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Claudia Birdsall

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 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

Suzuki and Traditional Violin & Viola

Suzuki Guitar

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.


Nathan Gross

Suzuki Violin, Piano, Guitar

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.

Richie Johnson

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.


Mary Healey

Piano, Saxophone, Clarinet, Voice

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.

Nikki Lachambre

Piano, Flute, 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.

Laura Miller


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

Piano, Violin, Cello, 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.


Sophia Masterson

Voice, Piano

Sophia grew up in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and has been passionate about music as long as she can remember. She is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned her BFA in Vocal Performance and a minor in Theatre. While at conservatory, Sophia studied piano, music theory, vocal pedagogy, foreign languages, ballet, and acting. Prior to and during her time at CMU, she performed with many organizations, including the Sarasota Opera,
Opera in the Ozarks, Opera Steamboat, Scotch & Soda, and Carnegie Mellon School of Music.
Sophia is so excited to teach at the Suzuki Institute of Music and to make her studio a welcoming environment for all her students.

Mark De Rose

Drums / World Percussion

Drummer/percussionist Mark De Rose is known throughout Asia for his recording and performance work. His drum and percussion credits can be found throughout Asia on CD recordings with popular artists, television and movie sound track recordings and television commercial recordings.

Mark has been teaching drums and percussion for over 30 years. His teaching credits include: Drum & Percussion Instructor for the Yamaha Popular Music School, Tokyo, Japan, and Latin Percussion Ensemble Instructor for the Kyoto Conservatory of Music, Kyoto, Japan, and Drum & Percussion Instructor for the Antonio Adolfo School of Brasilian Music, Hollywood, Florida. He maintains an active professional life as a musician, frequently performing with bands and music ensembles in Florida and accompanying productions at the Venice Theater.


Mark has a B.M. in Jazz Composition and Arranging from the Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts and Percussion Performance Studies and Music Education Studies at the Boston Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts.


Mark is a certified Black Belt with the InYou Ryu Honbu Dojo in Kyoto City, Japan.


Jennifer Singh

Director of Client Relations and Early Childhood 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. Salil Singh


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.