Elishka Baer is Zita!

Elishka Baer

A few years ago William Suit welcomed a new student to his studio.  She was six years old and said she wanted to be an opera star.  She looked at Will and never batted an eye.  She was serious.  Over the next few weeks Will came to understand that he had a serious singer on his hands.  Elishka Baer was tackling everything he threw at her with enthusiasm.  Will would leave the studio after her lessons inspired to teach and write.  She appreciated every ounce of knowledge he would share.  Week after week she improved and grew as a musician.

One day, Will shared some music he was toying with.  It was in the early stages, but it would become Il Gufo Il Topo. (The Owl & The Mouse) Elishka was enamored.  She asked about it regularly.  So, Will let her sing a couple of the songs.  As soon as he heard her, he thought she sounded like the little mouse, Zita.  Elishka soon learned “The Dark Forest,” and declared that if he ever produced this, she wanted to be the mouse.  


Here we are a few years later and the role of Zita on the recording is none other than Elishka Baer.  We asked Elishka about playing this role and her thoughts about the opera.

How did you feel about being a part of this project?

Elishka:  It was really an honor to get to work with William Suit again. This project has been a long time in the making, and I was so excited when I was asked to record the part of Zita. The other artists were so wonderfully talented and supportive.

Who is Zita?

Elishka:  To me, Zita is a sort of metaphor and her character teaches a lesson. I feel that she shows that even when times get tough and things are uncertain, we can find our way back home. The story as a whole really is metaphorical for this, at least for me.

What drew you to this part?

In my opinion, the story is very real and true to life, which drew me in. Zita is a wonderful character and she truly is very symbolic to me, as I mentioned before. I really love the way this work was written, and it just immediately captivated me from the first time I heard it a few years ago.

How did you get into character for the part?

To get into character, I tried to put myself in Zita’s shoes. I imagined being a little mouse who had only ever seen the inside of a shop, and then she is going out into these beautiful woods, seeing, and experiencing everything for the first time. The lyrics and music really helped put me in that place as well.

Favorite Song?

I love “The Dark Forest”. It is an incredibly determined song, and the music to it is rather enchanting. All the songs are truly charming, but this one holds a special place in my heart. I think it might have also been the first or one of the first songs I heard from the opera.

What can we all learn from Il Gufo Il Topo?

To me, we are all Zitas in many ways. We are all small “mice” trying to navigate our way through a forest – life. We have people there ready to guide us and help us reach the stars, and our path is not always easy. Sometimes things get dark and the way forward is not clear. But in the end, we all can find our way back home, in whatever form that comes.

So, what about you, Elishka?  What are your goals and accomplishments so far?

Music is a great passion of mine, and I can see myself pursuing it into the future. Singing in particular is something I really enjoy and am considering working towards having a career in it. This is now the second CD that I have recorded parts in with William Suit. I performed quite regularly before the pandemic. I have done many fundraiser concerts, including the annual Tower of Talent fundraiser for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I will continue to take lessons and seek more opportunities to perform. Additionally, I record my own tracks using my violin, piano, and voice combined. I plan to do more of this, and at some point in the future I hope to start creating my own covers of songs.

Do you study privately?

I do take private lessons in voice. I started out working with William Suit about six years ago. I was so fortunate to have had a teacher like him who made sure that all technique and song choices were always appropriate for my voice. Then I transitioned to another teacher just short of two years ago to focus on classical training. In addition to voice, I take private violin and piano lessons.

I have cherished my collaboration with Will and I hope that we can work together in the future again. 


You can download or stream IL GUFO IL TOPO on your favorite music service.  Find the list by clicking here.



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IL GUFO IL TOPO Comes Out This Month


Will Suit Music is excited to announce the much anticipated recording of IL GUFO IL TOPO will be released this month, June 2020.  The recording has been months in the making.

Will Suit recently commented on what listeners can expect, “Drama!  Lots of dramatic moments with a little mouse named Zita and her chance encounter with the villainous owl, Silvano.”

There are 22 songs that make up the children’s opera.  Will enlisted the talents of a familiar voice.  Elishka Baer, who also sang on IN MY BACKYARD, takes on the role of Zita.  Her captor, Silvano, is portrayed by the extraordinary Jackson Hodges.  Joining Will to tell the story as narrator is Melissa Loga, whom many will recognize from the Pedal Point Music Podcast, WILLIAM TELLS.  There are of course other creatures in the recording, played by a new talent, Leora Sokol.

Watch for the release any day now on your favorite music provider!  In the meantime, listen to a sample here.

“Drama!  Lots of dramatic moments with a little mouse named Zita and her chance encounter with the villainous owl, Silvano.”


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Busy, Buzzy, Fuzzy Bumblebee

Busy, Buzzy, Fuzzy Bumblebee

One of the most difficult scales to teach is the chromatic scale.  In theory, it is rather straight-forward, but practically speaking it’s not the easiest scale for a vocalist.  The chromatic scale ascends or descends by half steps.  The singer usually has a starting note and a target note.  The scale must be sung with precision, sounding every note (all black and white keys on the piano) between the starting tone and the targeted tone.  The result is a climbing or falling melody.

I was always faced with a frustrating look from my young students when I started this scale.  There was no sound.  No effort.  Just a blank stare.  So, one day I was tinkering with the scale in my studio and decided to put some words to it.  Immediately a bee came to mind, but how would I get a child interested in singing about a bee?

