Two of America's largest organizations for string teachers and music teachers announced in late March that they will coordinate their national conferences next spring to take place in the same venue, at the same time.
While both organizations have some overlap in their membership and educational missions, they have different structures, programs and emphases.
Founded in 1946, ASTA is an organization of more than 7,500 members across the United States and Canada, including both private studio teachers and public school teachers. ASTA recently held its annual national conference in Orlando, Fla. The ASTA conference also includes a National Orchestra Festival, a competition for high school and middle school orchestra programs, which travel to the conference to participate. ASTA also puts out a quarterly journal, holds local competitions and offers an assessment certificate program called ASTACAP.
The SAA was founded in 1972 and has about 8,000 members, including teachers, parents and educators across North and South America. With its foundation in the teaching philosophy of the 20th century Japanese pedagogue Shinichi Suzuki, the SAA's teaching mission encompasses not just violin, viola, cello and bass, but also piano, flute, brass instruments, guitar, harp, recorder, organ, accordion and voice. The organization publishes a quarterly journal, coordinates teacher training and summer institutes and provides a teacher directory, job listings, instrument insurance possibilities and other services for members. The SAA holds its conference every two years, traditionally in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend. The organization has not had an in-person conference since the pandemic.
"After too many years without an in-person conference, I couldn’t be more excited to announce our gathering next year. Our colleagues at ASTA are thrilled to connect with our membership and its variety of instrumentalists, musicians, artists, and leaders," said SAA Executive Director Angelica Cortez.
Here's hoping that this kind of coordination can lead to an improvement in the recruitment, training, retention, cooperation and overall morale of instrumental music teachers in the Americas!
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