The Florida Music Institute is a non-profit organization existing to provide music education and development to children and adults. Many elements go into developing talent. Providing an inspiring environment in which to grow is one important facet. The Florida Music Institute is based in the beautiful city of St Petersburg, Florida and the week of courses will be held at the lovely St Petersburg Hilton. A highly sought-after faculty will join us in June to provide excellent instruction. Bringing such a powerful team together in such an extraordinary setting will help insure that participants have an amazing experience full of growth and opportunity.


Jennifer Diedrich, Director (Florida), Violin/Viola: In 2012, the Suzuki Association of the Americas approved a Florida Suzuki Summer Institute and it was held on the campus of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jennifer became the director and 2017 will mark the sixth year of hosting this institute. Jennifer is the director of Suzuki Strings of St Petersburg, which was founded in 2002. Ms. Diedrich has 40 years of experience in violin performance and instruction. It became clear that there was a great need to offer an institute experience to families in Florida. It is an honor to host Florida's Suzuki Institute. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she earned a degree in Human Development while also competing as an intercollegiate tennis player. Growing up in DeKalb, Illinois, Jennifer studied violin and viola with Arthur Montzka as well as the Vemeer Quartet at Northern Illinois University.

Ms. Diedrich joined the Tampa Bay Symphony in 1995 and has served as the director of the Young Artist Competition while also serving on the board. She has also served as a member of the music committee at the Museum of Fine Arts in St Petersburg. In 2006, Ms. Diedrich joined the education staff at the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute ( in teaching early childhood music. Ms. Diedrich has attended the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point (WI), the Colorado Institute, and the Ithaca College Institute (NY). She has trained in Suzuki Pedagogy with Catherine McGlasson, Nancy Lokken, Ronda Cole and Carrie Reuning-Hummel.

Ms Diedrich has a never-ending passion to help children (and people) reach their potential while focusing on the development of the whole person. Lives are enhanced in an environment rich in music. Living in St. Petersburg, Florida since 1992, Jennifer has also witnessed the beautiful revitalization of the St. Petersburg with a vibrant arts community.  Music, culinary and visual art, as well as sight-seeing are abundant here.  Come for the music and stay to enjoy the beauty!


Jennifer Burton (Wisconsin), Violin,
has been teaching Suzuki violin lessons since 1977 and currently is on the faculty at the Aber Suzuki Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She taught at the Suzuki Institute of Dallas from 1993 to 2006 and had a private studio in Dallas and Stevens Point from 2006-2010. She began her career at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center at UW-Stevens Point where she taught for 17 years. Jenny received her Masters Degree with Margery Aber at UW-Stevens Point.

Jenny has been a violin clinician at 200 workshops and summer Suzuki camps across the United States. She served 3-year term on the national board of the Suzuki Association of the Americas from 1996-1999 and served as the editor of the State, Provincial and Local Association Committee for 4 years. Ms. Burton was President of the North Texas Suzuki Association and currently is the President of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin. She was awarded the Outstanding Violin Teacher Award at the Colorado Suzuki Institute in 2001 and was given the Distinguished Service Award by the NTSA in 2005. Her book, Sharpen Your Tools: A practice companion for Suzuki parents and teachers, is distributed worldwide by Alfred Publishing Company.

Ms. Burton enjoys walking, biking, bird watching, cats, collecting shells and papermaking. She is an owner of the Green Bay Packers and has been a member of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra for 20 years. While in Dallas, she was the Concert Mistress of the Cathedral of Hope Orchestra, which performed at conferences in Toronto and Houston. She plays on occasion at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point and is passionate about bringing her students to nursing homes and art festivals. 

Susan Baer (Washington State)
 is a freelance violinist and violin teacher residing on Whidbey Island in Washington State. In her four decades of experience with the Suzuki method, Susan has run a thriving private studio, co-founded a Suzuki school, organized workshops, taught in a long-term training program, and served on the board of directors of her local foundation. Susan is in high demand as a Suzuki clinician and registered SAA violin teacher trainer. She has served as area coordinator for six SAA conferences, has been published in the SAA journal, and has served two terms on the SAA Board of Directors. Dr. Baer holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree, a Master of Music degree in violin performance, and a PhD in fine arts.

Tina Raimondi studied music at De Paul University and the University of Minnesota, where she received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. After serving as a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach for three years, she joined the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997. Presently, Tina maintains a large private teaching studio and is a member of the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra. She also performs with the Palm Beach Symphony,  and the Boca Symphonia. An active recording musician, Tina can be heard with artists such as Barbra Streisand, Jon Secada, Michael Jackson, Busta Rhymes, and Thalia.  A longtime member of the Suzuki Association of South Florida, Tina has held several leadership positions, including President.  

Lisa Deakins (South Carolina), Violin/Fiddle, is a registered Suzuki violin teacher living in Charleston, South Carolina.  She is a versatile musician who enjoys performing and teaching across the United States and whose music has taken her to renowned stages including the Grand Ole Opry, the Crook & Chase television show, and Song of the Mountains.   Lisa's love for music began at the age of four when she started Suzuki violin lessons in Burlington, NC.  She continued her music education at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Commercial M
Lisa Deakins
usic Performance.  Lisa also holds a Master of Music degree in Suzuki Violin Pedagogy and Music Education from East Carolina University.   
        Lisa has worked professionally as a fiddle player and background vocalist for country music artists Pam Tillis and Grand Ole Opry legend Whisperin’ Bill Anderson.  She has also performed with Charlie Daniels, Bobby Osborne, Chris Young, The Daughters of Bluegrass, and many more.  Lisa has produced three professional  fiddle recordings and  can also be heard on the Daughters of Bluegrass CD titled “Bluegrass Bouquet,” for which she received an International Bluegrass Music Association Award for “Recorded Event of the Year.” 
         Lisa is the owner of  “ Deakins Suzuki Strings, ”  where she enjoys teaching children of all ages at her home studio in Mount Pleasant.    Her students study various fiddling styles as well as classical playing, and Lisa has compiled and arranged a music book for Suzuki students called “Fiddlin' Favorites,”  which is sold nationwide and licensed by the International Suzuki Association.   When Lisa is not teaching, you can find her performing in bluegrass, country, and classical ensembles throughout the southeast or strolling the streets of downtown Charleston with her husband, Derek.  

Derek Deakins is a fiddler, violinist, guitarist, and orchestra conductor originally from Kingsport, Tennessee. His musical journey began with Suzuki violin lessons at the age of five and has taken him all around the world as a professional musician, including venues like Madison Square Garden and the Grand Ole Opry.      
     Derek holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Instrumental Music Education from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.  Derek has performed with major recording artists such as The Osborne Brothers, Miranda Lambert, and Blake Shelton, and his television appearances include Grand Ole Opry Live, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, The Jimmy Kimmell Show, and Late Night with Craig Ferguson.  Derek has also recorded and produced four professional albums.
     Recently, Derek has enjoyed working as Director of Orchestras at Wando High School in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina, where he also pioneered the guitar and Advanced Placement Music Theory programs.  Derek is trained in the Suzuki method and is a 2017 quarterfinalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award.  He has co-authored a music book called Fiddlin' Favorites Volume 2 for Suzuki violin students and performs throughout the southeast with Gravel Road Acoustic Trio and other bluegrass and country music groups.  
     Additionally, Derek is honored to be a musician and teaching artist on staff at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He lives in Charleston, SC with his wife, Lisa, and their son.