Enriching life through music

By Reader Staff

Bella Noté Music Studios is committed to providing a positive musical environment through quality instruction. In a time of isolation and concern, it is the organization’s desire to enrich the lives of community members. Recent scientific studies have established the connection between active music-making and improved physical wellness. In a world of many uncertainties, this is a great time to improve mental, creative, and physical well being and find new, innovative ways to thrive.

A sketch of a piano instructor with students. Courtesy image.

This fall Bella Noté Music Studios welcomed two new instructors, Mary Beth Cullitan (Suzuki violin and viola) and Rebecca Budai (piano and Musikgarten) opening up more musical opportunities for community members of all ages. Private Instruction is available for piano, violin, viola, flute and all band instruments.

Introduced to Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy and teaching approach as an undergraduate, Mary Beth Cullitan has taught since then in university, independent music school and private studios in the Northwest and Midwest. She enjoys and works well with students of all ages, 4 and up. Graduating seniors have gone on to study music at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Boston University, University of Idaho, Western Washington, Eastern Washington and Howard University. 

A former member of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and the Quartetto Espressivo, Cullitan has also taught at Institutes and workshops in several states and served as a board member of the Suzuki Association of Washington state, including 16 years as an officer. Her credentials include a BFA in violin, an M.M. in violin with an emphasis in studio teaching, and Washington state teacher certification. Suzuki teacher training includes Books 1-10 with John Kendall (long-term teacher training at Southern Illinois University) as well as Book 1 with Rosalind O’Keefe, Mihoko Hirata, Yuko Mori and Ed Sprunger; Book 3 with Mihoko Hirata; and Book 4 with Shannon Murphy, supplementary materials with John Kendall and Japanese pedagogy with Yoshiko Nakajima (week-long courses). She has also participated in more than 50 additional workshops and conferences.

Bella Noté instructor Mary Beth Cullitan at work with students. Courtesy photo.

Rebecca Budai began her love affair with the piano at 5 years of age. At her very first lesson, she threw a temper tantrum and threw a toy at her new teacher’s son. Her parents told her that she had to try it for a year and, if she really hated it, she could stop. Instead of quitting, however, music became a life-long passion. She continued to take group piano, private piano and even started violin lessons. 

After high school, she had the opportunity to teach group music lessons to preschoolers for a year before she attended North Idaho College. She continued piano lessons at NIC with Dr. Dwayne Huff and also participated in the Chamber Singers Choir and the Chamber Orchestra. After she received her associates in music from NIC, Budai transferred to Whitworth University, in Spokane, Wash. She studied piano with Dr. Judith Schoepflin and participated in master classes with Jovanni-Rey de Pedro and Scott Rednour. 

Budai was chosen to perform twice in the Music Artistry Program Honors Recital, and also won gold and silver medals participating in Musicfest Northwest. While earning her bachelor’s degree in piano pedagogy, she had the opportunity to teach private piano lessons and was able to attend the Music Teachers National Association conference in Spokane. Budai hopes her love of piano is infectious and it is her passion to share the gift of music with her students.

Opportunities in January 2021 include options for kids under 7 in the Musikgarten Family Music Classes and Music Makers: At the Keyboard. Also new in January will be the Adult Recreational Music Programs, including small group classes in piano, ukulele or guitar. 

Bella Noté is committed to keeping class sizes small for the health and safety of students and instructors. 

Any of these group classes or private lessons are available to give as a gift to someone this holiday season.

More information at BellaNoteSandpoint.com or FB.com/BellaNoteSandpoint.

Bella Noté instructor Rebecca Budai. Courtesy photo.

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