It’s been a long time coming. I hadn’t even considered the possibility that I might be one until relatively recently.

And to actually take on the role and don the mantel, to embrace the responsibility was like diving into the ocean—breathtaking and frightening at first, but finally invigorating and refreshing. A leader was emerging.

I wasn’t drawn to leadership. In fact, I spent most of my elementary years observing, only participating when called upon to do so. Perhaps it stems from growing up in a large family of mostly older siblings. I loved school, though, and thrived in an environment where I was constantly challenged to learn new things. Shortly before high school graduation, I inadvertently stumbled upon a college recommendation letter that my principal had written for me, one which I was not supposed to see. I did not resist the temptation to read it. He spoke highly of me except to say that I did not exhibit leadership capabilities. The slight stung at first, but over time, I reconciled myself to my perceived lot in life as the perennial support person. It was a comfortable place, and I relished the ease of it.

So what changed? I wish I could say it was some underlying desire that welled up from the depths of my soul to drive me to pursue an unsated passion. It wasn’t. Nor was it a life-changing epiphany. It was, rather, an idea to which I warmed over time, with the patient urging of my friends and colleagues. I’m always amazed that those close to me seem to have better insights about my character and capabilities than I do. They can’t see the ghosts of principals past that languish in the crevices of my mind to foster doubt and stifle initiative. The encouragement allowed other ideas to bolster my confidence. For example, if I truly believe that every child can . . . (and I do believe this with every fiber of my being), doesn’t it stand to reason that every adult can, too?

Upon my election to the SAA Board, as a neophyte to the world of leadership, I decided that the best way to develop leadership skills might be to read about them. And so I set about, in my methodical and inimitable academia- trained style, to research, to mine the secrets of the masters, to embrace the role with an open mind and heart. I read volumes on Carver Governance, which is the type of policy governance that guides the SAA Board. I read about what motivates people to lead, what characteristics make a good leader, and the difference between leadership and management. I discovered that I had never discerned a real difference between leadership and management—since I have never savored the idea of being managed (to which my husband will readily attest), it has never been a goal of mine to manage others (although my husband might argue that point). But I’ve learned that leadership is something different. A thriving organization like the SAA is full of leaders, people who share a common interest, people who communicate, people who make things happen. I’m one of them. Even I can . . . .

The SAA Leadership Retreat brought together a lot of people who recognize themselves as leaders in many different capacities: teachers, parents, board members, institute directors, program directors, teacher trainers, and next year’s conference coordinators. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend all of the sessions offered by Doug Lipman, a storyteller and creator of Story Dynamics. Since the retreat theme was communication, Doug was enlisted to help us learn how to use storytelling as a means of communicating the Suzuki philosophy. I must admit to being a hard sell, what with my predilection for lists, outlines, and bullet points. It is not in my left-brain dominated nature to relate memories and events in the narrative or soliloquy. Nonetheless, he won me over. And thus, you’ve just read my very first attempt to express myself using both sides of my brain.

In the last few years, my doubts and fears about leadership have been replaced by a new sense of bravery. It’s because I have a worthwhile mission that I share with people that I care about. I don’t lead because it’s good for me; I do it because it’s good for us. Together we are a powerful community. Let the SAA know how you will make a difference. Yes, you can, too.

Sue Baer

Retreat Overview

Memorial Day weekend always signals the beginning of Suzuki Institute season. It also provokes excitement for many Suzuki teachers as they prepare to attend either the SAA’s Biennial Conference or the Leadership Retreat, which alternate years during this holiday weekend.

Traveling to the American Airlines Training and Conference Center in May 2011 for the Leadership Retreat, I became aware of the fact that summer means the same to me as it does to most children, especially to those who look forward to returning to summer camp and meeting up with the friends they only see once or twice a year. In addition, having the inside track, I knew that there were amazing sessions in store for all of us that would directly relate to our local programs and daily interactions with our students and parents.

The retreat started early afternoon on Wednesday, with facilitation training for teacher trainers who had previously taken the Suzuki Principles in Action course and who felt the time was right to become more familiar with the newest addition to our teacher development program. On Thursday morning, SAA teacher trainers met as a group to talk about key issues and renew their understanding of the guidelines for SAA training in general. Work began to improve upon the syllabi for several of the instrument areas, and it will be continued in the coming year.

