Utah Suzuki Convention Clinician Bios

Ronda Cole (Honorarium)

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.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.

Karly Frost Brett (Piano Honorarium)

Karlyn Frost Brett is a classically-trained pianist/soloist/accompanist who began performing with her concert-tenor father at age 10 throughout Utah, and as her church’s organist – a calling she yet holds.  She began training at age six in Ogden, Utah with Maggie Gammell whose training legacy takes her back to Claude Debussy and Franz Liszt, and began concertizing throughout the Western States from age 12.  She majored in Piano Performance at Weber College and Brigham Young University where she continued her studies with Carl Fuerstner, and later with Margaret Saunders Ott, of international acclaim, in Spokane, Washington…along the way adding extensive choral directing opportunities including The Mormon Expo Choir which performed throughtout Washington for 4 years, and performances of her original compositions including “As I Have Loved You” – an Easter Musical, and “Lost On the Way to Bethlehem”- a Christmas Musical.  She has accompanied/performed with such notables as metropolitan artist Thomas Hampson; Gail Nelson of New York Met and Broadway acclaim; Linda Caple – Met winner; Seattle and Spokane Washington Chorales and Opera Workshops under the batons of Leonard Moore (Seattle), Sister Marietta Coyle (Spokane), Donald Thulean (Spokane Symphony), and innumerable others.

Karlyn maintains a large piano studio in Spokane, Washington where she has lived for over 40 years with her husband, Jerry, and family.  She is a State and Nationally Certified Teacher of Music with MTNA and a Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, teaching at multiple piano camps in the U.S. and Canada throughout the year.

Mary Kay Waddington (Harp Honorarium)

Mary Kay Waddington graduated from Oberlin Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music degree in harp performance.  Since then she has been devoted to studying and teaching the Suzuki Method. Her study has included working with many fine Suzuki teachers in this country as well as three months in Japan studying with Dr. Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute.  She has worked extensively with harp-builders to develop high quality instruments suitable for young Suzuki students, and has invented Right-hand Levers and Pedal Extensions to further the ability of small children to play the instrument. As well as authoring the Suzuki Harp Method, Mary Kay has developed reading materials specifically for Suzuki-trained harp students.  Her students have received prizes in both regional and national competitions, and her teaching skills, for training both students and teachers, are in great demand across the U.S. and in many other countries.

Melissa Draper

Melissa DraperMelissa Draper has been playing and loving the violin since she was four years old. She was trained in the Suzuki method and later studied violin at Brigham Young University and The Manhattan School of Music. Currently, Melissa works as both a teacher and a freelance musician. Melissa has been teaching for over 15 years and keeps a large studio of all levels. Melissa is proficient on violin and viola, and often records professionally on both.  She was Director of Artistics and Logistics for the Stradivarius International Violin Competition in 2007 and 2010 and is former faculty for the Gifted Music School and The Waterford School. Melissa feels greatly indebted to all her teachers including, Hiroko Primrose, Debbie Moench, Jack Ashton, Igor and Vesna Gruppman, and Robert and Nicholas Mann.

Brittany Platt Gardner

Brittany Platt Gardner began her cello studies at the age of eight, after receiving a cello as a birthday present.  A native of Salt Lake City, Gardner graduated from Cottonwood High School and went on to pursue musical studies at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance as a student of Richard Aaron.  She continued her studies at the University of Michigan, where she received a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance as a student of Anthony Elliott.

After completing her studies, Gardner returned home to Salt Lake City, where she has become heavily involved in the music community.  She currently maintains a large and active private studio and also teaches at the Gifted Music School Preparatory Division, where she serves as Managing Director.  She also currently serves on the board of the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute and has been a coordinator at the international conference for the Suzuki Association of the Americas for 2012 and 2014.

Gardner is a much sought-after performer and collaborator, appearing with such groups as the Utah Symphony, The Orchestra at Temple Square, the Intermezzo Chamber Series, Pioneer Theater, and The Cathedral of the Madeleine, among others.

She and her husband live in Salt Lake City with their two adorable little girls.

Linda Garner

Linda Garner is children’s book author, a motivational speaker, and a Suzuki piano teacher.  She has taught Suzuki Piano for more than thirty years.  She is a people person, and loves working with children.  In her spare time she enjoys teaching children how to write and women and girls how to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Linda is big on parent training and has often been asked to share her parent class materials with other teachers.  She recently released an e-book called Suzuki Philosophy in Action:  Piano Parenting 101.  The print version will be out soon.  You can find it on Amazon.

Linda loves making a difference and her writing reflects that.  In 2008 Shadow Mountain released her book, Some Secrets Hurt, which was designed to prevent sexual abuse.  It is a picture book for all ages and she would like to see a copy of this book in every home.

Linda is a friend, a teacher, a learner, a sister, a mother, and a grandmother.  She volunteers too much, and sometimes feels overwhelmed.  She practices saying “no” in the mirror, but rarely says it in real life.  She is the piano chairman for Celebration IX, and maintains the celebration blog.  Check out the blog at http://WhereLoveIsDeep.blogspot.com.

