Suzuki and Traditional Violin
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 the 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.
Suzuki and Traditional Violin
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.
Piano, Royal Conservatory Program
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 Masters 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-12, 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.
Piano, Royal Conservatory Program
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 University of South Florida.
She earned her degree in piano 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 and pianist for the Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bradenton.
Piano, Music FunTime
Laura has been a teacher with the Suzuki Institute since 2004. She holds a BS in Sacred Music from Florida Southern College, where she studied piano, voice, and organ.
She is a part of the Sarasota Music Teachers Association, where she serves as co-chair of the District Student Day Competition. During her time at Suzuki, she has enjoyed building long-term relationships with her students and their families. She loves helping students find the joy in music and grow in their self-confidence.
Dr. Joyce Mizer
Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano, Royal Conservatory Program
Dr. Joyce Mizer is founder and former 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 a teacher-director in Virginia, she was awarded highest honors. She attended Catholic University, receiving training from the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Her students have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and Wolf Trap Farm, Virginia. She was a soloist in the guest artist series at the Pentagon, Washington, DC and 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.
Suzuki Cello, Piano
Anne performs throughout the United States and abroad as an accomplished soloist and chamber musician. As recent solo winner of the Frances Walton Competition, she toured the Seattle area giving recitals and outreach presentations. Anne's recent concert highlights include bicoastal performances of the Beethoven Triple Concerto in San Francisco and with the Venice Symphony; the Moeran Concerto, and performances at Yale’s Norfolk Festival. Anne also performed and led master classes as guest artist of the Cellobration Festival in St. Louis.
Anne has a Masters Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory, a B.M. from Vanderbilt University, and a DMA (nearly completed) from UCLA. Before moving to Sarasota, she taught, freelanced, and performed chamber music while based in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She knows and loves the Suzuki Method very well, having started playing cello at age 4 in her mother’s Suzuki Cello studio.
Viola, Violin, Music FunTime
From the first moment Jessica picked up the viola at the age of five, she knew it was the instrument for her. She started playing at the Florida West Coast Symphony when she was seven years old. As an adult, she was a member of the State College of Florida’s Orchestra and currently plays with the Sarasota Bradenton Pops Orchestra.
Jessica loves working with children and has been teaching children ages one and older for the last thirteen years. She finds the looks on their faces when they learn something new to be simply priceless. She also has a background singing in chorus and stage acting and is the mother of three wonderful children, one of whom plays the violin and the other two play the piano.
Merlyn started studying the guitar at the age of nine, while growing up in Cuba. She went on to study with renowned guitarists such as Joaquin Clerch, Francisco Rodriguez and Jesus Ortega, and took master classes with guitarists such as Ernesto and Marco Tamayo. Merlyn has experience playing and teaching classical guitar as well as beginning piano. She has worked as a singer and guitarist in Gainesville, FL while teaching guitar, piano, and music theory. Most recently, she taught guitar to children and adults from beginners to advanced students in Miami.
Merlyn also has experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities as a Registered Behavior Technician and recently as a Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. She is a passionate and motivated artist who is always willing to learn and meet new challenges to achieve her objectives.
Medsyre (Sye) Rochanavibhata
Piano, Music FunTime
Medsyre Rochanavibhata (Sye) is originally from Bangkok, Thailand. She started her piano lessons at Yamaha Music School in Thailand at age 4, and earned several certificates and awards from Yamaha Music, as well as Trinity College London in Thailand for piano and classical guitar. She later moved to the United States to continue her studies in Music in 2010, and was a collegiate member of the Music Teachers National Association from 2013-2017. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from the University of North Florida and for the past several years has been teaching piano to students of all ages and skill levels, internationally.
Nathan is a Sarasota native and a recent graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in music education. Nathan is a certified Suzuki violin instructor and teaches beginning piano and voice as well. His passion is instrumental instruction, particularly with string instruments. His mission for his studio is to ensure that all students find a connection to music that will enhance their interactions in their everyday life. Nathan is very excited to continue building his studio and reaching a wide demographic of students.
