“Character first, ability second” Dr Shinichi Suzuki
Claudia and Robert Birdsall
Suzuki Violin & Viola
Suzuki Violin—Carnegie Hall Royal
Claudia moved to Sarasota from Colorado where she owned and operated her own teaching studio for over 20 years and coached for the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Denver and has extensive training in Suzuki violin. Claudia was a member of the Colorado Springs Symphony and is currently assistant concertmaster of the Venice Symphony. She has soloed with the Pueblo Symphony and the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra. She loves working with Suzuki or traditional students at all levels.
Robert Birdsall is originally from Michigan and started piano lessons at age 5. He then transferred to violin at age 8. He has a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Eastern Michigan University, where he also was introduced to the Suzuki Method of violin instruction.
He left Michigan to join the Colorado Springs Symphony and later continued his Suzuki training in Colorado. He has worked with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association, a public middle school in Colorado Springs, a cooperative Suzuki group teaching situation, and has maintained a private studio. He enjoys teaching students from both traditional and Suzuki backgrounds.
He is a guitar player and enjoys playing classical, blues, pop, and rock and teaching basic guitar.
Claudia and Robert Birdsall teach traditional and Suzuki methods for violin and viola. They prefer the Suzuki method as an elegant, easy, and comprehensive system of progressive skill development. Also they teach functional guitar. Their approach is to try meet students at their level knowing that each person is ultimately their own best learning expert.
Instructor of piano and trumpet
Specializing in early childhood development and beginning adults.
Have been teaching for 13yrs. In Cleveland, Ohio and Sarasota, Florida. Educated at John Carroll University for undergrad degree and Baldwin Wallace University for graduate degree. Studied trumpet with Geoffrey Hardcastle of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra and Dave Duro of the Columbus Symphony. Piano teachers were Christina Tan of Akron University and Singapore. Nancy Bachus and Jay Hecey from Hudson Ohio and Hungary respectfully. Currently play with the Venice Concert Band and perform with the Piano Friends of Sarasota.
Melissa Burnham is originally from Utica, N.Y. Melissa began piano lessons
at age 8. She has been playing 30 years and taught privately. Ms. Burnham
has taught all ages at the Piano Lab in Sauquoit, New York. She is a
graduate of the College of Saint Rose located in Albany, N.Y. Melissa first
learned to play piano by ear after listening to her older sister play. She
eventually went on to study and complete all classical genres including
theory and technique. Melissa also plays flute and competed in the National
Marching Band finals in Syracuse, N.Y.
Melissa has worked at the Suzuki Institute School of Music for one year.
She teaches piano to children five through adult.
Hunter Swank is a young, dedicated Musician with years experience in Percussion and ensembles. His teaching skills include rudimentary learning and technique building.
Hunter is expressive, poised with a broad rudiment knowledge. He is enthusiastic, explores different techniques of teaching and a strong attention to detail.
Hunter was brought on board as staff for a local high school Band. He has completed several FMBC seasons with the Band and excited to continue. He has taught and continues to teach the percussion section of the Marching Band, the Percussion classroom during the school day. He began in June 2016 and continues at this time.
Activities and Honors
Hunter competed in 4 years of Florida State Solo and Ensemble festival and received Superior ratings.
Mary Healey has spent her entire life in music, having been born into a musical family. Her formal studies began at age seven with piano, and gradually expanded to include clarinet,trumpet and organ.
Mary obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Music at Rivier University,and two additional Master Degrees in Music Pedagogy and Education. Continued Piano studies were at Boston University with Prof.Leon Tumarkin. Organ studies were at New England Conservatory . Her performances include the Harvard Summer Band, The Middlesex Orchestra, and the B.U Alumni Concert Band. Additional positions include Choir/Organist at St. Annes’ in Peabody, Sacred Heart in Lynn, and Robert Bellarmine in Andover, all in MA. Throughout her years as Music Director, K-112,
Mary initiated studies for herself and staff to include the 5 major Music Methods: Suzuki, Kodaly, Orff, Dalcroze and Alexander Techniques. The music curriculum that resulted reaped significant results with the children in the K-12 grades. As a result Mary was invited to serve the Massachusetts State Board of Accreditation for K-12 music programs. One of the greatest joys in teaching private music lessons has been not only from student acquisition of musical skills, but in having young students realize that their success is really up to them.
