A Rockville native, Mari Carlson has been playing violin since she was only three years old. After 25 years living in the Minneapolis area, Mari plays with “whatever-grass” band Cherry Blossom Special with 2 other SMT teachers, and some other fabulous musicians. She also plays for folk dances and in jazz and classical ensembles. She was trained in the Suzuki method and gravitates to that style of teaching as well. In the Suzuki method, students learn a set repertoire by ear, often in the company of other players. Mari incorporates movement training into her teaching, with games and activities that encourage the student to embody the rhythm and character of the piece. In the course of the lesson, Mari works with her students to develop practice techniques that allow them to bring the lesson home with them. For younger students, she provides more structure, whereas adults are invited to take more space for self-direction. She entices students of all ages to explore their musical interests regardless of genre and style. Mari teaches traditional American, Swedish, and Irish folk fiddle as well as classical violin techniques and repertoire.