Time passed as I sat and pondered words and quite frankly, the words to “Busy, Buzzy, Fuzzy Bumblebee” just spilled out almost immediately once I focused on a bumblebee.  I’ve actually gotten most of my students to sing it at one point or another as a warmup.  I even have a three year old sibling who runs into my studio and sings it on occasion while I’m helping his brother through a warm up of scales.

There has been some pushback over the phrase that references the bee’s lips.  “Bees don’t have lips!” a student protested one day.  “Have you ever looked at a bee’s face?” I retorted.  “How would you know?”  I laughed quietly to myself as the student stood there and tried to figure it out.

I must admit that among the younger students, ease of the chromatic scale has been enhanced by engaging imaginative lyrics with a less than cooperative scale.   You’ll find it on your favorite streaming service!

The lyrics and accompaniment are included in the companion songbook to the album,  “In My Backyard”!  I’ve even included the solfege for those teachers and choir directors who want to use it as a warmup or teaching tool.  Enjoy!



Posted in Children's songs, Chromatic Scale, Do Re Mi, Music and Education, Solfege, Songs about bees, Teaching voice | Leave a comment

IN MY BACKYARD and Music Education

I love to teach.  Being a private music instructor can be challenging, but I’ve always looked at it as an adventure.  My young vocal students are at a fragile time in their formative years.  So, I take my role as their instructor very seriously.

When I first began, I was always struggling to find material that fit the needs of my studio.  Piano is easy.  There are countless curriculum choices and an endless supply of arrangements suited to a student’s level of learning.  Voice is a different world.  While there are many great resources, finding a reliable curriculum that gives the student a clear set of goals and expectations is often a challenge.  A teacher often has to gather the resources and align them to each student.  I align my studio with the Royal Conservatory’s Music Program and my students enjoy the clearly outlined program.

In the process of getting to a well-outlined course of study, I’ve done some writing of my own to supplement my studio needs.  Many of the songs from “IN MY BACKYARD” were the result of that work.Inside Tray CD  “Busy, Buzzy, Fuzzy Bumblebee” is a fun way to sing a chromatic scale. If you use the songbook, you’ll discover that solfege syllables are included.

In fact, “Owl in the Tree” is a great warm up on the pentascale.  The solfege can be substituted readily for the entire song to teach and reinforce Do Re Mi Fa Sol.  For those 322716a9-30aa-4541-a12a-22cf3c2d261b.pngstudents a bit more confident with solfeggio, try using it with “Give a Hoot.”  The descending scale of the chorus is a great vocal or choral warm up that your students will enjoy singing time and again.

Download it or order the songbook today.  In My Backyard is a great addition to your repertoire and supplemental library!

Posted in Children's songs, Do Re Mi, Music and Education, Solfege, Songs about bees, Songs about owls, Teaching voice | Leave a comment



In My Backyard

a children’s album



Will Suit Music is excited to announce the release of  “IN MY BACKYARD.”  The recording has been months in the making, but is finally available to purchase or stream.

In a conversation with Will about the release, he had this to say, “I finally have a compilation to put into the hands of my young vocal students to reinforce the classroom experience.  I believe it will have a reach far beyond my studio, because of its educational value.”

The recording follows the songbook by the same name.  The songs were all written and arranged by Will.  Observe the sights and sounds of creatures at play in the backyard or deep in the forest beyond while singing along with your kids. “My dad provided us with a wonderful backyard against a large forest, ” Will reflected.  “I still remember hearing the screeching “Hoo!” of an owl at night amid the chirping katydids just outside my window.”

The recording introduces the talents of a young singer from Atlanta, GA.  Elishka Baer agreed to participate in the project early on.  She provided the background vocals, including the owl calls that are heard throughout the CD.  She also is featured as a soloist on “Give a Hoot” and “Forest Creatures.”

When asked which is his favorite song, Will pondered the question before answering.  “I don’t know, really.  It’s my music and I’m so close to it.  So, I don’t hear it like everyone else does.  I will say this about ‘Forest Creatures.’  That song was cut from a children’s opera I wrote last year.  I put it on this recording initially as a filler, because it’s theme followed the recording’s format.  In fact, we almost didn’t record Elishka’s solo for that one.  It was at the end of the session and we were out of time.  I was about to wrap it up when Elishka and I decided to do a take on it.  We worked so hard on the others and did so many takes that we were both out of steam.  Yet, with only a couple of takes, Elishka pretty much nailed this song.  When I heard it played back the next day, I sat there in disbelief.  I liked it!  I still do.  While I don’t know if it’s my favorite, it certainly has my attention.”

We caught up with Elishka on a busy afternoon amid her school activities and private studies to ask her about the recording.  “My experience in making the Elisabeth Baerrecording was a great one.  Mr. Suit did an amazing job making a wonderful and fun learning process.”  Asked about “Forest Creatures,” Elishka beamed a response, “The process of recording Forest Creatures was special, and stood out.  I really loved bringing this fun duet to life.  I hope you love it as much as I do!”

You can purchase “In My Backyard” from your favorite music service .  You can also find the songbook and other writings by Will Suit at

#willsuitmusic #inmybackyard #childrensmusic #childrenscd #funsongs #owls #penguins #seashells


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