About

About South West Music School

South West Music School is a non-profit community music school located in Beaverton, Oregon. We are dedicated to providing a high-quality violin and stringed instruments education with ensemble performance opportunities for all. We foster a non-competitive environment where extraordinary teachers help students focus on mastering music.


South West Music School Teachers
Chris Gaye
Suzanne Gaye
Leslie Hirsch
Carol Matthew
Angela Powers Melo


Chris Gaye
Chris Gaye has been playing the violin since he was 3. He attended the Pacific Northwest Suzuki Institutes where he had his first official training in teaching the Suzuki Method. At the age of 13 he found his musical calling, the bass. He studied both the upright bass with Phil Baker and Curtis Daily, and electric bass guitar with Jeff Cumpston and Phil Baker. Mr. Gaye received professional training in music production and sound for picture at Trebas Institute in Vancouver B.C., and attended Vancouver Film School where he received even more advanced training in audio engineering and sound for picture production techniques. Chris is active in the in the local music community and has been in several bands that have gigged extensively around the Portland area and appeared on stages from Corvallis to Vancouver B.C.

Suzanne Gaye
Suzanne Gaye has been encouraging her students since the inception of South West Music School in 1995. Suzanne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Denison University and a Masters in Music Education from Southern Illinois University. She trained under John Kendall, the premier Suzuki teacher and trainer in the United States while at SIU. Suzanne has taught for over thirty years in Oregon, teaching violin and orchestra in the public schools including Conestoga Middle, Aloha High and various elementary schools.  She also maintains a private violin studio. Suzanne’s teaching experience includes twenty-five years of summer institutes as well as adjudicating music competitions. In her spare time, Suzanne loves to swim, play Scottish fiddle, and travel with her husband.

Leslie Hirsch
Leslie Hirsch got her BA in Music from Hope College, Holland, MI and Master of Music from Ball State University, Muncie, IN. She played violin for six years in the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw, then followed her sweet heart to play in the San Diego Symphony for a year. In Santa Cruz, Leslie pursued baroque style with the Santa Cruz Baroque Music Festival for 9 years, then she and her husband moved to Portland in 1988. There she played in the Portland Baroque Orchestra and subbed in both the Oregon Symphony and the Opera Orchestra. During this time she also taught privately and at the Community Music Center. She taught elementary strings in the Reynolds School District for 10 year and her last year at Reynolds Middle School, retiring in 2010. On the side she leads a Scottish fiddle club which meets monthly and organizes the annual Scottish fiddle workshop and competition at the Portland Highland Games in July. She won second place in the national Scottish fiddle competition in Skagit Valley, WA in 2001.

Carol Matthew
Carol Matthew has been playing the Violin for 31 years, and also plays flute and clarinet. She received degrees from Portland State University and University of Oregon, studied with members of the Oregon Symphony, and has taught for the Beaverton School District since 1980.

Angela Powers Melo
Angela Powers Melo, recently settled in the Portland area, has been a Suzuki cello instructor from 1996 to the present. She received her BA degree in music performance from Southern Illinois University and a MA degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Her past performance experience has been with the Orquestra da Ulbra in Brazil, Cellist and Manager with the Ricardo Melo Ensemble, and Adjunct Faculty Instructor with the Saint Charles Community College. Currently she plays with the Marylhurst Community Orchestra and is an instructor at Musikhaus in Portland, Oregon.