Daina Volodka Staggs has been involved with Suzuki Talent Education for over thirty years, as a student and teacher, and now as a parent. Daina’s musical journey began at a young age through violin studies with world-renowned Suzuki author and pedagogue Edward Kreitman at the Western Springs School of Talent Education. She completed her studies at WSSTE with Tom Wermuth, a Presidential Scholar Teacher Recognition Award winner and 2010 American String Teachers Association Illinois Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Staggs began her Suzuki teacher training at the age of 16 under Edward Kreitman, during which time she acted as student tutor at WSSTE, offering practice help to parents of excelling students. Mrs. Staggs has performed as a soloist in London, Paris, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as a member of the Chicago Consort, the advanced violin ensemble at the Western Springs School of Talent Education. Mrs. Staggs also participated
in master classes with William Starr, Almita Vamos, James Stern, Victor Aitay, and Joseph Golan.
After graduation from Downers Grove South High School, Mrs. Staggs attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she earned the Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance while studying with violin professor Mark Bjork, a student of Josef Gingold. She studied chamber music with Korey Konkol and Tanya Remenikova. During her years at the UofM-TC, Mrs. Staggs also participated in intensive study of orchestral repertoire with former Minnesota Orchestra concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis. Mrs. Staggs played in master classes for renowned pedagogue and Israeli violinist and professor Yair Kless. Upon graduation, she returned to the Chicago area and became a member of the faculty at WSSTE, where she taught for fifteen years. Mrs. Staggs continued her violin studies in Chicago with Vermeer Quartet violinist Matthias Tacke, Pacifica Quartet violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson, and the illustrious violin expert, Roland Vamos.
Mrs. Staggs has completed hundreds of hours of Suzuki teacher training with some of the most prestigious Suzuki teacher trainers in the world, including Nancy Jackson, Ronda Cole, Alice Joy Lewis, Kerstin Wartberg, Carol Dallinger, Tom Wermuth, Linda Case, Helen Brunner, Kimberley Meyer-Sims, Ann Montzka-Smelser, and has pursued in-depth study with her primary mentors Edward Kreitman and Nancy Lokken. In addition to her extensive Suzuki training, Mrs. Staggs has also received Level One Certification for Early Childhood Music in Music Learning Theory with internationally recognized scholar, Dr. Edwin E. Gordon. In May 2010, she was awarded the Suzuki Association of the America’s Certificate of Achievement, an award given to teachers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to excellence in their teaching. In 2013, Mrs. Staggs became a registered Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Mrs. Staggs has taught at many Suzuki Institutes, workshops, and master classes. She has also lectured on important topics regarding violin pedagogy, early childhood music education, and the Suzuki Method. Mrs. Staggs’ students have won many honors, including solo opportunities with the Allegro!!! violin performance ensemble and the Chicago Consort, as well as honors recitals at summer Suzuki Institutes and master classes throughout the Chicagoland area. Her students participate in all levels of the Chicago Youth Symphony, and her students have won distinctions as principal members of the Illinois Music Educators Association festival orchestras.
In the fall of 2014, Mrs. Staggs became the Co-Director of the North Texas School of Talent Education, a Suzuki violin and viola program founded by Charles Krigbaum in 2001. Her studio is located in Frisco, TX.