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Our Teachers

Claudio Forcada

Claudio holds a PhD from Birmingham City University on a thesis on efficacy in violin teaching and the psychological aspects related to the acquisition of motor skills. He has also published three handbooks and filmed six documentaries on string pedagogy, music education, music psychology and research.

 Since 1999, Claudio has given more than 300 workshops and lectures in Europe, America and Asia. In 2012, Claudio was awarded with the “Ernest Newman Price” at the Birmingham City University and, being also honoured in 2012 with recognition from the president at the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador for his contribution to the musical education of the country.

Besides his roles as professor of string pedagogy at the Valencian International University and director of Studio Forcada (London and Henley-on-Thames), Dr. Forcada is trainer in residence at “El Sistema. Portugal” and “Mes Música” (Mallorca. Spain). He is also trustee and founder of the charity “Children4Music” and member of the Henley Symphony Orchestra.

Juan Carlos Navarro Gimeno

As teacher

Juan Carlos was born in Lliria (Spain), where he achieved a BMus (Hon) in violin and Chamber Music. Juan Carlos did his Suzuki Training Course at the British Suzuki Institute in London and is a fully qualified Suzuki teacher through ESA. He trained in Rolland Pedagogy with Lynne Dennig Nancy Kredel, and Claudio Forcada at Scherzo Workshop (London, UK). Juan Carlos did his Dalcroze Training at “Joan Llongueres” Institut based in Barcelona (Spain). He also did the Music Mind Games (Unit 1) with Michiko Yurko in Madrid (Spain).

Juan Carlos has been teaching and lecturing at conservatoires and music schools in Spain, Ireland, UK, France, Lithuania, Denmark, Belgium, Poland, Scotland and Sweden.

Since 2013 to 2015 is the Vice-President of the ‘Federación Española del Método Suzuki’ in Spain. He has been the coordinator of the 1st to 3rd National Suzuki Workshop in Spain. Since 2006 he is the director of the “Seminar for String Teachers” (Albacete, Spain) organising workshop for teachers and children’s.

From 2004 he is teaching violin at “Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco” Conservatoire in Albacete (Spain).

As Performer

In 2006 was awarded at the II Concurso Nacional de Jóvenes Intérpretes “Ciutat de Llíria 2006”.

From 2004 is the violinist of the ‘Espai Sonor’ Ensemble, group specialised in contemporary music. He has played several premieres works in prestigious halls in Spain, France, Finland, Brazil and Chile. And has recorded three Cd’s (Stradivarius).

Juan Carlos with the Quartet ‘Iquart’ and ‘Aurum’ Piano Quartet 2001 and 2002 was awarded in the Concurso Nacional de Música de Cámara de Juventudes Musicales in Vinarós (Spain).

From 2001 he has played in several professional groups, such as: ‘Orquesta Sinfónica Principado de Asturias’, ‘Orquesta de Valencia’, ‘Orquesta Sinfónica de les Illes Balears”, ‘Orquesta del Mediterrani’, ‘Grup Instrumental’, ‘Collegium Instrumentale’.

Cate Howard

Violinist Cate Howard began her undergraduate studies at the New School of Music, Philadelphia, and completed her degree program at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa in violin performance and pedagogy. She continued graduate work through Temple University in Philadelphia where she studied with Jascha Brodsky, and in Cologne Germany where she was a student of Christiane Hutcap and Igor Ozim. Cate has has also completed a violin licentiate performance diploma through Trinity College, London.
As a professional orchestral and chamber musician, Cate has performed with the Transvaal Chamber Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Klassiche Philharmonie Bonn, Cape Town Symphony, Kammerorchester Marburg, Acton Chamber Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, Indian Hill Symphony, American Sinfonietta, and Pro Arte Orchestra of Boston. She has held violin faculty positions at the Wilmington Music School (Delaware), Settlement Music School (Philadelphia), Musikschule Marburg (Germany). In 1994, Cate became the director of the String Arts School of Concord MA, teaching violin and viola, and in 2001 joined the faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. As a workshop clinician Cate 

has taught in Germany, Florida, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan and Pennsylvania. She is and has been on the Suzuki summer institute faculty in DC, Maine, western Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ogontz New Hampshire, and South Carolina. For the 2012-13 academic year, Cate was the violin teaching fellow at Umoja Music School, Tanzania. 
Cate received the 2007 Daniel Orjiako Foundation Award in recognition of her contributions as a performer and organizer of numerous benefit concerts for the building of clinics, improved education opportunities, and the prevention of AIDS in southern Africa. In 2008, she published her first book How the Violin Plays the Violinist. In 2010, Cate was awarded the Massachusetts ASTA “studio teacher of the year”.
Cate is currently teaching in Castle Douglas, Scotland, where she is the new director of the Galloway Violin Studio.

Amanda James

Amanda James was first introduced to the Mother Tongue Method when her daughter learned the violin with Brenda Smith in Ayr.

From 1996 Amanda travelled to Cork in Eire where she trained as a Suzuki Method Violin teacher with Phillipa Lees and Trudy Byron Fahy. In 2000 Amanda transferred to the Scottish Teacher Training Course in Edinburgh run by Mysie Ferguson. Amanda’s pupils are members of the Kyle Suzuki Violin Group which has run Day and Weekend workshops at Wellington School in Ayr since 1999.

Amanda has taught at workshops in Cork, Galway, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Suzuki Method has given the opportunity to travel widely, attending Suzuki Conferences and Summer Schools in Dublin, Paris, Turin, Matsumoto, and Gdansk.  

