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.

Steve Mathews

Classical and Electric Guitar, Voice, Piano

Steve is a veteran musician and teacher with a long career spanning venues across the United States. He has performed internationally and worked with many of the best musicians from around the world.

Steve was exposed to the music and cultures of several countries while growing up in a military family. He started playing guitar and trumpet in the 3rd grade and was hired to teach guitar at Paragon Music in Tampa while still a teenager. His next teaching position was as a music professor at the University of Tampa, teaching private guitar lessons and ensembles for college credit.  Since then, he has been teaching guitar, voice and piano to students of all ages and skill levels and you can see him performing a few shows every month around Tampa and its surrounding areas.

Steve studied Jazz Guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and has studied privately with some of the best classical and jazz guitarists in the world including Steve Khan, Larry Coryell, Bruce Saunders, Mike Stern, and Bill Hoff. Steve’s performance experience includes tours, musical theater runs, cruise ship musician, amusement park guitarist/vocalist, top 40 keyboardist, weddings, and more. Currently, Steve is also on the faculty of the University of South Florida and plays multiple services each week at a local church.

Melissa Burnham

Instructor of Piano, Flute

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 nearly four years. She teaches piano to children five through adult.

Mary Healey

Instructor of 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.

Nikki Lachambre

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 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.

Laura Miller


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.

Dr. Joyce Mizer

Piano, Violin, 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.

Ron Grobelny

Piano and Trumpet

Ron has been teaching music for 13 yrs., first in Cleveland, Ohio and then in Sarasota, Florida.
He was educated at John Carroll University for his undergrad degree and attended Baldwin Wallace University for his graduate degree. Ron studied trumpet with Geoffrey Hardcastle of the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra and Dave Duro of the Columbus Symphony. His piano teachers were Christina Tan of Akron University and Singapore, Nancy Bachus and Jay Hecey from Hudson, Ohio and Hungary, respectively. Currently, he  plays with the Venice Concert Band and performs with the Piano Friends of Sarasota.

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 and frequently performs 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 Marketing

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.

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.

© 2019 by Suzuki Institute School of Music  |  Sarasota FL

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