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The years of 2020-2021 have been a time of unprecedented challenge for many in the Canadian Suzuki Community. Many teachers continue to feel the effects of lower student enrollment, loss of performing opportunities, and the dynamic synergy that is created when we play live music together with our Suzuki students and our colleagues. In some parts of the country, aspects of performing are returning, giving all of us a little light to walk towards!

But this time has also given us many occasions to reflect on what it means to be stewards of Dr. Suzuki’s universal message: creating an environment where every child has quality music education, which will be transformative for the world. In reminding ourselves of this message, we feel gratitude for those colleagues, families, and children, who directly or indirectly taught us many lessons about the power of art to comfort, bring us together, and offer hope to our world.

This has also been a year where the British underground slogan “Mind the Gap’ has taken on more meaning: how do we collectively bridge the gap between those who can and those who can’t access quality Suzuki music lessons? How can we teachers stand flexible and open in the middle of the gap between diverse points of view while keeping our listening caps on and our mindful compassion turned on high?

How fortunate we are right now to have music and children as the beacons to propel us forward to find ways to create a different, more empathetic world that recognizes and leaves space for our differences and allows all voices in the choir their place to sing in the sun.

The approach of a New Year is an important time to dream, to take the time to wonder about what might be possible in Suzuki Canada. Maybe a future that has Suzuki teachers for every instrument in every province and territory. Or a future where public funding would support Suzuki schools creating learning environments for both teachers and students. Perhaps a future where Canadian trainers can travel to remote, largely inaccessible areas to develop a strong local Suzuki community. Our future could include a strong Alumni Association of former students and their families who wish to support their life changing Suzuki experiences to future generations.

This is also a time to extend our gratitude and thanks to the countless leaders, Suzuki teachers, and trainers who visited our country over the past forty plus years. Their early leadership, charisma, and commitment to Canadian Suzuki teachers and students planted the seeds for where we are today.

For this we will be forever grateful. Our best wishes to all for 2022!