Just before dinner on Thursday evening, thoughtful and inspiring mini-keynotes were given by Nancy Lokken, Pat D’Ercole, Sally Gross, Joanne Melvin, Christie Felsing, Rob Richardson and myself. The presentations highlighted what each individual had learned though involvement in various SAA leadership positions. It was amazing to hear the many different ways in which each person was affected by their experiences, as well as how the implementation of the knowledge had been applied to different situations.

Our two major keynote speakers were Jeffrey Cufaude and Doug Lipman. Jeffrey introduced us to the many aspects of facilitation and other leadership skills. Doug Lipman shared ways to tell stories. These techniques can be applied to making communicating about the Suzuki method concise and compelling!

The violin world kicked off their initial meeting on Friday with Daphne Hughes , Gail Johanson, and Nancy Jackson sharing their thoughts and ideas on some of the revised repertory in Books Two-Five. Daphne talked about Musette and the Bach Gavotte in D major (Book Three), Gail reviewed the Bohm Perpetual Motion, and Nancy shared her thoughts about the Veracini Gigue. Approximately eighty minutes were given to this topic, and everyone agreed much more time could have been spent asking questions and listening to more commentary on each piece.

On Saturday, Carol Smith shared some wonderful ideas that she learned from John Kendall, Lucy Shaw spoke on expecting artistry from the start, and Judy Offman discussed the similarities between her home private studio and her Suzuki in the schools program. Judy emphasized that she does not lower her standards or expectations of excellence from one program to the other.

Ronda Cole and Teri Einfeldt wrapped up the violin session with tips for helping our younger students understand intricate technical and musical concepts by sharing images, word pictures, and games to expand the child’s imagination and give them reference points within their own worlds.

Every moment of the day brought opportunities:

  • Sessions were offered for cello, flute, piano, guitar, Early Childhood Education, and Suzuki in the Schools teachers, plus Institute Directors, 2012 Conference Team and Canadian teachers. Additional topics addressed included Latin American, SAA chapters, and university-based unit training.
  • Fourteen teachers presented Mini-Presentations on “Great Ideas for Your Studio.”
  • Board member Dan Browning presented a session on discovering gifts and talents and a session based on research in psychology, sociology and technology titled “Authentic Relationships in a Virtual World.”
  • Dan Browning, Andrea Yun and Sarah Montzka endeavored to enlighten us giving about how computers and other technologies can help us in our professional lives. Staff webmaster Jenny Ferenc brought Trainers and Institute Directors up to date on using the SAA website.
  • Judy Bossuat gave a heartfelt talk about Dr. Suzuki with wonderful stories that will continue to keep his legend alive.
  • Sue Baer spoke about recent research and how Dr. Suzuki’s writings and ideas are being supported by this research.
  • Beth Cantrell and Christie Felsing spoke passionately about the SAA’s Code of Ethics and social media—“Setting Our Compasses for a Cyberspace World.”
  • Carey Beth Hockett shared some wonderful group idea tips in two short, interactive sessions titled “Crowd Control Strategies.”
  • The Board was able to brag about our organization’s accomplishments during the Annual General Meeting.
  • Let’s not forget an incredibly competitive and energy-filled Saturday evening when teams participated in SAA’s own version of the NPR game “Wait Wait… Don’t tell me!”

One of the highlights of the weekend was an evening session titled “Future Speak: Sustainability through Nurturing Leadership.” With lights turned low and the group seated quietly in a circle, striking commentary was quietly and thoughtfully read. The comments were responses to questions about how well we (the SAA) are supporting the development of future leaders, as gathered from an online survey of a group of actively involved members. The insights gained were moving and enlightening in areas such as members’ perceptions of what it means to be inclusive.

What would a Suzuki gathering be without performances? At an after dinner event on Friday evening, the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District from the Dallas/Fort Worth area showcased their Elementary Honor Orchestra, directed by Vincent Pugh. It was followed by a heartfelt talk by Superintendent Dr. Gene Buinger with questions and answers hosted by SAA Board member and HEB instructor Patricia Purcell.

On Saturday evening, we were treated to a performance by “Murmur,” an advanced performing ensemble from the Suzuki Institute of Dallas, Nicolette Solomon director. The Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia for Violin and Viola and the first movement of the Mendelssohn Octet were some of the best desserts served all weekend!

A Weekend of Rich Ideas for Cello

The cellists certainly got their cup filled with new ideas for their studios. Our cello presentations were thoroughly prepared and very thought provoking. Thank you to all the cello presenters for their interest in their topics, their preparation, and the energy in their presentations. I would also like to thank my colleague Marilyn Kesler for her creativity in suggesting these sessions. Young Musicians graciously loaned us three cellos for our use in the cello sessions; these were very appreciated by all of us.

