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Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profile Variant

Julie Bickel, M.M., B.S., B.A.

Suzuki Violin, Director: Vivaldi Strings


CSA Instructor since 1999

Julie Maura Bickel joined the Wheaton College Community School of the Arts faculty in 1999 as a violin instructor and Director of the Vivaldi Strings chamber group. Julie was named Music Educator of the year by the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2014.  Her students participate in the ILMEA, SAA Youth Orchestras and Masterclasses, Granquist Music Competition, Chinese Fine Arts Society Music Competition, Sejong Music Competition, Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Music Club Contest, Musichorale Contest, CYSO, EYSO, NYSO, YSDP, and many other music activities around the Chicagoland area. 

Bickel studied with Betty Monahan, Almita and Roland Vamos, Rachel Barton Pine, Simin Ganatra, Mathias Tacke, Vermeer Quartet, and Brian Lewis. She has performed the Mendelssohn, Khachaturian, and Beethoven Concerti with orchestra and currently performs with the Butterfield String Quartet with colleagues, Anita Arch, Emily Puntuzs, and Dr. Tanya Carey. She has trained extensively since 1996 in Suzuki Pedagogy and has taught at various music institutes, including Sound Encounters in Ottawa, Kansas; Texas State University Suzuki Strings Institute in San Marcos, Texas; Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in Draper, Utah; DFW-WOW in Dallas, Texas; American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, Wisconsin; and the Chicago Suzuki Institute in Deerfield, Illinois. She has taught String Pedagogy, continues to mentor interns at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, and has also been a participant in all nine Starling-DeLay Symposiums at the Juilliard School of Music. 

As the director of the Wheaton College Community School of the Arts’ Vivaldi Strings touring group, she has prepared the group for national tours to Alaska, California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin; internationally, they have traveled to Africa, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, German, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Scotland, and Spain. The group has been featured on both ABC and NBC Chicago affiliates as well as Beijing TV and the NHK Japanese-English website. In 2012, the group was invited, all expenses paid, by the Chinese government to represent the USA along with 42 other countries in the International Children’s Culture and Art Festival. This year they will travel to Spain and Morocco. 

Bickel coordinated the Suzuki Youth Orchestras of the Americas for the 11th and 12th SAA conferences. At the 13th and 16th SAA Conferences in 2008 and 2014, Vivaldi Strings was selected to perform for the International Ensembles Concerts. In 2014, Bickel was awarded Teacher of the Year from the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. 

Bickel embraces the teaching philosophies of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, positing that every child is born with an innate ability to learn when provided a nurturing environment and exposure to high quality models. Bickel’s students focus on technique as a means of reaching their musical potential, but also grow in character development enabling them to become strong contributing members of society. Her students focus on service to their community thru music and service related activities such as Feed My Starving Children and Lutheran World Relief. Although her students achieve high levels of musical proficiency, her focus is on the student’s academic achievements with many pursuing careers other than music. 

An avid quilter for Lutheran World Relief, Bickel enjoys spending time with husband Brian, daughters Lucy and Molly, and black lab Chloë. 

 For full list of teacher training, visit: 


Northern Illinois University
M.M. and Performers' Certificate

Notre Dame University

Notre Dame University

  • Suzuki Association of Americas