovery that is SAA Board service, I am grateful and humbled to be working with the brilliant group of collaborative minds that comprise our current Board of Directors, along with our intrepid Executive Director, Angelica Cortez. They all are passionate participants in the Suzuki philosophy of education, and have every intention of employing that “good heart” in the development and implementation of Board initiatives. Our discovery focus is strategic planning for progress and growth. We look to highlight and enhance the “value added” features of the SAA. Our current mission is to vision-cast and develop clarity of mission as we develop a strategic plan based on data trends and analysis. We will be mindful of aspirational versus realistic goals as we plan our journey.

An overview of a few of the broad goals we will be working on as we support membership and the Executive Director include:

  • Expanding opportunities for community and networking.
  • Supporting the inclusivity of our various cultures, countries, and instrument communities, as is expressed in our mission.
  • Enhancing the viability of Suzuki training as a livelihood.

In the coming ASJ issues, we will take a deeper look at our goals as priorities are clarified and tasks identified for implementation. According to current policy and by-laws, the Board of Directors is not a representative body, but inclusivity requires input from a range of stakeholders in order to be supportive of membership needs. We welcome your feedback as part of the discussion. We all go forth this fall on the paths initially defined by Dr. Suzuki, Dr. Kataoka, and others, but there are so many more sights and sounds, patterns, paths, and relationships to discover along the way. What an exciting journey of discovery!