In addition to the core sessions listed below, Marilyn George shared some of the advanced planning for the conference in Minneapolis next May, and the cello trainers were also able to discuss some items such as the current status of the revised Cello Unit 1 Resource Packet and the topic of group class teaching in our training courses.

Beth Cantrell, Carol Ourada and Carol Tarr presented a wonderful session on “The G Major Suite: Placement, Purpose and Plan.” The only movement of the Suite that is published in the Suzuki Volumes is the Minuet in Book Four. The rest of the movements are taught when the students are ready. A survey they took of the cellists at the Retreat showed that Suzuki teachers teach the other movements in Books Five-Eight, with most of us teaching the Allemande last. Beth Cantrell spoke on the issue of bowings and how she discusses the harmony with the students. Carol Ourada shared a lovely descant melody that a colleague composed as a duet with the Prelude. Finally, Carol Tarr showed a book she compiled that is given to each student: it includes the fingerings and bowings she uses, the Anna Magdalena facsimile, harmonic analysis, and historical background on the suites.

Carey Cheney gave a detailed presentation titled, “When History Matters, and When it is Just Plain Fascinating: A Discussion of Period Sources and their Relevance to Teaching Bach Suite Movements to Pre-College Cellists.” This included some of her research for her newly completed DMA. Carey briefly discussed eighteenth century harmony and use of ornamentation. She shared fascinating bits of information on the Baroque instrument that the suites were composed for and brought her Baroque bow; she also restrung a cello with gut strings for us to try playing a few notes. She discussed the facsimiles available to us as well as some interesting editions. She presented an incredible amount of well-researched information in her fifty-minute session.

We received many supplementary repertoire ideas in three different sessions. Although the Suzuki repertoire was created to stand alone, a situation may occasionally arise that demands linear movement in repertoire.

Carey Beth Hockett did a fun session titled “Carey’s Top of the Pops,” supplementary repertoire for the Book Two and Three student, ages eight to teenager. She is always on the lookout for new pieces that excite the students and has recently focused on publications that include CDs containing either performances of the materials or backing tracks or both. Carey chose a dozen of her favorites and brought the CDs for a few of us to play along with.

Grace Field, Beth Goldstein-McKee and Andrea Yun shared some of their supplementary ideas for students Books Four-Six. They provided a list of some of the tried-and-true standard repertoire pieces such as Romberg, Goltermann, Klengal, Breval and Marcello. Then they presented a dozen of their studio favorites, including works by Rebecca Clarke, Hindemith and Elizabeth Start, a former student of Grace Field.

Lastly, Diana Nuttall, Susan Gagnon, Gilda Barston and Carey Cheney presented a Books Seven-Nine supplementary list. They had numerous recordings of some of the pieces and supplied a very thorough list of their personal choices and explained why they liked using them.

I was very grateful to have a new/amended list of supplemental repertoire. My old tried and true favorites have become a bit worn and were in need of repair. Thanks for all these ideas, and my local music store thanks you for all the business I will be giving them.

Sally Gross

New Paths for Suzuki Piano

The Leadership Retreat held in the years between SAA biennial conferences presents a singular environment for Suzuki teachers in the Americas. While any Suzuki teacher may attend this retreat, the number who attends is smaller than for the conference. In planning the piano program for the Retreat in general, the intent was that all of the teachers registered would participate in some visible way: i.e., each of us would speak in front of the others, so we could continue what we do well: communicate!

One particular pianist who registered was incoming SAA Board Chair, Dr. Mark George. This is not the first time we have had a pianist as chair (Dorothy Jones from London, ON, was Chair in the late 80s), but it is the first time our chair is a pianist in the music world outside Suzuki. Mark’s “day job” is CEO of the Music Institute of Chicago. The title of his session,“What is a Suzuki Teacher? Let’s Talk!” succeeded in getting every pianist registered to come to hear his thoughts on Suzuki piano. The audience very much appreciated his perspective on the distinctive values of Suzuki piano. In his opinion Suzuki piano teachers have influenced the world by teaching their students in a nurturing environment where parents are part of the process. Mark also recognized how well Suzuki teachers are trained to break tasks down to make it possible for every child to learn to the play the piano. In addition, one of our strengths is our belief in the value of group learning. Suzuki pianists can thrive when playing with others and hearing each other perform in group classes, ensembles, or multiple piano concerts, for example.

