It is my great honor to present Frank Longay with the SAA Creating Community Learning Award for his accomplishments in developing the Longay Conservatory of Guitar. I first met Frank in the summer of 1991 when I took Suzuki Book One training at the Guitar Summer Workshop in New Milford, Connecticut. It was his teaching that inspired me to pursue Suzuki pedagogy.
The Conservatory is located in Santa Clara, CA. Frank began his program in 1983 with a private studio in rented space, and since then, it has evolved into one of the nation’s premier Suzuki programs, with 125 students and their families enrolled. Frank and his staff; teachers Grady Sloan, Scott Gossage, John Kline, and administrator Kim Buller work together to create, in the words of Dr. Suzuki, the “superior environment that has the greatest effect in creating superior abilities.”
Frank has always taught that decisions made in one’s teaching studio should always answer the question, “What is best for the child?” His Conservatory exemplifies that approach.
I had the pleasure of observing Frank’s school on two separate occasions, prior to its move to the new location. It is a model program, in which Frank has given great thought to each detail; from the quality of the teaching staff, to the layout of the studios, recital hall, written program materials, down to the software, which keeps track of everything. Just one example of this is the way Frank’s software will assign a recital date to all students at the beginning of the year with one click of the mouse, and another click will automatically create the recital programs.
Anyone who has trained with Frank has heard that Suzuki teachers need to respect themselves as professionals and provide the highest caliber teaching for their students, including the best possible environment at the studio and at home. Frank has modeled the belief that when standards are high and upheld, anything is possible.
Last year he purchased a building and remodeled it to perfectly fit the needs of his students, their families and his staff. Anyone who spent time with him during the planning and building stages was shown pictures, and floor plans, much in the same way a proud parent shows baby pictures.
In addition to all of his work with the Longay Conservatory of Guitar, Frank has served, over many years, on both the SAA Guitar Committee as well as the International Guitar Committee; developing repertoire and training standards for the Suzuki guitar community.
The Longay Conservatory of Guitar is a living testament to Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy of “Where love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
Presented by Board member Dave Madsen, Avon, CT