The Suzuki School of Newton is a non-profit instrumental music school offering lessons in Suzuki violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, guitar, flute, harp, music theory, chamber music, and orchestra. We also offer an integrated arts preschool.

 Staff       Board of Directors       Mission       History


Sachiko Isihara

Associate DIRECTOR Emerita

Marlene Lerer


Debra Perry


William Schuller


Amanda Cook

Staff Bios

William Schuller is a Boston-area arts administrator and artist. After graduating from Boston University magna cum laude with a degree in Art History, he joined the staff of the Suzuki School of Newton, where he has served as Operations Manager since 2010. Outside the Suzuki School, he is an active member of Boston's theater community, where he works as an actor, choreographer, and writer with numerous disparate theater companies and working artists. He is also a hobbyist Python programmer and a very amateur dancer.

Amanda Cook is a Boston-based editor, writer, and arts administrator with a background in flute performance and higher education. In addition to her role as the Registrar at SSN, she assists with grant writing, marketing, and development. Amanda holds degrees from West Virginia University (DMA), Kent State University (MM), and George Mason University (BM). Outside of her work in arts management, Amanda is editor-in-chief of I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, an online contemporary classical music publication.



Anitha Gopalan, President

Barrie Wheeler, Vice President

Karen Lourence, Clerk

David Gaylin, Treasurer

Alyssa Lawson, Faculty Representative

Mary Mullen, Immediate Past President

Martha Fishman, Past President


Ijeoma Anyanwu

Mark Bauer

Bonny Boatman

Kurt Borcherding

Jeana Franconi

Kathleen Grieser

Susanne Potts

Robbie Silverman

Jane Starkman

Barry Ticho



The mission of the Suzuki School of Newton is to instill a love and respect for music that will enrich its students throughout their lives, and to promote early childhood intellectual, cultural and character development through the teaching philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki that incorporates musical instrument instruction, parent involvement and community performances.

The Suzuki School of Newton will:

  • Teach children to play instruments according to the teaching philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and help them, through their development as musicians, build self-confidence and a capacity for self-discipline.
  • Involve teachers, students, and parents in a learning triangle that fosters love of learning and builds music skills.
  • Provide students with performance opportunities.
  • Share the music of the school with the community through public concerts.
  • Serve as a resource center for the Suzuki Method through workshops, teacher training, an innovative curriculum, and an informative library.


The Suzuki School of Newton was founded by Gwendoline Thornblade in 1986 with the mission of promoting early childhood cultural, intellectual and character development through a proven music education program that uses individual and group instrument instruction, music theory training, parent-child interaction and community performance experience. The teaching philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was designed to help children, through their development as musicians, to build self-respect, self-confidence and a capacity for self-discipline. A key component was to provide students at the earliest levels with performance opportunities, sharing the music of the school with the community through public concerts. Instrumental instruction spans a range of instruments: violin, viola, cello, flute, recorder, guitar and piano. Over the past 32 years, SSN has served over 1200 students. The Suzuki School of Newton is unique as the only dedicated Suzuki program in Greater Boston offering early childhood multi-instrument training by superbly qualified, certified faculty.

Sachiko Isihara became director in September 1998 and has led the school through a period of transition and consolidation by establishing a strong team of teachers and building a more cohesive curriculum. The school now has approximately 300 students and has a team of 20 teachers, 6 accompanists and a very active board of directors.

In September 2005, the Suzuki School of Newton moved to the Newton Cultural Center, 225 Nevada Street, Newtonville, (Massachusetts 02460). In collaboration with the City of Newton's Office of Cultural Affairs, Arts in the Parks, New Philharmonia Orchestra and Warmlines, the Suzuki School of Newton has entered into a unique collaboration with civic and cultural organizations so that they may expand the contributions made to the community and greater Boston area through a very unique partnership. In conjunction with its celebration of its 20th Anniversary season, the school offers a rich array of concerts and events including its Artist Concert Series featuring renowned musicians Karen Gomyo, Max Levinson, Emmanuel Feldman, Allison Eldredge, and Joy Cline Phinney and the 20th Anniversary Gala featuring the Charness Family Quintet.

In July 2013, the Suzuki School of Newton moved to Temple Reyim, 1860 Washington Street, Auburndale, MA. After several years at United Parish of Auburndale, in Spring 2019 the school moved its music program to its new permanent home at 1615 Beacon Street in Waban in the historic Staples-Craft-Wiswall farmstead. Its preschool program will follow in summer 2019.


Five or six times a year, children's performances are a highlight for others. Students view performances as sharing, fun opportunities. The regimen intersperses group and individual exposures to gently develop confidence and poise. Even at three years of age, children are taught to practice their bows before and following a piece to normalize a relationship with the audience. There is rarely a case of stage fright.

The Suzuki School of Newton regularly participates in City of Newton events, public library performances, and nursing homes activities. SSN has been a past recipient from Fund for the Arts in Newton (FAN) to facilitate an outreach program for shut-ins and SSN students have performed collaboratively with the New Philharmonia Orchestra of Newton under the baton of Ronald Knudsen. SSN alumni have represented the school well, going on to excel in other music programs such as the NEC Preparatory Division, the Eastman School of Music, the Yale University School of Music and others. SSN alumni have also attained recognition as prizewinners in major international competitions including the Tchaikovsky competition and they place well in international professional competitions in Europe. An annual Faculty Chamber Concert, which is open to the public, brings the school community together to honor faculty and inspire students.

As part of its role in serving the community, SSN offers full scholarships to families who are residents in a local battered women's shelter. The positive and nurturing environment of the school has proven ideal for this cooperative program. No family is turned away for financial reasons. Need-based scholarships are funded by the James Thornblade Memorial Scholarship fund.

Commitment to Equal Opportunity

The Suzuki School of Newton believes that all people are entitled to equal opportunity. We follow state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination. We do not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of age, race, religion, gender, disability, national origin or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. It is expected that all are to follow this policy in dealings with children, parents, visitors and staff of the Suzuki School of Newton.