Wayland School of Music
Sheryl Lafayette

"Our family thinks the world of Sheryl! She has wonderful patience, ways of eliciting enthusiasm from students, and solid musicianship. Our daughter was able to progress at just the right pace, developing skills for and confidence in performance."
- mother of piano student, studied from ages 6 -14

Sheryl Lafayette
Piano, Suzuki Piano

Sheryl received her BMus (honors) and Masters degrees from U Madison-Wisconsin, studying with Jeanette Ross and Tait Sanford. She followed with extensive post-grad study in Suzuki philosophy and pedagogy, studying with Doris Harrell, Mary Craig Powell and Valery Lloyd-Watts. She is registered as a Suzuki instructor through level 4 piano.

Sheryl is happy to use a Suzuki, traditional, or combination approach, depending on the needs of the student. As well as maintaining her extensive private studio, she is piano instructor at Creative Arts in Reading, and was its Director from 2004-2009. She is a past Director of the MA Suzuki Association and the MA Suzuki Festival, and since 2005 has been Assistant Director of the Suzuki-by-the-Green summer piano workshop. She is also an adjudicator for the Eastern District Junior and Senior Festivals, and for the Rivers Conservatory Youth Orchestras.

As a performer, Sheryl freelances extensively with chamber groups in the Metro Boston area, and also performs (as violinist) with the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic, the North Shore Philharmonic, and the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra.

Sheryl raised two young musicians herself who are now professionals - a Boston Symphony violinist, and a concert cellist/performance psychologist.

Meet Sheryl

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I remember wanting to play the piano as a tiny child but there was no way to get a piano into our second floor, three room apartment. At age 10, I was able to start on the cello in our public school program, and later violin. I played piano whenever possible and taught myself a lot, but did not have formal piano lessons until college.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    No. My dad had no musical experience; my mom had some piano lessons as a child. I found out later that my maternal grandfather wrote popular songs (I still have some of them) and made instruments (violins and mandolins). He claimed he had a dream in which “Old Man Stradivarius” came to him and told him the secret of how he made his beautiful violins, but he never revealed that secret to me!
  3. Best, funniest or worst musical memory from childhood?
    Once, in junior high school, I somehow broke the scroll and fingerboard off my cello. I remember walking home with about five friends, each of us carrying a piece of the cello. It was VERY humiliating.
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Performing in a group of teachers led by Shinichi Suzuki. I’ve had many experiences where I feel as one with the music and the musicians around me; Dr. Suzuki was a master at helping us to feel the living soul of tone.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I love making connections with students (each one is different!), and helping them making connections with music. I love showing them how to play mindfully yet relaxed, using their entire body.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I consider myself a musician rather than as a specific instrumentalist. I look upon performing as a way of communicating through one’s instrument. I think it is possible to have very high standards and also make learning music fun. I want students to look for their own answers as much as they can rather than having me tell them exactly what to do.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I live with a beautiful black cat named Minerva who refused to come out from under the bed for the first five months she lived with me, but is now starting to venture forth.