Ottawa Suzuki Strings

Est. 1966

About Our Staff

Shirley Star 






Never hurry, never rest.

                -Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Shirley Star holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree, summa cum laude, from Houston Baptist University, with double majors in Violin Performance and All-Level Music Education, as well as certification in Early Childhood Special Education, Language/Learning Disabilities, and Kindergarten.  In addition to completing Suzuki Association of the Americas coursework in Books 1-10 and post-book advanced literature teacher enrichment courses, as well as coursework in Suzuki Early Childhood Education, she also studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.  She has taught at Suzuki Workshops and Institutes across the United States.

From 1979-2004, Ms. Star taught Suzuki violin and viola at Parker Music Academy, a Houston Independent School District Music Magnet School, recognized nationally as one of the top public school Suzuki programs in the U.S.  She also taught in the Suzuki Early Childhood program at Parker.  For many years, Ms. Star worked with Texas orchestras at the elementary and secondary levels, and she maintained a large private studio for 32 years.  In 1986, Shirley served as Director of the U.S. Olympic Festival Fiddlers for the U.S. Olympic Festival Opening Ceremonies.  She studied with Mark O’Connor at his fiddling camp, as well as with Texas Shorty, Liz Carroll, Buddy Spicher, Matt Gleason, and Crystal Plohman.  She directed a young fiddling group, the Gulf Coast Fiddlers, who performed widely in the Houston area.  Additionally, she was the fiddler for Permanent Wave, a Houston-based contra dance band, and she has chaired several fiddle competitions, including the U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Competition.  Ms. Star also served as assistant concertmaster for the Houston Civic Symphony and was active as a free-lance violinist in the Houston metro area.

Ms. Star relocated to Ottawa in August 2004 to work full-time with the Ottawa Suzuki Strings, Inc. (OSSI), an internationally known program.  She has served as an Ottawa University adjunct faculty member and currently play Principal 2nd Violin in the Ottawa University Orchestra.  She is a member of the Heart of America Suzuki Association.  She frequently can be heard performing both as a fiddler and as a violinist in the Ottawa area.  In addition to teaching private lessons, Ms. Star teaches fiddling classes and directs Suzuki Early Childhood Education programs for children from birth to age 5.  She also serves as Assistant to the Director for the Absolutely Ottawa! Summer Programs.  Ms. Star was the Assistant Suzuki Early Childhood Education (Suzuki ECE) Coordinator for the 2008 Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) International Conference, and she was the Suzuki ECE Coordinator for the 2010 SAA International Conference.  She also was a presenter at the 2012 and 2014 SAA International Conferences, as well.