Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I usually joke that I’m not from anywhere; I was a Marine Brat and my family moved a ton. I went to 12 different schools before I graduated high school, and my college years were the longest I’d ever stayed in one place. I was born in Texas, and my parents were from Texas and were always trying to get back. I wound up graduating from high school there and went to Baylor for my undergraduate degree before relocating to the east coast, getting my master’s from NYU, and settling in Greenwich in 2004. The fact that I’ve now lived in Greenwich for well over a decade is kind of amazing to me.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
I have two boys: my oldest is 8 (as of today), and my youngest just turned 3. They both have October birthdays so we just turned the clock on their ages.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
People always seem surprised when they learn that I don’t and haven’t ever really listened to popular music. I am a cellist, and I truly love classical music! People don’t always realize the passion and stories in that music. Classical music shouldn’t ever be boring- it’s about war and death, heaven and springtime, joy and grief. I do occasionally listen to some folk music, Beatles, and a few things not considered classical but I have really always loved the complexity and depth in “classical” music. I find that kids and grown ups often do too once they are exposed to it more.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
In general, I’m always grateful for my many sisters. I’m the 3rd of 4 girls, and we were all born within 5.5 years. I’m really not totally sure how my mom survived especially with all the constant moving, but I’m so grateful to have all those sisters because they have always been my built in friends and built in support system. I always had at least one (usually more) sister with me at a new school, and now as grown ups with our own families we are even closer (even though we are literally spread all over the globe). We definitely continue to support each other through parenthood.
Favorite things to do with your kids?
I love to read, and I love to read with my kids. When my older son began learning to read it just felt magical, and it has only become better since then. Reading is like unlocking a mystery for them. We also love to be outdoors. And of course, we make music together! My husband is also a professional cellist, our oldest son has been playing cello for 5 years, and our youngest son just started cello too, so now we are a 4 cello family!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I’m the Founder and Director of the Greenwich Suzuki Academy: a Suzuki Method music school in town. The Suzuki Method is both an international teaching method and a philosophically-based educational movement. Basically, we use music as a platform to develop deeper and more well-rounded children; we stress the value of a strong sense of community and caring for others, noticing beauty and wonder in the world, understanding the value of hard work and dedication through many years of study, and developing a deep love of learning. It’s hard to sum up the Suzuki Movement quickly but if you are familiar with Montessori philosophies, there are many shared beliefs. At its core, our program is a community, and we have some the of the kindest, most loving, wonderful parents I know. I am truly so grateful that my own kids get to grow up in this community.
What’s one thing you would like for everyone to know about your business?
The Greenwich Suzuki Academy community is an amazing place and gives kids and parents so much, BUT it’s not the right fit for every family. We are a big commitment for families, and in many ways Suzuki becomes a way to parent as well. We are not the right fit for families that want kids to do a million after school activities. I really believe it’s important for kids to do fewer activities, but do them in a deep and meaningful way, but it is also important for them to have down time, space for unstructured play, and time to develop autonomy. In general, I usually tell parents that Suzuki and one other activity (often a sport) per kid is probably enough.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
The Greenwich community has been hugely instrumental in both the lives of my family and the success of our program. A big part of being a Suzuki teacher and a Suzuki parent is about life-long learning, and parenting is a humbling process for sure. It requires being able to see when things we are doing are perhaps not the best, and continuing to work on ways to make things better for our children and family. The supportive and nurturing community of our program reflects the best part of the greater Greenwich parenting community. Parenting is such a journey, and I think in many ways, it helps a person finish growing up. Our Suzuki program aims to help give parents tools for this journey, and even though I had been a Suzuki teacher for 16 years before I became a Suzuki parent, my Suzuki parenting journey continues to give me so much in large part because of the wonderful parenting community we have here.