Teacher Development

2017 Teacher Program Offerings:

Every Child Can! Cole June 23
Violin Unit 1 Cole June 24 – July 1
Violin Unit June 25 – June 29
Violin Unit June 25 – June 29
Cello Unit June 25 – June 29

Enrichment Course*:

*May be taken with any other teacher training courses. The Enrichment Course is a non-Suzuki course that supports the development of teachers and education of parents. This year we offer Teaching from the Inside Out: Understanding the Inner World of the Developing Child, instructed by Edmund Sprunger. This 10-hour enrichment course may be registered with the SAA.


Philosophy of the Suzuki Teacher Development Program

The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) is committed to Dr. Suzuki’s belief that every child can be educated and that high ability can be nurtured in every child. With this commitment in mind the SAA has designed a comprehensive Teacher Development Program to assist teachers in creating the best possible learning environment for their students, an environment that puts a priority on the development of fine character along with excellent ability and musicianship.

Teachers enter the Teacher Development Program with well-honed playing skills, thorough musical knowledge and a strong interest in teaching children. The Program’s carefully organized curriculum is presented by experienced SAA-registered Teacher Trainers who guide the participants through the Suzuki Method© repertoire and pedagogy, unit by unit.

Along with the pedagogical skills for working effectively with students of all levels and different learning styles, the Program provides opportunities for an ever-deepening understanding of the Suzuki Philosophy and an increasing awareness of the influence that Suzuki teachers have on their students’ families as they fulfill their responsibilities as nurturing educators. Mutual respect among colleagues, a generous spirit of sharing and a belief in the value of Suzuki teaching as a profession are the indispensable underpinnings of all areas of Suzuki Teacher Development.

2017 Greater Washington Suzuki Institute Teacher Trainers

Ronda Cole………………….. Every Child Can!

Ronda Cole………………….. Violin Book 1

Other courses TBA


Ronda Cole

  • Every Child Can, June 23
  • Violin Book 1, June 24 – July 1

Graduate of Eastman School of Music; Studied with Carroll Glenn; Writer for the Violin Column of the American Suzuki Journal; recipient of the Leadership and Excellence award from the American String Teacher’s Assn.; VA ASTA Teacher of the Year 2008; faculty of ASTA International Workshops in Austria, Switzerland, Hawaii, France, Scotland, Norway and Australia; Clinician in U.S., Canada, Central and South America; SAA Teacher Trainer; Presenter, Keynote speaker or Violin Coordinator at twelve S.A.A. Teacher’s Conferences: Presenter, Keynote speaker at Australian String Teachers Assn. in Cambura, Australia and Australian Suzuki Assn in Melbourne, Australia; Violin faculty at the University of Maryland; (formerly) Director of Master Degree program in Performance with Specialization in Suzuki Pedagogy; Directs and teaches full time at the Northern Virginia Suzuki Music School. Director of the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute. Recently created a DVD called, “May I Help You Tune?”, to help parents and students with learning to tune a violin, viola or cello.

The early years:
Suzuki pedagogy with Anastasia Jempelis and Dr. Suzuki, Eastman School of Music, 1968 -1970.
Multiple courses with John Kendall, William Starr, Louise Behrend, Kato Havas
Conferences with Dr. Suzuki in Munich, Hawaii and many in the continental US (almost every SAA Conference and Retreat since 1970)

Ronda believes in stimulating the development of expressive talent right from the beginning stages. Technique should be made easy using balance and release as key components, so that the player can have their heart invested in musical expression rather than on technique. Musical literacy can be fostered from the start, even in the Suzuki format.



Edmund Sprunger

  • Enrichment Course

Registered SAA teacher trainer. BA in music from Goshen College, MSW from the University of Michigan, and extensive training at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute. In addition to his teaching, he is also a psychotherapist in private practice, and the author of two books.




David Strom

  • Violin

David Strom began as a Suzuki kid himself at age 3 in the studio of Glen Lebetkin.  At 10, he traveled to Matsumoto, Japan. for a week of intensive lessons with Dr. Suzuki.  At the same time, David began study with Eric Lewis the first violinist of the Manhattan String Quartet and an enormous musical and personal influence.  He also studied with Katherine Dorn-Lewis, a constant and continuing source of loving encouragement. David went on to complete his BM in violin performance at the Hartt School where he was privileged to study under Katie Lansdale and receive coaching from the Emerson String Quartet as well as the late David Wells.

