Ginny Atherton

Flute Teacher

Ginny Atherton

SAA Member


Tujunga, CA
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Ginny is a long time Suzuki educator introduced to practical applications of Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy and approach by violinist Estelle Frankel, who was an early student of John Kendall. Estelle helped a young public school secondary orchestra teacher understand how to transition her students from her elementary Suzuki based instruction into full orchestra inclusion. In Wilmington, DE, Estelle also had a private studio and Ginny’s son began his formal musical journey with Estelle. This gave Ginny first hand insights into parenting through Suzuki! The journey led to attendance at Suzuki Institutes, notably Ithaca Talent Education, when young David changed to ‘cello. About this same time, flutist Toshio Takahashi was publishing his adaptation of Shinichi Suzuki’s string method. Adapted flutes were still to be imagined, designed and marketed.

Ginny’s own journey as a teacher has wended through public and private schools, elementary, secondary and junior college and aiding adult learners in their quest to make music. A flutist by specialized training, she has enjoyed extraordinary opportunities (see below).

Preferring to initiate AND develop young players, often taking high achievers to national recognition, beginners for the recent three decades have begun with Suzuki-Takahashi based instruction. In the early 1980s, Flute Teacher Trainer Gretel Shanley organized a Book I-II training with Toshio Takahashi at Cal State Northridge, attended by Ginny and two of her students who were brothers. The certificate seems not to have been registered with SAA…perhaps prior to that kind of follow through! The training was, however, significant and inspirational. Choosing later to audit a training week in Oceanside, CA, in order to have exposure to many teacher trainers’ instructional styles was equally informative. The fundamentals of Suzuki nurturing, available to readers at other places on the SAA site, plus being an observant teacher ready to create strategies that enable each student to be successful contribute to Ginny’s success in her private flute studio. For six seasons, Ginny taught at the Southern California Suzuki Summer Institute at Occidental College. Twice a Pedagogy Session presenter at National Flute Association Convention. Ginny has judged/evaluated for MTNA, MTAC and SYMF. She was named Teacher of the Year by the Delaware State Music Teachers Association (MTNA), and nominated for the Bravo Award (Los Angeles Music Center) and for the Platinum Apple Award by the Arts Educators of UTLA.

Highlights of Ginny’s Musical Journey (AKA resume!):
Currently independent flute studio in northern Los Angeles; itinerant orchestra teacher Arts Education Branch of LAUSD; Music Director, California Junior Symphony Assn.; curator of Thursday Evening Concert Series (mid-Wilshire area), contributor of music column to Voice of the Village (monthly neighborhood paper).

Former teaching positions: Pasadena USD; Santa Monica-Malibu USD; Flintridge Preparatory School; Evergreen Conservatory (Suzuki flute); Pasadena City College; Wilmington, DE Schools (elementary and secondary), Wilmington, DE Friends School; coordinator of independent instrument teachers, Tower Hill School; Music Director, Brandywine Pops Orchestra, founder-director Robinwood for flutists, a summer flute camp at Rehoboth Episcopal Camp, DE; Harmony Street Chamber Players (concerto opportunities for students), and Freedom Fife and Drum Corps.

Performance experience in solo, chamber, orchestra and concert band (piccolo, 2nd and Principal Flute): Delaware Symphony, Delaware Pro Musica, Wilmington Opera Company, York Symphony, Northeast (PA) Symphony, Wilmington Ballet, Delaware Concert Band (Musicians’ Union summer band), Kennett Square Symphony; operas, operettas, oratorios and chamber music in Delaware; various musicals; other free-lancing in Southern California. Member, Local 47. With Delaware Pro Musica and California Jr. Symphony, featured twice on the NBC-Sunday Today Show. Chamber musician, currently in BEARAVEN, an ensemble that has performed at the National Flute Association Convention 2012).

Experience abroad: Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Bolivia as woodwind section coach; woodwind instructor Escuela Militar de Musica, La Paz; instrument teacher at West Buckland School, Devonshire, Eng.

Significant (non-Suzuki) training and education:
MM USC Thornton School of Music; BS SUNY/Fredonia; additional studies at Indiana University School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, West Chester PA State College, UM/Milwaukee. Influential studies also include Indian Music with Harihar Rao (mridungam, flute and rhythm for western musicians); American Sanskrit Institute; Brevard Music Center Advanced Division Orchestra (3 summers); ASOL Conductor’s Orchestra at Orkney Springs (Richard Lert), IAJE Teacher Training Institute for non-jazz music educators; IAJE Conventions (New Orleans/Long Beach). Flute teachers who tried to teach Ginny (sigh!): Jean Harling, Robert W. Mols (also Director of Greater Western NY Youth Orchestra) , Donald H. Hartman and James J. Pellerite.

So many things wouldn’t have been imagined, attempted, or been possible without the inspiration of teachers Alvin Gehrke (junior-senior high social studies) and Frank Lawton (band teacher) at Chittenango, NY, High; Anthony Ortolano (orchestra teacher) at Kenmore, NY, West Sr. High; James Christian Pfohl, founder-director of Brevard Music Center, NC; Vyaas Huston (founder American Sanskrit Institiute); Estelle Frankel (Suzuki pioneer in Wilmington, DE), James Kjelland (string and orchestra pedagogy at USC) and Enrique Franco (Principal, Wilshire Park School, LAUSD).