Rebecca Burris

Suzuki Classical Guitar

Portrait shot of Rebecca Burris

I am currently accepting beginning to intermediate Suzuki classical guitar students. I teach students of all ages starting as young as 3 years of age.

I am a trained Suzuki teacher--registered with the Suzuki Associate of the Americas and the Suzuki Association of Utah. For more information on the Suzuki Experience please read here.

Teaching music is one of the most meaningful and enjoyable things I do. Learning music is a journey of discovery: Courage in the face of vulnerability, self-awareness, beauty, and collaboration. Guiding students through the process of breaking down a challenge, recognizing the information gleaned from every effort, and achieving improvement is rewarding Every time. It is my goal to be encouraging, to help parents and students with home practice ideas, and to inspire excellence.

My Suzuki journey began with Hiroko Primrose at age 3. I studied violin with Hiroko through and beyond the Suzuki repertoire. I continued my violin studies through junior high with BYU professors Percy Kalt and Donna Fairbanks--then earned my BA degree in Music from BYU.

I also studied piano, voice, and most recently, classical guitar. With eight of my own children, I experienced being a Suzuki Parent and learned much from each of the six different studios my children participated in. I completed Suzuki Teacher Training courses in both Suzuki violin and classical guitar and have more than 20 years of teaching experience. I participated in a variety of community, university, and professional choirs, orchestras, and ensembles. I enjoy serving and sharing my musical talents at church and in the community. I am grateful for the many, many teachers (Suzuki and otherwise) I have had the priviledge to work with and learn from.

What is the Suzuki Method

A philosophy and approach to teaching

4-yr-old Ellie playing the guitar with Me

In the early 1930's, Shinichi Suzuki was asked to teach a 4-year-old to play the violin. At the time, teaching instrumental music to young children was not common. This challenged his thinking and approach to teaching.

Dr. Suzuki realized that children have the potential to learn at a high level with the right environment. Language is a "high-level skill" that most children acquire easily at a very young age. Children are surrounded by language even before birth. Parents expect them to speak and introduce sounds and words--offering encouragement. Language mastery grows through repetition and adding new material. In time, some cultures introduce reading and writing. But, most children speak well before the abstract concept of symbols representing letters and words is introduced. The ability to read and write then accelerates learning. Suzuki took this pattern of learning and applied it to music instruction.

Parent Involvement

Parents are responsible for the musical learning environment of the child. Parent education classes take place before the child’s lessons begin. Parents learn about Suzuki philosophy, home-teaching strategies, and fundamental guitar skills so they can be effective models and “home teachers” for their children.

Parents attend both private and group lessons with their children to take notes and participate in activities as directed by the teacher. The parent remains involved through the junior high years at varying levels while the child learns and establishes good practicing habits.

Delayed Reading

Just as children speak before they read, the Suzuki Approach focuses on playing and developing basic technical competence before introducing note-reading. The Suzuki Experience is very individual. While the repertoire is a consistent element that helps students relate with each other, students still learn at their own rate. The point at which a teacher introduces note-reading is different for each child, as they are ready.


Parents play repertoire recordings and other fine music for the child to create an enriched learning environment. Children hear notes, rhythm, dynamics, shaping, form and other aspects of musicianship. Listening to the same pieces repeatedly helps the child recognize when their musical attempts are correct which facilitates learning the skill of self-assessment.

Repetition and Review

Repetition is essential to learning music. A few notes, a phrase, a section of a piece--are all building blocks of a piece. Just as children continue to use new words after learning them, they continue to use the pieces they learn. The Suzuki Method uses graded repertoire to present technical problems in the context of music instead of assigning musical exercises. Reviewing the repertoire keeps the technique fresh and also allows the child to use old pieces to practice new technique. The repetition also builds memory, fluency, and confidence. More sophisticated playing develops as the child focuses more on how he plays than what he is playing.


Repetition of a set repertoire allows children of varying abilities to play together in group classes and performances. In this setting, students experience performance practice, teamwork, socialization, and following. Skills are reinforced and flexibility is developed.