From Roberta Centurion, International Representative, Suzuki Association of Peru, SAA Latin American Liaison

More than forty Suzuki Teachers from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, Uruguay and the United States came together for the Second Latin American Suzuki Teachers’ Conference held at the Hotel Exclusive in Lima, Peru, on January 12-14 of this year. The event was organized by Caroline Fraser, Marilyn O’Boyle and Roberta Centurion, Latin American Liaisons to the SAA, and was sponsored by the Association Suzuki of the Americas.

Numerous presenters kindly shared their expertise: Tanya Carey -”Developing Leadership Abilities” and “Working Together Towards a Common Goal”; Doris Koppelman—”Creating Community” and “Creative Techniques for Practicing;”; Diana Galindo -”Developing Ability: All Children CAN (if the Teacher CAN);” and Barbara Barber ” Introduction to Solos for Young Violinists” Other sessions -led by various participants included “Latin American Music,” “Suzuki Programs in Schools,” as well as poster sessions about Suzuki Programs throughout Latin America. The Latin American Liaisons led sessions and break-out sessions to define our common goals and strategies for the future. High priorities of all teachers were having regular opportunities for teacher training and student festivals, as well as attaining quality instruments of all sizes, music, method books and accessories at reasonable prices.

In lunchtime and evening meetings, the Latin American Committee with representatives from each country present met with the Latin American Liaisons. Using input from the general sessions the following decisions were taken and goals were set:

  1. A Latin American web page would be created to improve communication. Julio Cesar Rodriguez of El Salvador is providing leadership.
  2. Set up a library of all Spanish translations of articles, booklets, etc. for use in parent and teacher training. Marcelino Prats and Pedro Suarez from Colombia, Chairpersons.
  3. Set up a committee to actively seek and channel funding and donations, especially for instruments. Odina de Medina from Argentina, Chairperson.
  4. Peru was designated as center of operations for Latin America.
  5. The Latin American Liaisons will continue to provide leadership.
  6. Other Latin American country leaders who were unable to attend will be contacted so that every country that has Suzuki programs will be represented.
  7. The Third Latin American Suzuki Teachers’ Conference was set to be held in 2004. Deadline for proposals from possible host countries is May 1, 2002.

Due to the extraordinary effort and cooperation of all present, we were able to accomplish much in such a brief amount of time. This all seems almost miraculous, when you consider the world recession and especially the terrible economic and difficult political conditions that we are facing in Latin America. Thanks to support from the Suzuki Association of the Americas we were able to offer travel scholarships to the majority of the teachers who attended the Conference and subsequent Training Courses. We appreciate the sponsorships “in kind” from Peruvian businesses as well as the generous donation of time and expertise of teachers from Peru and the US. These combined expressions of love and support made it possible to finance this historic event that will serve to strengthen and provide the inspiration for continued development of Suzuki programs and associations throughout all of Latin America.

For the first time we had the participation of teachers from El Salvador and from Uruguay.

Julio Rodriguez, from EI Salvador, wrote:

Upon returning to El Salvador, (after the Encuentro in Peru) I was welcomed by parents, teachers, and students who had prepared a surprise party for me, as a symbol of the good relationship that exists between us. I took advantage of this reunion to tell them about the wonderful experience we all had in Peru, mainly to give them incentive so that we could continue to organize our Suzuki Association in El Salvador. Since then we have been meeting with the organizing committee with one common goal, which will greatly benefit our community. We have made so much progress that, God willing, on April 12th we will sign the founding legal documents pertaining to this organization.

We have many goals and projects. The main goal will be to coordinate the January 2003 festival where we hope to have the participation of many teachers from Central America. This will give them the opportunity to receive training and continue to grow professionally.

I have no doubt that the motivation, knowledge, and experiences I acquired in Lima are and will be of crucial importance for the development of the Suzuki method in EI Salvador. Teaching music and particularly the violin, is my life, and the Suzuki method is my vital tool. I hope that the other teachers will have the opportunity to become acquainted with this wonderful method.

From Uruguay, Cecilia Charquero wrote:

I returned home from Peru, ready to work and with intense desire to share with all my friends and colleagues the great experiences I had there, which helped me grow professionally and personally. I grew professionally because I was able to learn from books, handouts, and videos and also with the cultural interchange where we all learned from each other, we all participated as a team, and we never forgot that we were all there with the same goal. Some were, of course, more experienced than others, but all gave support to those who were just starting, like Uruguay for example.

In Uruguay only Ludmila Cavallaro and I are working with the Suzuki Method. This was the first time I had participated in a Suzuki Conference, and this will help us spread the method in our country.

I was made to feel completely at home. I came back to Uruguay happy because I made good friends. We laughed and cried together, and said many farewells-these are things that stay with you forever.

Regarding our work in Uruguay, we are now working with the parents, organizing more Suzuki concerts, and trying to get more support from people so that music reaches every home and every heart. This year we are committed to informing the public about our community, to giving concerts, and of course, to participating in the next Suzuki festival.

-With love, Cecilia.

From our friend Annika Petrozzi, President of the Suzuki Association of Peru:

The festival took place with the usual happy environment of camaraderie typical of the Suzuki festivals. We were together with old and new friends, sharing information and complimenting each other on our achievements. An important accomplishment was the acquisition of new Latin American repertoire. Many decisions were taken, but we have still to see the results. The most important contribution was made by Professor Doris Koppelman when she spoke about the meaning of “Everyone Can.” Alluding to the dramatic events that took place in the world not long ago, “Everyone Can” strengthens the respect for humanity, the acceptance of our individuality, and the appreciation and recognition of our enormous potential. Tolerance and mutual respect are developed when we are aware of these principles and apply them in our daily life. This is Dr. Suzuki’s legacy, which we must strengthen and spread throughout the world today. -With love, Annika.