Suzuki pianists, now enjoying the new repertoire books, are happy to have opportunities to learn more about the teaching challenges of the new pieces. For the retreat, one new piece from each book was selected, and teachers were invited to present some ideas and teaching experiences with these pieces. Here also was an opportunity to meet and listen to teachers who have not presented before at conferences or retreats: Malgosia Lis and Gail Gebhart. Thanks, Malgosia and Gail. In addition, thanks go to Rita Hauck, Diana Galindo, Mary Craig Powell, and Ellen Berry for their insights into some of the new pieces in the later books.

Unlike the string players, who often organize a session where each teacher gets out his/her instrument and plays, pianists are less likely to actually play the piano for each other at a conference. For this retreat, however, Joan Krzywicki organized four teachers to discuss and perform Twinkles A and B. This session was an eye-opener! It was fascinating to hear the sometimes differing concepts of the value and the execution of each variation. The consensus was definitely to repeat this session at the conference next year. This year’s presenters were Cathy Hargrave, and Rita Hauck on Twinkle A, and Caroline Fraser and Ellen Berry on Twinkle B.

The retreat affords opportunities for specialized groups to have a “project,” as was the case at our recent event in Dallas/Fort Worth. Among the twenty pianists who attended the retreat, the majority were SAA Teacher Trainers who did have a particular project in mind: to revise the Suzuki Piano Syllabus. Pianists were inspired by recent documents prepared by the guitarists and the cellists. As registrations for the retreat arrived in the SAA office from Piano Teacher Trainers, invitations were sent out to a pair of trainers to do some advance thinking, planning and writing of a proposed syllabus for one unit of the Suzuki Piano School. This duo was asked to communicate with each other before the retreat: those doing Unit One were to communicate with those doing Unit Two, and so forth.

SAA would like to thank those trainers who happily put their ideas together, so that in seven and a half hours, a fledgling document was inscribed into various laptops and notepads. Unit One was researched by Doris Koppelman and Caroline Fraser, Unit Two by Cathy Hargrave and Rita Hauck; Unit Three by Joan Krzywicki and our newest Piano Trainer, Nightingale Chen; Unit Four by Anne Bowman and Sue Kwak; Unit Five by Carol Cross and Gail Lange; Unit Six by Mary Craig Powell and Leena Crothers; Unit Seven by Diana Galindo and Doris Harrel. Piano Trainers should expect to receive a copy of the new Suzuki Piano Syllabus very soon.

Other events were very worthwhile, as well. In particular, Jeffrey Cufaude, who had been a keynote speaker at the retreat in Monterey, California, in 2005, was back to present sessions on the “Art of Facilitation” and “Effective Leadership.”

Ultimately, the value of attending retreats and conferences is to stimulate the participant to reflect on his job and, yes, on his life, in order to take a step forward. It is so necessary to get out of the day-to-day routine so teachers can look objectively at what they are doing and what is being accomplished. Of course, what is needed is a few days off to digest all the information and hand-outs accumulated during the retreat! The synergy amongst Suzuki teachers in a common space is so very stimulating. Do plan on attending the conference in Minneapolis in 2012 and the next retreat in 2013.

Gail Lange

Guitar Brainstorming in Fort Worth

The guitarists used breakout session time during the 2011 Leadership Retreat to brainstorm ideas to help Suzuki Guitar grow.

The 2012 Conference theme is “40 and Forward,” so we began to think of this as a time for expanding outward. It would be great to find more ways of connecting with the greater guitar world. The world of classical guitar is insular, and Suzuki Guitar is even smaller. Ideas we thought of were continued Guitar Foundation of America presence, participation in our local guitar societies, having our students perform in master classes, and putting on programs at libraries for outreach. We also thought about ways we can show the results in the students. Famous people saying good things about Suzuki help and are great, and maybe we can make use of technology to promote the idea of teaching guitar at a high level. Teaching the guitar is an opportunity, and the results of our teaching are what speaks the most. We all need to be involved in this to help.

We also talked about concrete ways to bring people in to participate more. We thought of the conference, the Suzuki Guitar Listserve, writing more guitar specific articles for the Journal, and simply talking to teachers we know and personally inviting trainees to Suzuki events. To increase guitar attendance at the upcoming conference in May, we had the idea of creating a list of inexpensive places to eat and how to save money. We might include advice on how to handle make-ups that weekend and point out that Memorial Day weekend lesson attendance is low. We would like to encourage teachers to refresh themselves and do some good financial planning for conferences: to budget their professional training. We thought we could put out notices through the SAA in the fall with a new “Guitar E-News,” to be sent in September, early January and March.

