Carol Sykes

On Friday, September 24, 2021, Carol Sykes, Suzuki violin teacher, founding member and first president of both the Suzuki Association of Massachusetts and the Young Peoples‘ String Consort, passed away at age 83.

Carol Sykes was born May 13, 1938 in Pittsfield MA to George and Olive Sykes. She received her B.M. and M.M. degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.  

Carol, who spent over 60 years teaching violin, touched the lives of approximately 10,000 students over her esteemed career.  More than 80 of her students have become professional violinists, Suzuki teachers, and symphony players.  Her passion for music and the violin was ignited when she studied with the famous Schinichi Suzuki in Japan in 1967, and returned home to be the first person to bring the “Suzuki method” of teaching to New England.   Carol also had the opportunity to perform and sing in the chorus at Tanglewood and the New England Conservatory under several famous Boston Symphony conductors, including Leonard Bernstein.

Carol will always be remembered for her sense of humor and her famous turtle pendant and snail earrings, which symbolized her core principals which she worked hard to instill in her students:  “Practice as slowly as a turtle until you get it right, and “If that’s not slow enough, then practice like a snail” 

Her brothers, Franklin Sykes and William Stewart, her nephew, Brian Sykes, his wife Maryrose Sykes, grand nephews, Kevin and Christopher Sykes, all the members of the Stewart family, and many, many dear friends, colleagues and students survive Carol.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday October 23rd at the Pittsfield Cemetery, 203 Wahconah St., at 11 o’clock a.m.  In lieu of flowers any donations may be sent to the Carol Sykes Scholarship Fund established at the Suzuki Association of the Americas.