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Jodie St. Clair & Tiffany Kettel

Photo by Paul Neevel.

Albuquerque native Jodie St. Clair began violin lessons at age 9. “I got serious when I was 14,” she says.  “I played in the Albuquerque Youth Symphony. I started teaching at 16.” A violin performance major at Northern Arizona University, she trained in the Suzuki teaching method, modeled on language learning.  “Young children listen to music, then learn to ‘speak’ on the instrument,” she explains. “They learn to read later on.” After graduation in 2005, St. Clair moved to Eugene to continue her Suzuki training. She also continued to teach, and early in 2009 she opened the Eugene Suzuki Music Academy at 170 W. 12th Ave. “I love being downtown, close to the library,” she says. “My goal is to create community through music.” Later in 2009, she married writer Anthony St. Clair, a Virginia transplant. Last fall, with ESMA prospering and her son Conner to be born in January, it was time to find a second teacher. “I took over the entire studio for winter term,” says Tiffany Kettel, who was also a full-time grad student. “It was crazy.” Home-schooled through high school in Gadston, Ala., Kettel started teaching violin at 15. She majored in music at University of Alabama, moved to Portland on a whim, discovered Suzuki and came to Eugene to study. “I love to be as busy as possible,” says Kettel, an active musician who plays in both a medieval music ensemble and a punk rock band.