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.

Ron Grobelny

Instructor of Piano and Trumpet
Specializing in early childhood development and beginning adults.

Ron has been teaching music for 13yrs., 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.

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 one year. 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.

Leiland Theriot

Classical Guitar, Voice

Leiland Theriot taught music in the Sarasota County Schools system for seventeen years, both at the elementary (Glenallen 2001, Phillippi Shores 2002-2011) and secondary (McIntosh Middle 2011-2018 Chorus/Orchestra) levels. During her teen years, Mrs. Theriot studied guitar in Sarasota with David Gould (jazz) and Wilson Cosby (classical) and voice with Leslie Chabay (Laszlo Csabay) of the Metropolitan Opera. She performed with the Sarasota High School Admirals Jazz Band and Changing Tide vocal ensemble.  She studied guitar, voice, keyboards, conducting, and string techniques at Florida State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  Mrs. Theriot also has two masters degrees, one in Counselor Education and another in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida.

Leiland has written and reviewed lesson plans, teacher resources and assessments at both the local and state levels and has secured numerous grants for herself and her instructional teams, particularly in the area of arts integration.
Currently, Leiland 
is the Executive Director for the FAAE (Florida Alliance for Arts Education). She is a member of the Board for the Manatee Arts Education Coalition and a member of the Sarasota County Arts Education Partnership.

Mark De Rose

Drums / World Percussion

Drummer/percussionist Mark De Rose is known throughout Asia for his recording and performance work with Hino Terumasa, Marlene, Shirai Takako, Gao, Koyanagi Yuki, Ishii Seiko, Nishikiori Ken, Togi Hideki, Chage & Aska and many others. Mark has composed, arranged and directed music works for NHK Television, educational television, government sponsored educational videos and animated soundtracks. Mark's 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. Mark has also been teaching Drums & Hand Percussion for the Guitar Center Studios since April 2012, Musika since May 2014 and Lessons In Your Home since November 2014.


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.

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