Expanding the involvement of parents was another topic we explored. It would be great to organize ideas on how to have an early childhood program. For our advanced students, we can present the idea that the rigors of any guitar program are training for the busy schedules in high school and college. We could use the internet for outreach and let our students be seen and heard. PPO was used at group class/parent night, and Michele Horner’s Maniac CD presentation was really valuable. We noted that PPO was best when teachers led the selections by sending the link with a note on the specific value each presentation would provide. Another idea we had was to have teachers from North and South America write about how they get parents involved by coming to the lessons, as this is one of the most challenging aspects for new teachers.

We talked about getting more teachers involved in continuing their training beyond Book One. One consideration was playing level: we noticed that those who were less skilled as players were unlikely to continue. We would like to find ways to connect with highly trained performers who want to complement their careers with excellent teaching. We thought about the fact that completely understanding the method takes time, to be totally convinced of the value. Being supported by an organization also helps teachers return for more training. Trainees need to know more about what is taught in the later courses, and we need to present the idea that teaching is an art that takes time, energy, creativity and commitment in addition to knowledge, skill and observation.

Areas that are most challenging for new Suzuki teachers are Group Class and Parent Training. It really helps to be asked to lead a group class during training. Teacher Training is a chance to watch the art of teaching. Outside of teacher training, how much teaching has been watched besides our own lessons? We all felt we learned much more from teacher training than watching other major guitar events. Many teachers have said they learned much about their own playing during teacher training, so we need to communicate that in some way. We thought of teacher training as management for the art of teaching and continually improving our own technique and sound.

It was really important to meet face to face, outside of our everyday environment, where we could focus on our future together. We are glad the SAA offered us this opportunity!

-MaryLou Roberts

Suzuki in the Schools

There were three sessions at the 2011 Leadership Retreat for Suzuki in the Schools—that is, for those who are teaching in or those interested in teaching within the public or private school framework. There is a great deal of diversity among the types of school-based programs that implement the Suzuki philosophy, method, and/or repertoire. Session attendees included those who are currently teaching in a private or parochial school and are paid by the parents directly, those who teach in an elementary program (kindergarten through sixth grade) where they are employed by the district and the parent, child, and teacher are present at each lesson, and those who teach late elementary or middle school classes where instruction includes all the string instruments, in an orchestra-type of setting, with no parent in attendance. Also attending the sessions were those whose past teaching includes public school experience, those who are from communities where parents recognized the benefits of a Suzuki program and encouraged their local school districts to consider it, and others who were curious about or interested in what “Suzuki in the Schools” means and how to get help starting a program. There is growing interest, and there are many approaches. Those attending the retreat discussed the importance of Unit Training and the positive impact of online courses such Parents as Partners Online.

A highlight of the retreat was a performance by the Elementary Honor Orchestra of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. Most of the students in the orchestra started in the HEBISD Suzuki Program. Following the performance, Dr. Gene Buinger, superintendent of the school district, spoke to retreat participants about his decision to start a Suzuki program as part of the elementary curriculum.

All participants found the discussions engaging and are looking forward to participating in or attending the sessions at the 2012 SAA Conference.

Patricia Purcell

Chapter Report

Through the weekend, there were several opportunities for SAA Chapter Affiliate representatives to get to gather and discuss ideas and issues. On Sunday morning, we heard from a panel of members organized by Lucy Shaw regarding the importance of community-building in support of local Suzuki teachers and families. Panel members included Jenny Burton, Shana Guidi, Charles Krigbaum, Judy Offman, Patty Purcell, Rob Richardson, Jr., and Ian Salmon. The title of the session was “Invest in Your Community, Invest in Your Future.”

Members of the panel described their experiences with their local Suzuki community. Included in each perspective were the benefits and the inevitable difficulties that come with organizing. Judy Offman described the changes that have occurred over a twenty-year period within the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association (HASSA). Rob Richardson Jr. talked about the incredible challenges and the amazing success experienced as a result of organizing events across the vast expanse of Canada. Shana Guidi identified the issues faced by SAA members of Central Texas, an informal organization applying for Chapter Affiliate status. Charles Krigbaum, current treasurer of North Texas Suzuki Association (NTSA), shared his and Amy Tomlinson’s advice on the importance of seeking professional help with accounting practices and financial reporting. Ian Salmon reported on ways to communicate effectively with members, using technology and social networking. Jenny Burton and Patty Purcell described the process and proposed timeline, as well as the benefits, in becoming a Chapter Affiliate of the SAA. Other takeaways from the panel included:

  • Vision and a stated purpose are the bedrock for any successful organization.
  • Expect difficulties as part of the process.
  • Success comes with continued commitment.
  • The SAA office offers support at all levels of organization.

