The Suzuki Music Program of Los Angeles (SMPLA) was started in 1974 by the late Idell Low and the late Elizabeth Mills. Its purpose was two-fold: to teach the violin and other string instruments to children using the Suzuki Method™, and to train teachers to use the Suzuki Method™, ideas, and philosophy in their musical work with young children, and with children and adults of all ages. The Program is now headed by Co-Directors Brandie Carvajal, Robin Johnson and Melodie Zide.
While its beginnings were small, literally thousands of children and adults across the country can now trace their musical roots to the Suzuki Music Program of Los Angeles. In addition, dozens of teachers have also found support, guidance, and musical resources through SMPLA over the years.
There are several teachers affiliated with SMPLA, with students located primarily in the extended San Fernando Valley. These teachers teach private lessons in their homes or private studios, and sometimes in students' homes, depending on the teacher and the location. Suzuki students also have group lessons, known as "Workshop", which are held twice a month in Encino. They have public performances a few times throughout the year, including mall performances, rest home performances, and a trip to perform at Disneyland every few years.
SMPLA has an "open door" policy, and any Suzuki student may join SMPLA regardless of which teacher they are studying with privately. Their private teacher should be using Suzuki literature and ideally should have been trained in the Suzuki Method™.