Another inspiration is being witness to the parents who give this gift of music to their children. It demands time, finances, and strong parental skills that payoff not instantly, but in the future lives of their children. Her commitment is to give each child the best possible route for success. If the teacher, parent and child are all working together, it’s all worth it!
Laura Miller received a Bachelor of Sacred Music degree from Florida Southern College with a concentration in voice and piano. She has served as a pianist in church and teaches both voice and piano at the Institute. She has instructed with the Florida West Coast Children’s Chorus. In addition to instructing at the Institute Laura is on the staff at the First United Methodist Church. Laura is a registered teacher with the National Music Certificate Program.
Carnegie Hall Royal
Nikki Lachambre moved to Sarasota from Kingston, Jamaica in 1999. She studied piano performance at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts and holds several certificates from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Nikki continued her piano studies in Florida at the Uni-versity of South Florida. She earned her degree in pi-ano with an emphasis on music history. She became a member of the Music Teachers National Association along with its State and local affiliates. Nikki began teaching in Sarasota in 2003.
She is a past Executive Board Member of the Sarasota Music Teachers Association, Gold Cup Chairperson for Seminole District in conjunction with the Florida Federation of Music Clubs, Pianist for the Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bradenton.
Darryl Mizer began his study of music in the 5th grade. He continued his studies in music until joining the Air Force. He was a member of the A.F. Drum and Bugle corps in San Antonio, TX. He was assigned to the 41st ATS Squadron in Charleston, 5.C. His assignment was flying missions between Viet Nam and Dover, A.F.B. During layovers he was a member of the Greater Charleston Symphony Orchestra in Charleston, 5.C.
Returning home to Virginia he participated in musical programs. For several years he was performed professionally as drummer for the Statler Bros., a famous group in country music.
Darryl completed his education in psychology and sociology at the University of Florida, the Citadel, Eastern Mennonite University, Liberty University, Duke University, Penn State and the Universal Campus. He continues with educational projects in the field of psychology. Darryl retired as a psychologist from Venice Hospital, opening a practice in Sarasota. He instructed in both public, and two military schools as director of bands and in the physical education department. He served as an adjunct professor at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia.
Darryl retired as a psychologist from Venice Hospital, opening a practice in Sarasota. He assists Joyce at the Institute. He continues his avocation facilitating a S.M.A.R.T. Recovery Program, volunteers with the Sherriff’s Office in Sarasota and is in the process of founding a recovery program with inmates in Sarasota. He continue to participate in three area concert bands (trumpet) and serves on the board of directors for the Suncoast Concert Band.
Dr. Joyce Mizer
Carnegie Hall Royal
Dr. Joyce Mizer is founder and co-director of the Suzuki Institute. She has degrees from Madison College, James Madison University, Commonwealth Open University and Sherwood School of Music, Chicago. Joyce taught music in public schools and served as an adjunct professor at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
As teacher-director in Virginia Joyce she was awarded highest honors. She attended Catholic University receiving training by the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Her students performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and Wolf Trap Farm, Virginia. She was soloist in the guest artist series at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. and was a guest conductor of The United States Air Force Band. Joyce is a founding teacher of the Carnegie Hall Royal Achievement Program in the United States. In 2004 she was nominated to the Marquis Who’s Who for her service and dedication to the arts.
Dr. Zachary Johnson
Suzuki Guitar & Piano
Royal Achievement Program
Dr. Zachary Johnson is an enthusiastic Suzuki guitar and piano teacher. He is a young classical guitarist whose talent already recognized with numerous awards. He has performed across the United States for recitals, competitions, and festivals. He has performed in Yale Sprague Memorial Hall, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, Northeastern University’s Fenway Center, San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Recital Hall, and selected performer for the Stetson International Guitar Festival.
He was an adjunct professor at Florida State University an adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He taught masterclasses at Syracuse University, Brevard Community College, and Bainbridge College.
Zachary received full scholarship for Bachelors at Stetson, his Masters from Yale University and his Doctorate of Music from Florida State University. He was selected to be a Teacher’s Assistant.