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.

 Dr. Beth Cantrell (Virginia), Cello:
An SAA registered Teacher Trainer, “Dr. Beth”, has taught children and adults at Suzuki Institutes and workshops throughout the 
United States for over 30 years. She is currently adjunct faculty at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, and maintains a thriving private studio at Crozet Arts in Central Virginia. In addition to teaching, Dr. Cantrell has performed with the Richmond Symphony, Opera on the James, the Charlottesville Chamber Orchestra, the Waynesboro Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, and the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra. A founding member of the Charlottesville Cello Club, she serves on its steering committee.

She was active in the Atlanta area for 18 years as a teacher, chamber and orchestral performer, adjudicator, and recording studio musician. Prior to moving to Virginia with her family in 2001, she served as principal cellist for the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, and was on the faculty of Kennesaw State University and the Georgia Academy of Music. While serving as the director of the community outreach program for the School of Music at Georgia State University, she was actively involved in reestablishing the Atlanta Suzuki Institute. She can be heard as cello soloist on the bestselling album “Orinoco Flow” by the Taliesin Orchestra.

Dr. Beth earned degrees in cello performance and music history from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, and the University of Georgia.

Other interests include outdoor recreation, cooking, crossword puzzles, and reading. In addition, she rows with Beaver Creek Sculling in Crozet. Her most recent article for the Suzuki Journal was an essay reflecting on the experience of being a beginning rower.


Carrie Reuning-Hummel (New York), Violin/Viola, 
began the study of the violin at the age of five with her parents, Joan and Sanford Reuning in Ithaca, New York. She was one of the first Suzuki students in the U.S. and studied with Shinichi Suzuki on numerous occasions.

Carrie is very active as a Suzuki teacher and a registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer. She has taught at hundreds of institutes and workshops throughout the continental U.S. as well as in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and Israel. In 1986 she was honored to receive the Shar Distinguished Young Teacher Award. Carrie served on the national Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas for six years.

Carrie received a BA in Psychology from the University of Iowa and is a professional violist and an active performer. She recently completed a Master’s of Science degree in Communications at Ithaca College, writing a thesis on powerful learning experiences. Carrie home-schooled her two children and is interested in exploring parent/child practice partnerships with families. She has written a book called “Time to Practice: A Companion for Parents.” Her website is

Ann Montzka-Smelser (Illinois), Violin/Viola, 
has been a Suzuki student for 44 years, a Suzuki teacher for 30 years, a Suzuki parent for 15 years and a Suzuki Teacher Trainer for 5 years. In between receiving her Bachelors of Music Education and Masters in Performance and Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University, Ann studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.

Ann has performed in many orchestras and chamber ensembles and is currently principal violist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Ann is on the music faculty at Northern Illinois University and Wheaton College teaching Suzuki Pedagogy. She is also director of the NIU CSA Suzuki Strings Program. Ann has enjoyed working with Suzuki families at Festivals in Lima, Peru, Singapore and Suzuki workshops and Institutes throughout the United States . Ann lives in DeKalb, IL with her children, Ben and Genna, and her husband, Linc.

 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.