Mrs. Betty R. Massey
Violin, Viola Teacher
Betty began playing the violin at four years of age which is not unusual today, but was in the days before Dr. Suzuki’s method became established. Her first teacher was her mother, a fine violin soloist and instructor, who started Betty on the smallest instrument available though it was still too large. Betty continued to study with her mother until high school. She was concert-master of the All-City Orchestra of Ft. Worth and won the city’s concerto competition in her junior year, but it was not until she won a scholarship to spend a summer at Interlochen National Music Camp in Michigan that she decided to major in music in college.
She attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and graduated with a music education degree. During her course work, she wrote a research paper on the Suzuki Method and found the subject fascinating. She married her husband Mike soon after graduation and accepted a position teaching orchestra for the Ft. Worth school district, but continued to be extremely interested in the Suzuki Method.
After her two daughters were born, Betty wanted them to experience violin lessons the Suzuki way. Fortunately, Gwen Runyon, who pioneered the method in Texas, accepted the girls as her students. Betty had the benefit of observing Gwen’s excellent teaching at her daughters’ lessons and also began to take Suzuki training in the summers. She began to teach group lessons for Gwen and to incorporate as many Suzuki principles as possible in her public school classes.
In 2000, after a trip to Japan, Betty decided to retire from public school teaching and open a private Suzuki studio. The studio enrollment has grown to forty students. In addition to teaching violin, Betty plays viola in her church orchestra and two quartets. She and Mike have five grand children, one of whom is a Suzuki piano student.