Jessica McNamara is the founder and director of the Ridgefield Suzuki School. Having been a Suzuki student as a child herself, Jessica always had dreams of starting a Suzuki School in a community that could benefit from this wonderful philosophy and method. Jessica began violin at the age of 6 in an introductory Suzuki program that was being offered in her elementary school in Queens, NY. She quickly fell in love with the violin and her mother decided to pursue the violin for Jessica through the Suzuki method. It was through the Suzuki method that Jessica developed excellent technique, proficiency on her instrument, and a true enjoyment of making music. Jessica continued to play violin throughout high school, playing in local youth symphonies, regional festivals and summer camps. She went to Providence College on a full scholarship and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Music Education. Jessica also holds a Masters Degree in Music Education from the Hartt School of Music. Jessica has done Suzuki training with Ed Kreitman, Susan Baer, James Hutchins and other notable teacher trainers.
Jessica taught middle school orchestra in the Westport public schools for 11 years while also maintaining a private studio. Since 2009, Jessica has been conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra at the prestigious Norwalk Youth Symphony. Jessica also conducts with the Fairfield County Summer String Orchestra, a summer program she and her husband founded in 2009. Beginning with just one level and 50 students, the program has developed to a four-tiered organization for students in 3rd to 12th grades, with over 200 students participating.
Jessica and her colleagues at Ridgefield Suzuki School enjoy inspiring children as young as 3 years old to begin playing violin, viola, cello or piano and continue to make music an important part of their lives as they grow into adults.
Mallory Mercier holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music with a concentration in String Pedagogy from the University of New Mexico. Mallory completed long term Teacher Training, books 1-10, in the Suzuki violin method with Susan Kempter, a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Mallory has taught Suzuki violin at the University of New Mexico lab school and the New Mexico Music School. She has also taught violin and piano at various other music schools in the New Mexico area. Mallory is looking forward to sharing her love of music and extensive knowledge of pedagogy in both violin and piano with the families of the Ridgefield Suzuki School!