Voice, Piano, Violin
Loryn Steele is a New England Conservatory trained performing artist and music educator, and the daughter of a world-renowned concert violinist father and Reading Specialist/Literary Agent mother. Her love of teaching began shortly after her father introduced her to the violin when she saw Sidney Poitier’s portrayal of a teacher in the movie musical, “To Sir With Love.” Loryn teaches voice, piano, violin in all styles of music from rock to pop to opera to musical theater. She has a Master's in Teaching with over twenty-five years experience teaching private lessons and has also taught Music and Theater in private, public and charter schools in both Oregon and Florida. Her dad taught her to play the violin when she was four years old until she was old enough to read music, and her love of music has continued to grow ever since. Loryn has performed at many venues including Carnegie Hall, as a singer and actor in local community theater, as a worship team leader, violin soloist and vocal soloist for many churches, as a back-up singer for Integrity Music, and as a member of The Eastman Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
Saxophone, Clarinet, Piano, Flute
Hailing from Santos, Brazil, Rafael Silva, otherwise known as "Ruffus," began his musical studies at eleven years of age and by the time he was fifteen, could play thirteen instruments such as: Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Piano, Bass, Guitar, Harmonica, Mandolin, Trumpet, and more. He studied at Souza Lima College in Sao Paulo City, playing and studying with a number of renowned Brazilian musicians.
In 2007, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. With two bachelor's and a master's degrees in music, he pursued a minor in the culinary arts and one in astronomy. While living in the northeastern USA, he performed with illustrious American jazz players at venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, The Bitter End Club and the Jazz Standard in NYC.
Rafael has been teaching music for about 17 years, both individual and group lessons on a number of instruments, in conservatories and high school programs.
Voice, Music FunTime
Heather Blount-Elliott started her vocal studies at 5 years old and received her Bachelor of Arts from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. She has over a decade of teaching experience that includes voice, circus arts and preschool enrichment. Heather has worked extensively as an after-school enrichment teacher for after-school, summer camps and in-school programs. She has also led many preschool enrichment classes in gymnastics, circus arts and music.
In addition to being a classically trained vocalist, Heather also has a background as a professional circus performer. This has allowed her the opportunity to explore music from different avenues such as choreographing and performing circus acts. Past performances include performing in a choir at Boston Symphony Hall and as a circus performer for the Venardos Circus. She has also had her circus act featured on the Netflix series, Selling Sunset.
With years of training and performing under her belt in many disciplines, Heather has developed a deep appreciation for the unique contributions her music foundation brings to her life and artistic endeavors. She loves teaching and always tries her hardest to help her students become
well-rounded individuals by building their foundation in music.
Guitar, Ukulele, Piano, Banjo
Richie grew up in Sarasota and is a recent graduate of the Guitar program at Florida State. Prior to his studies at FSU, Richie has performed in places such as Italy and Quebec for competitions and recitals. Richie has had the privilege to study with renowned guitarists such as Bruce Holzman, David Leisner and Antigoni Goni. He has been actively teaching and performing for many years and had a full studio of guitar and piano students in Tallahassee while completing his undergraduate studies. He is a gifted guitar player and loves to compose and arrange music for his students to enjoy and learn with.
Voice, Piano, General Music
Annie has spent her entire professional life in music, as a composer, songwriter, singer and educator. She wrote her first song at age 11, then went on to study musical theater and perform in musicals in New York. Later, she moved to Europe, living in Holland and Germany and touring with her own band, frequently performing her own songs.
She finished her BA in Music and did Graduate School at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, receiving a Master's in Jazz Performance (with Jon Faddis) and a Master's in Composition (with Joel Thome). During that time, she taught Music and Drama at Oakwood Friends School, where her son also attended.
Annie loves working with kids, having taught music in the New York City School System. There, she taught Chorus, String Ensemble, and worked with Fellows from Carnegie Hall for 4 years to create a strings program for the violin, viola and cello, with three performances per year, both Choral and Instrumental. She is teaching voice, piano, introductory guitar and general music to our students.
Dr. Salil Singh
Director of Client Relations and Early Learning Programs
Jennifer brings to the Suzuki Institute twenty five years of experience working in various customer-centered positions in the real estate industry. She has worked with a wide range of clients and brings her passion for arts education to her work at the Suzuki Institute where she is nurturing relationships with all our families and students and initiating events to further the educational mission of the school.
Jennifer is also the director of our early childhood music development program. This brings together her love of music education and children to create this new program.
Dr. Singh brings his love of performing arts education to the Suzuki Institute. He is a teacher, director, playwright, actor and designer who has directed more than fifty theater productions and musicals in his teaching career. Most recently, Dr. Singh taught at The College Preparatory School, an independent high school in the San Francisco Bay area and was head of their arts department for over a decade. His productions have been seen in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, California and internationally in India and at the Edinburgh Festival. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa and his doctorate in theater from the University of Texas at Austin.