by President-Elect ASTA-LA, Susan Pascale

I’ve always known about ASTA (American String Teacher Association). I knew that they sponsored the most prestigious competitions. They launched careers, including that of musicians like Joshua Bell and Rachel Barton Pine, not to mention their excellent instrument insurance program.

So when I moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2001, the first thing I did was  join ASTA. I started to teach violin and was desperate to find out how the local  music world operated. Unlike New York, there are so many musical organizations  all so spread out. I found it confusing and overwhelming, and of course I joined all of them.

What a mess! Each organization seemed to have its own standards, guidelines and timelines. This was before everything was on the Internet, so I quickly collected a huge pile of information. Not only was I emotionally overwhelmed by paperwork, but so was my kitchen table! 

But soon, the ASTA material rose to the top of the heap. 

Attending my first ASTA board meeting was the first time I felt at home in the strings community.  I loved meeting the interesting and committed teachers who had an urge to give back. And the cappucino and pastries were the icing!

Over time, ASTA became my main source of information about strings. And I learned about many more benefits. 

ASTA’s solo recital competition fits my needs perfectly. The competitions are designed for even the youngest musicians. This fits with the mission of my school, where we start children on strings at 4 1/2.

Second, ASTACAP, (the Certificate Advancement Program), is absolutely the best. It’s easy to navigate, has a comprehensive graded curriculum, and can be customized to fit your needs. 

Third, members can apply for generous grants for special projects.  And through awards, ASTA recognizes outstanding string professionals. I am so impressed by my colleagues’ accomplishments!

Fourth, the Chamber Music Festival, run by board member Kay Pech, brings students and teachers from throughout LA for an annual performance, for the sheer joy of making music together. 

The annual national conference is an unparalleled opportunity to network. I’m looking forward to attending my very first ASTA conference in Pittsburgh in 2017, and learning from other expert teachers.

With ASTA’s openness to fresh new ideas, a supportive and collaborative approach, and an emphasis on bringing the strings community together not only locally but nationally

In 2017 I am pleased to be appointed area chair for the ASTA Solo Competition in the Pasadena area and look forward to hosting  both the ASTACAP and the Solo competition at PMI.

For more information go to or call Susan Pascale at 626-403-4611.