Mary Howles


Mary studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire, where she gained a BA Hons and performing and teaching diplomas. She then completed a PGCE year at Birmingham University, which included what would prove to be an inspiring opportunity to observe Heather Clemson teaching violin in schools in the Birmingham area. Mary’s contact with the equally inspiring Heidi Nixon (then training on the Suzuki course) led to an interview with Sandwell Education Authority, who wanted to appoint a violin teacher interested in becoming a Suzuki Teacher.

Mary then completed the 5 levels of the Suzuki Teacher Training course while working in schools in the Sandwell area, bringing the teaching method to as many families as possible, with the support of Heidi Nixon and Andrew Crabtree – Suzuki trained colleagues – attending workshops (Birmingham, Ayr, Edinburgh, Bryanston, Cheltenham, Bristol, Paris) and large scale concerts in London and Birmingham. After 11 years, Mary moved to work for Worcestershire County Council as she was expecting her first baby and wanted to work near to where she lived, enabling maximum family time.

Mary worked for the music service in Worcestershire, now ‘Severn Arts’ for 20 years, which afforded her a great variety of music teaching experiences, including music curriculum class teaching from Nursery through to GCSE and ‘A’ Level, violin teaching, string orchestra directing, Youth Orchestra string coaching, running an Area Music Centre, liaising with schools and line managing other teachers.

Having now left employment with ‘Severn Arts’, Mary is enjoying her independent Suzuki Teaching practice at her home (called “The Violin Hut”, as the entrance resembles a beach hut!), which combines well with teaching on the Suzuki focussed ‘Young Strings Project’ at the Birmingham Conservatoire on Saturdays. Mary also works part-time as a music teacher at South Bromsgrove High School for students aged 13 – 18 years.

Mary is very happy to have had the support of her wonderful husband, David, a musician, for 31 years and they have two fabulous, bright children, (it must have been the Suzuki lessons!), Reuben and Rachel, aged 22 and 20, who both love music – amongst many other things.