Seeing how profoundly he had been shaped musically and personally by his great teachers, David became passionate about music education and child development. David went on to receive his MM from the University of Maryland in violin performance with a Suzuki Pedagogy specialization, where he first met Ronda Cole and felt immediately the synergy and spark that enliven their partnership today.

After graduating, David was the founder and director of Suzuki Violin programs at the Academy of Music in Gaithersburg, the Flint Hill Program in Gaithersburg, and the Herndon Suzuki School (which he continues to direct).  In 2003, Ronda Coleinvited him to be her co-teacher at Northern Virginia Suzuki Music School.

Since then, David has been in demand as a clinician and lecturer at workshops throughout the country.  His students regularly win top prizes at NVMTA competitions and have been concertmaster of all four orchestras of the American Youth Philharmonic. His students have gone on to the top music conservatories, including Eastman, Cleveland Institute, Rice and University of Michigan.  They have been accepted to the prestigious National Symphony Fellowship program and the National Youth Orchestra world tour and attended festivals such as Aspen, Heifetz Institute, Bowdoin, and Interlochen. David is now a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA).

David’s dream for all of his students is the development of higher level functioning- sensitivity, expressiveness, persistence, communication, leadership, compassion, and empathy through the medium of the violin.

In a typical day of teaching David might be found helping a five year old with wandering eyes play on one string at a time, guiding a seven year old to break down “the tricky part” mindfully until it is clear, manageable, and easy, encouraging a ten year old to BE the feeling, story, and drama they are playing, and inviting a teenager to exchange the security of their fears for the power of their own voice.  David deeply honors each child’s unique journey through every step of the path.

When not playing or teaching, David is also a composer and arranger in a wide variety of mediums.  David’s most important job is that of father to his beloved 5 year old daughter Juliet- the light of his life.  He is also now a joyful and dedicated Suzuki parent himself, as Juliet begins her journey on the flute.



Ann Montzka-Smelser

  • Violin

Ann Montzka Smelser began playing violin at the age of 3 with the help of her mother and father, Marilyn and Arthur Montzka. Later she studied under Kazuko Numanami and Sarah Hersh at the Oberlin College Suzuki Program and later with Rebecca Sandrok and Pierre Menard.

In between receiving her Bachelors of Music Education and Masters in Performance and Pedagogue at Northern Illinois University, Ann studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.

After college, Ann toured extensively with the Ruggieri String Quartet to all four corners of the United States through Columbia Artists Management. Ann has performed in many orchestras and chamber ensembles and is currently principal 2nd violinist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

In 2003 Ann received the Hester Byron Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2013 was inducted into the Sycamore Music Booster Hall of Fame and was honored to recieve the Legacy Award.

Ann is a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has been invited to present at several SAA Conferences. Ann has served as coordinator of the Suzuki Youth Orchestras of the Americas in 2006 and 2008 and is currently co-coordinator for Violin at the 2014 and 2016 National Suzuki Conferences to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ann became a Registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer in 2005 and currently teaches Suzuki Pedagogy at both Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. Ann teaches about 35 private students and is director of the NIU, CSA Suzuki Strings Program. Ann enjoys working with Suzuki families and teachers at Suzuki Institutes and workshops throughout the United States. Ann was a guest teacher at the 2010 International String Conference in Singapore and has given Teacher Training courses in Lima, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico City.

Ann lives in DeKalb, IL with her children Benjamin and Genevieve, her husband, Linc, and her Golden Retriever, Chloe.


Alice Vierra

  • Cello

Alice Vierra received a BME from the University of Iowa and a Master’s in performance from the University of Wisconsin. She has a private studio of 30 students ages 4—17 in the Greater Washington DC area, has taught at the Levine School and also teaches in the Fairfax Public Schools. She is a past president of the Suzuki Association of the Greater Washington Area, has served as cello coordinator and presenter at the SAA Conferences, and is a member of the Board of the Hans Kindler Cello Society. She is a registered teacher trainer for the SAA and has taught at many Workshops and Institutes across the United States including Institutes in Sante Fe, Snowmass, Atlanta and Washngton. She played with the Lake Forest Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and taught in the Madison, WI area and the Chicago area before moving to Washington. Upon moving to Washington she played in the Washington Bach Consort and toured with them to Germany n 1985. She also freelanced playing at Wolf Trap, Terrace Theatre and the Corcoran Gallery. She was a Suzuki Mom to three children who are now grown so views the Suzuki approach as a professional player, teacher, Mom, and teacher of teachers. Her students have continued their cello studies at Hartt, New England Conservatory, Yale, Harvard, Indiana University, and Boston University.