Diana Dickerson

Diana Dickerson is a Graduate of the European Suzuki Association and has diplomas from both the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music and the London College of Music. She coordinates Suzuki Method for Flutes in the UK, training teachers from UK and abroad as well as helping to establish National events such as the Concert at the Royal Festival Hall.  Diana has been published in the main national flute journal for the British Flute Society.  She has a large private teaching practice as well as teaching in schools around the Bristol and North Somerset area and has had students in the National Children’s Orchestra. 

Danny Miller

Danny was born in Edinburgh and studied Violin at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with Peter Lissauer and then in Salzburg, Austria with Professor Igor Ozim of the Mozaretum Universitat. Prizes include the Bette & Willie MacPherson Prize for Solo Violin Playing, the Governor’s Prize for Chamber Music (Finalists) and the Mabel Glover String Quartet Competition (Highly Commended). In 2012, he was awarded an Apprenticeship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. 

As a performer, Danny enjoys a busy freelance schedule as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral musician across Scotland, Italy and Austria. He was Principal Second Violin of the Mediterranean Opera Festival Orchestra during their 2016 tour of Sicily where he also performed as a soloist with the orchestra. In 2017 he was invited to play for the Concertmaster of the Teatro Massimo, Palermo. Upcoming engagements include performing with the Varna Opera Academy, touring Italy with Raucous Rossini and The New Generation Opera Festival and performances at home and abroad as Leader of the Argyll String Quartet and with pianist, Ancuta Nite. The Miller Nite Duo are due to release two CDs in June.

Danny received his Suzuki training from Mysie Ferguson in Edinburgh and has held teaching positions at many institutions and schools across Scotland including Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is currently on the Instrumental Teaching Staff at Edinburgh Academy and George Watson’s College as well as running a busy private Suzuki Practice.

Elizabeth Peploe

I did not start playing the violin until I was 45! I seem to have done everything late…I was a mature student at Moray House, and then taught at Gilmerton, Moredun and Liberton Primary schools. My husband suggested I take up the fiddle as a sort of antidote to the stress of teaching, and I went along to the Shetland Fiddlers- then in Pilrig Street- and put in a note here and there. I began having lessons with a brilliant young Shetlander. By chance I heard about a Suzuki Conference in St. Andrews which  I attended- and was immediately ‘hooked’. The philosophy, the quality of teaching which I observed and the emphasis on ‘ear before eye’ totally appealed to me. I obsessively worked on my playing, helped now by David Hume. I was accepted on the Suzuki Teacher Training Course, then based at Hitchin.

I was given a post as an Instrumental Instructor by Colin O’Riordan for Liberton High and the feeder Primary schools. I also took private pupils, and was the first Suzuki teacher in Edinburgh. I feel grateful and privileged to be part of the world wide Suzuki Family

Elaine Sexton

Elaine grew up in Ireland, learning violin through the Suzuki Method with Patricia Kelleher. She moved to Scotland to study at the Royal Conservatoire. Whilst there, she won the Orchestral Prize, and the Hilda Bailey Violin Prize, and took part in many masterclasses, most notably with Midori, Jonathon Morton, and the Brodsky and Maggini Quartets. Elaine specialised in Early Music, taking classes with Margaret Faultless, Catherine Mackintosh, Adrian Butterfield, Walter Reiter, and Ruth Slater.

As a freelance violinist, Elaine has played with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Northern Sinfonia, Gabrieli Consort and Players, Irish Baroque Orchestra, and Dunedin Consort and Players.

Elaine began her Suzuki training in Edinburgh with Mysie Ferguson in 2012, and is currently taking Level 5 training at the Antwerp Conservatoire. Elaine is qualified as a Suzuki Viola teacher and Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) teacher. Elaine is currently teaching in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Mysie Ferguson

Mysie studied violin and viola at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. She played viola professionally for many years with the Academy of the BBC; the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and latterly as a freelance player. She toured extensively within Europe, Hong Kong,  America and Canada. 

Principally now an educator, Mysie has worked extensively with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland both as Director of its Training Orchestra and as strings coach and audition panellist. She is currently Head of Strings at the prestigious Edinburgh Academy. As a fully qualified Teacher Trainer of both violin and viola she is very involved in Suzuki Teacher Training in many countries. Mysie is much in demand as a workshop teacher having taught regularly in Denmark; Norway; Iceland; Spain; Ireland and the UK as well as teaching at the recent Suzuki Convention in Matsumoto, Japan.

Jane Sherwood

For the past 12 years Jane has been running the Leicester Suzuki Cello Group based in the East Midlands where she teaches cello both privately and in local state schools.  She has welcomed the opportunity to work with children and colleagues across Europe at various workshops including the National workshops in Cork and London, Dunfield House chamber music, Bryanston International Suzuki Summer School, Barcelona and most recently in Valladoloid, Spain.  Jane also helps with the management of the largest cello summer camp in Europe, Cellofest and is excited to be joining the Edinburgh Suzuki workshop in September.

Seonaid Aitken

Seonaid Aitken is a versatile, award-winning violinist, vocalist, pianist and composer/orchestrator from Fife, Scotland. Classically trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London), Seonaid has played regularly for 16 years with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. She specialises in Gypsy Jazz, performing extensively with her Scottish Jazz Award-nominated band Rose Room, as a guest with Swing 2017 and Dutch Classical/Jazz crossover violinist’s group the Tim Kliphuis Sextet, and she was recently invited to share the stage with jazz fingerstyle virtuoso, and former guitarist of Stephane Grappelli’s, Martin Taylor. She also plays in Country/Bluegrass and traditional Scottish/Irish Folk styles, featuring frequently with Country band Ashton Lane and touring for several years with Idlewild frontman and folk singer Roddy Woomble. Seonaid now presents BBC Radio Scotland’s new Sunday night show ‘Jazz Nights at the Quay’.

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