School of Performing Arts
Pricing and Policies


30 weeks of private lessons and 26 weeks of group lessons (15 private/13 group in the fall and 15 private/13 group in the spring)

  • Viola
  • Violin

Highly qualified Christian teachers give each student a weekly lesson that is 30, 45, or 60 minutes long.

SPA’s String Program teaches the Suzuki method and believes every child and adult can learn to play a string instrument. We work alongside parents and guardians, guiding them as they help their child excel at playing their instrument. During the year, students will receive the opportunity to perform in events such as solo recitals, Bellevue’s worship services, the Singing Christmas Tree, outreach opportunities, solo festivals, and the annual String Graduation Concert.

SPA is a member of the West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association (WTSBOA), which allows students who do not attend a public or private school to participate through SPA in regional, state, and national events for band and orchestra (All-West, All-State, Solo and Ensemble, etc.).

For more information about our program, please review the String Handbook, and contact our String Coordinator, Cecily Britt, at if you have any further questions.

Private lessons are held one day a week for the designated lesson length.

Students will perform in two recitals each year—one in the fall and one in the spring.

Click here to view pricing and policies.


Cecily Britt
Cecily studied violin in the Suzuki program at the University of Memphis for 15 years, primarily with Pak-Chung Cheng. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. She has been an active member of the Bellevue Orchestra since 7th grade and has taught violin with Bellevue’s School of Performing Arts (SPA) since 1999. Cecily is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) and has completed many courses through SAA’s Teacher Training program. Cecily served on staff with Bellevue Music as the Suzuki String Coordinator from August 2005–September 2009. In September 2009, she assumed the title of director of SPA. She worked in that role until February 2012, when she resigned to become a stay-at-home mom. Cecily still teaches violin part time at SPA. Cecily’s mission is to help students and their families use music to glorify the Lord, serve in the Body of Christ, develop characteristics of hard work and commitment, and experience lifelong memories and friendships. Cecily and her husband, Matt, have four daughters. In addition to teaching her two oldest how to play violin, Cecily is also enjoying the adventure of homeschooling.
Cynthia Nowell
Cynthia is a Suzuki violin teacher for SPA. She began playing the violin at age 5 and continued her studies through college. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and is trained in Suzuki Violin through Book 3. Cynthia has enjoyed teaching violin for 17 years and loves to see each student grow as a musician while learning skills that help them in all areas of life. She continues to increase her knowledge of Suzuki pedagogy through training and observations. Cynthia loves the Lord Jesus and is grateful for the opportunity to use her skills to glorify and worship Him daily. She desires to encourage her students to develop their talents to glorify God as well. Cynthia is married to Matt, and they have five children.
Martin Palacios
Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Music from Pensacola Christian College as well as a second Master of Music in Suzuki Pedagogy from the University of Memphis. Martin’s music career began in Pensacola during his senior year of college when he started teaching private lessons for violin, viola, and cello students and conducting the intermediate string orchestra at Pensacola Christian Academy (PCA). During his two years teaching at PCA, several of his students competed and won scholarships for the annual Pensacola Music Teachers Association Sonata Competition in Florida. When Martin came to Memphis in December of 2013 to pursue his second master’s degree, he became actively involved in the Music Ministry at Bellevue and began teaching violin and viola with SPA. His students at Bellevue are actively involved in competitions with All-West, and many of them go all the way to All-State. His students are involved in church ministries including the Bellevue Orchestra, community engagements, and nursing home outreaches. In addition to teaching violin and viola at Bellevue, Martin is an active performer. Currently, he serves as a sectional violinist with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, subs for the Memphis Symphony, and holds the concertmaster position for the Bellevue Orchestra. His performance career has brought him in concert with prestigious Christian artists including Sandi Patty, Veritas, Michael W. Smith, and Natalie Grant. Outside of music, Martin enjoys drawing, playing Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and spending lots of time with his wife, Bonnie (also an avid music lover), their daughter, Raven, who just earned her purple box violin, and their son, Felix.
Erin Mullen
Erin began playing violin at the age of 5 under Michelle Pettigrew and later played under Ray Cheng through the University of Memphis Suzuki Program. During her most formative years, she played with groups such as the Memphis Youth String Orchestra, Victory Violins, and the Bellevue Orchestra. From 1999–2003, Erin attended Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and majored in Christian studies. While there, she played in worship bands at church, the Baptist Student Union, and other events. After graduating college in 2003, Erin returned home and began teaching violin full time. Erin is certified in the Suzuki Method Books 1 and 2 under Edmund Sprunger, Books 2 and 3 under Carrie Reuning-Hummel, and Books 4 and 5 under Teri Einfeldt. Erin continues to play with the contemporary worship band at Bellevue and at Bellevue Women events. From helping with major events such as the Singing Christmas Tree to leading a Suzuki Method Book 1 group class, Erin loves to teach students about violin and about Jesus. Erin enjoys the beginning years of a student’s journey. She is a mom, dyslexic, a believer, a violinist, and a teacher at heart, no matter the subject. All of these things are what make her the violin teacher she is today. Each aspect of her identity is shared with her students to help them learn and grow as people. To teach violin, Erin uses the Suzuki Method. Every song taught helps the student learn a skill and build a base for the next song and skill. Building skills to help a student progress and become a violinist is the priority. The Suzuki Method is less concerned about the number of songs a student knows and is more concerned about the foundation being laid and the skills being learned that will allow a student to play anything placed before them one day.
Miguel Lesmes

School of Performing Arts

Bellevue’s School of Performing Arts (SPA) is a place where excellence in fine arts education and devotion to Christ are combined to provide families with a distinctly Christian artistic community of learning.