Krish Swamy and Anu Krishnan, student parents

“We’ve had the unique and enriching experience of having our daughter attend Dr. Barrett’s Suzuki Music Studio in Reston, VA. Our daughter learned the violin for approximately two and a half years, where she not only learned to appreciate and play the instrument, but also got a well-rounded education around learning, persisting and growing in a challenging area such as music.

Dr. Barrett is an exceptional music teacher for all kinds of string instruments, our experience of course being mostly about the violin. She has an extremely strong command over the violin, based on sound technique. In her teaching, she emphasizes producing good music and using the right technique to produce good music. She has instilled an appreciation of good playing form in our daughter – and this is consistently seen with all the students who are part of the music studio. She also has a knack of knowing when to introduce advanced playing techniques, in line with the development trajectory of her students. She has consistently challenged our daughter towards higher levels of performance and provided the right guidance and support to achieve those standards.

Dr. Barrett has also introduced our daughter to music theory and appreciation of intonation and rhythm within theory. True to the Suzuki philosophy, she has stressed appreciating music through the mind, the body and the senses – and not just playing it off the sheet in a rote manner. She trains her students on achieving perfect pitch and goes over the music scale regularly, to maintain the level of knowledge.

Finally, more than anything else, Dr. Barrett has truly imparted an education – a gift that goes way beyond music. She has a diverse student body and creates a lovely mix of interactions where older students can model the way for younger learners. She has taught our daughter the power of practice, and practicing and playing in a mindful and purpose-driven way. These lessons are invaluable not just to learning the violin, but rather to any field of human endeavor and for this, we are full of gratitude.

As we plan to move across the country and begin a new life on the West Coast, one of the big things we will miss is the Friday evening lessons at the Barrett studio. Our daughter will miss her time with someone who she respects and adores. And I (Krish) – as a parent and a violinist myself – will miss my own interaction, where we discussed music and the philosophy of life in equal parts. Good luck, Dr.Barrett – thank you for everything you’ve taught us and of course, through the wonders of the iPhone, we will absolutely stay in touch!”