Patricia Purcell

Coordinators plan for the 2012 SAA Conference—40 and Forward!

Great numbers of you will be participants at the fortieth anniversary SAA Conference in Minneapolis. Here’s what has been happening behind the scenes. Coordinators set their coordinates for the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport May 26—29, 2011. The embryo of a memorable experience for all Suzuki teachers was formed. With your involvement, it will become a sentinel event in your careers.

So, what’s a coordinator?

Someone who brings the different elements of a complex activity or organization into a relationship that will ensure efficiency or harmony. (Awesome! This could be a high pressure job!)

What does a coordinator do?

The biennial SAA conferences are created by instrument and area coordinators, overseen by a general coordinator under the direction of the executive director. Each coordinator has an assistant who will become the coordinator for the following conference. For 2012, this staff totals thirty-four coordinators and assistant coordinators. (Add to those a multitude of volunteers and presenters for a fabulous fortieth, celebrating excellence of the past, present, and future!)

Why meet at the Leadership Retreat?

I’m a violin teacher. My training is hearing, feeling, seeing, observing, caring, listening. I revel in the vibration of strings, bow hair and wood. I teach vibrant students, not statues! I like bringing little black notes to life, making tunes, breath and wind, heartbeats and pulse! I like possibilities and changing up the melody. (Nothing has to be set in stone!)

On the other hand, I’m not a computer whiz! Every time I send an email there is a bit of panic… Oh no! It’s time to press the “set-in-stone key!” What have I forgotten? Who have I forgotten? Is my language too cold? Too vague? Too demanding? Too boring? Too flippant? Too nothing? The flexibility and “bend” is missing, unless I know the person I’m sending to! Then, the messages in stone turn into messages on a water balloon, full of flex and give. For me to lead, I need to personally know who I am working with and leading. The tone of voice, facial expressions, and quick thought of my colleagues all contribute to the engagement of people in real time, working together to birth a conference. Email addresses become people. That’s why we retreat.

The SAA Leadership Retreat gave us a chunk of time to make the music of organization together. We had space to get to know each other, to brainstorm, to work, to plan, to accept and reject ideas, to make and prioritize conference goals, and to network.

Guitar Coordinator MaryLou Roberts wrote, “I thought it was great to be together. It was easier to think of ideas and to be inspired by other people’s ideas, which in turn, generated better ideas!”

We started sharing ideas at 7:30 a.m. and continued until 10 p.m. The theme was “Creating the Future Together,” and that’s what it felt like! The dynamic Jeffrey Cufaude coached us in the “Art of Facilitation.” A renowned storyteller, Doug Lipman, taught us “how to tell our own story.” We looked at effective leadership techniques and discussed how to design conferences that promote a sense of community and accelerate learning. Hooray for technology sessions presented by the techn-savvy generation! We witnessed a brilliant performance from Patty Purcell’s public school project, the HEB ISD Elementary Honor Orchestra. Our coordinator group met for four hours, getting to know each other and talking shop. From practical instrument meetings to amazing five- to ten-minute presentations to a plethora of pedagogical and philosophical ideas, we joined together in a unified group, working to develop the enlightened leadership that is necessary for our organization.

Cello Coordinator Marilyn George reflected:

“The Leadership Retreat was very helpful. During the 2012 Conference Coordinator meetings, important information was distributed, followed by good brainstorming. Suggestions were given and discussed that would benefit the conference. Jeffrey Cufaude’s presentation on the “Art of Facilitation” made me feel part of a team and that as individuals and collectively, we can create a motivating conference. I liked getting to know the other coordinators! As cello coordinator, I was able to meet with the cellists and collate helpful input for selecting the cello clinician. The retreat also gave me an opportunity to pass out “The 2012 Wish List of Cello Sessions” generated from the 2010 conference cello attendees. I was grateful for the Leadership Retreat. Thank you!”

We owe a special thanks to Pam Brasch and the 120 volunteers who presented and worked to make this Leadership Retreat a remarkable and memorable experience! By your enthusiastic attendance, help us make the 2012 Conference equally so.

-Debbie Moench, SAA 2012 Conference Coordinator