"Teaching music is not my main purpose.
I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music
and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline,
and endurance. They get a beautiful heart."
- Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
Hi there! I'd like to take up this space of internet to tell you a bit about me. I began my violin journey at the age of four when I had a profound conversation with my parents. It went something like this: Them: "Do you want to play the violin?" Me: "Sure!" We had no idea where any of it would lead.
Thankfully, I eventually fell in love with the instrument and pursued a Bachelor's of Music degree at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, studying under the tutelage of John McGrosso and David Gillham, graduating in 2009.
Fast forward a few years. In May of 2017, I graduated with a Master's of Music in Violin Performance with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy (try saying that five times fast).
For many years, my dream was to provide violin lessons to every student that wanted them, not only for those that could afford them. Suzuki Harmony STL is the realization of that dream and I could not be more excited to see where this journey takes us. When I am not teaching, I can be found hiking with my husband and two sons or reading a book in a coffee shop (or at least dreaming about doing so). Thanks for taking your time to learn about me and Suzuki Harmony STL!
James Young has been a music educator for 13 years, including 10 in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. He has experience teaching vocal music, band and guitar to grades K-12. James currently resides in Ferguson, MO and loves being connected to his community through teaching music. He has his Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Missouri- St. Louis and is currently working toward Suzuki Guitar method certification. He is also currently a board member and assists with group violin classes for Suzuki Harmony STL.
Haydn Jones began violin lessons at 7 years old. Demonstrating an early aptitude and passion for her instrument, Haydn competed in regional, state, and nationwide fiddle contests, placing first in her division at the California State Fiddle Contest and third at the National Fiddle Contest. At age 10, Haydn expressed an interest in classical music and became a Rose Hills Scholar at The Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, where she studied under Richard Schwabe.
In 2011, Haydn's family moved to St. Louis, where she studied with Winifred Crock for three years and served as concertmaster of Webster Community Music School's Young People's Symphonic Orchestra. In 2015, she began studying with John McGrosso of the Arianna String Quartet and became a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. In the spring of 2022, she graduated with a degree in music performance from the University of Missouri - St. Louis, where she studied under John McGrosso and Julia Sakharova.
Shannon Merciel is a dynamic performer, appearing as an orchestral, chamber, solo, and pit musician in the US and abroad. Shannon was most recently a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the 21/22 season and performs with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Illinois Symphony. Shannon is the cellist of Trio Doyenne, an international piano trio founded in Glasgow in 2018, who appears in concert regularly in the UK and Europe and has been broadcasted on the National Radio of Lithuania.
Shannon began fostering her teaching career in 2014 during her undergraduate years at the University of Missouri-Columbia through the Community Music Program. She went on to mentor students at the Eduardo Ocón Festival for Youth in Málaga in 2018 and was a teaching assistant to Edward Arron at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst until 2020. Shannon currently teaches through Suzuki Harmony and is adjunct faculty at the Community Music School of Webster University.
Shannon received her Bachelor of Music from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2016) and Master of Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2018). She has been lucky to study with incredible teachers including Darry Dolezal, Alison Wells, and Edward Arron.
As an instructor, Mc Kayla Talasek aspires to not only build up all generations of musicians, but to inspire and coach students how to be well rounded, intentional, thought-provoking spirits, using their instrument as the main resource. Her hope is that her teachings will also extend over into other aspects of their careers and day to day lives, as to provide good advice and knowledge for each students mind, body, and soul. During lessons, each student is asked to push themselves past their own comfort zone and learn how to hone in on their discipline, respect, and daily lifestyle that suites them best.
Currently, she performs on viola with the Reno Philharmonic, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and the Missouri Symphony Orchestra.
When she is not teaching, performing, or practicing her instruments, Mc Kayla loves walking and going on adventures with her dog Hana Banana and her kitten Peaches O'Malley, maintaining a consistent fitness regimen, attending concerts, and traveling to new places.