Sasha Garver

Dr. Sasha Garver teaches at Community School for Music and Arts and Dominican University of California. Former chair of the music program at Northern New Mexico College in Española, NM, she has been a soprano soloist with the Santa Fe Symphony as well as piccolo with the Santa Fe Symphony. Sasha performed as second flute/solo piccolo of the Macau Orchestra, SAR China. While in Asia, she studied with Mr. Takahashi. Sasha holds her DMA from CU-Boulder and MM from The University of Cincinnati. She has two BM degrees in flute and voice. Sasha is a columnist for Flute Focus International Flute Magazine (NZ), and has contributed to the American Suzuki Journal. Sasha has lectured at the Suzuki World Conference, the National Flute Convention and the Suzuki Association of the America’s International Conference. Sasha was faculty at Regis University, Colorado Christian University, Desert Suzuki Institute, Santa Fe Talent Education, Santa Fe Suzuki Institute, Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, and the 2009 Suzuki World Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Sasha has also taught at the Suzuki Institute in Mexico City, and was Flute Ensemble Conductor for the 2010 and 2012 SAA Conference.

Cindy Henderson

Cindy Henderson is nationally recognized for her distinguished record of teaching excellence at every level. She has been recognized by Toshio Takahashi as the teacher who first introduced the Suzuki Flute Method in America in 1975. She has served on the faculty at Weber State University since 1988 and has 45 years of teaching experience. Her students consistently win top prizes and scholarships in the nation, region, and state. She is a popular clinician, speaker and adjudicator, and has twice presented at the National Convention of the National Flute Association.

Laurel Ann Maurer

Flutist Laurel Ann Maurer has been lauded by The New York Times as “. . . a secure technician and an assured, communicative interpreter.” Fanfare Magazine stated that “. . . she is technically superb in every way. Her tone is consistently attractive even in the most treacherous passages, and she plays with great rhythmic drive and impeccable phrasing.” American Record Guide said that “. . . Maurer has a strong, colorful, full sound and a sure technique. . .”

Ms. Maurer began her musical studies in Seattle, Washington under the direction of Dorothy Bjarnason, where she was a member of the Seattle Youth Symphony and a recipient of awards from the Seattle Young Artists Festival. She continued her musical education in New York City, studying with Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser and Samuel Baron. Her principal teacher, Mr. Baker, has stated that she is “One of our outstanding and gifted flutists.”

As an award winner from such organizations as the National Association of Composers – USA, the National Flute Association, the National Orchestra of New York, the Chautauqua Institute and the Utah Arts Council, Ms. Maurer has appeared as flute soloist throughout the United States, Asia and Europe, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. She has appeared as concerto soloist with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Flute Association’s American Flutist Concerto Orchestra, the Salt Lake Symphony and the Long Island Chamber Orchestra.  As a recitalist, Ms. Maurer has concertized in Armenia, Japan and throughout  North America..

Laurel was a frequent guest with the Park City International Music Festival while she resided in Utah.  She was also Principal Flutist of the Salt Lake Symphony for 12 years and an active member of the Utah Flute Association.  Laurel currently resided in Barre, Vermont is now the artistic director of Vermont Virtuosi, a chamber music series dedicated to presenting compelling, excellent and beautiful classical music programs to the public free of charge.

Laurel has over a dozen commercially recorded CD’s.  Two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards in 2004.

In addition to performing, Laurel is a dedicated and much sought after teacher and was appointed  a Suzuki Teacher Trainer in 2007.   In addition to her students, Laurel is in high demand at workshops and Institutes to train new Suzuki flute teachers.  She has taught and given masterclasses in many parts of the world including South America, Japan and Armenia.

Laurel Ann Maurer has recorded for Albany Records, CRI, Soundspells and 4-Tay Records. Ms. Maurer performs exclusively on Miyazawa Flutes and is a Miyazawa Artist.

Margaret Watts Romney

 Margaret Watts Romney After a happy childhood in Boulder Colorado, the bulk of Margaret’s professional life has been spent with the 17th century technology of the cello and exploring and teaching its performance possibilities in our 21st century. She has loved the challenge in recent years of conducting orchestras, organizing workshops, curating concerts, presenting at conferences, and participating on the boards of non-profit organizations. Her current work with TEDxSaltLakeCity as Speaker Coach has utilized her skills in expressing complex ideas simply, audience awareness, and performance. Free time is gobbled up by diving into learning about wellness, economics, integral theory, and pretty much anything on public radio.

Jenny Wadsworth

Jenny Waddsworth

Jenny Wadsworth has been teaching for 18 years. She has four awesome kids ranging from age 8-16, two cellists and two violinists. She has a strong “music is fun, curiosity and mistakes are how we learn, and connecting with beauty and others enriches our life” philosophy.   Her training includes BA in Music from BYU, both long term and short term certification through the Suzuki Association of the Americas as well as more than a thousand professional development master teacher observation hours.   Her current musical passion is choral. She just finished her 3rd season with Utah Voices culminating in a performance at Carnegie Hall!  Her hobbies outside of music include hiking, photography and cooking.


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