Stephen Williams began violin lessons at the age of 5 (1961) while living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His family moved to Portage, Michigan in 1963. He also studied piano and accordion through his elementary school years. When he was 12, his family received his grandmother's lute-back mandolin, which she had played in a mandolin orchestra in her youth in the 1910's. "I immediately took a liking to it. I learned the basic chords from Mel Bay's Fun with the Mandolin." At 15, he began a musical explosion, seriously learning fiddle, mandolin, guitar and clawhammer banjo all at once. He had private lessons, went to jam sessions, watching, listening, and asking questions. He started a band with some friends. They would play 33 1/3 RPM records at 16 RPM to hear the music slowly enough to learn it by listening. Mr. Williams has been a music teacher since 1980. Beginning at Middleton's Music in Grand Rapids; he has taught at several other music stores and music schools, as well as for the Battle Creek Youth Orchestra. He currently teaches for the Gull Lake Virtual Partnership, Three Rivers Home School Partnership, Keifer's Music Store (Battle Creek), and in his own studio. Williams has been a working musician since 1975. He has played folk, country, rock, blues, Celtic, swing, Dixieland, Latin, polka, bluegrass, gospel/spiritual, classical, Cajun, contra dance and square dance music. He's worked in bar bands and wedding bands, as a pit musician for local community, high school, and college theatre productions, and as a solo performer. He has played in college orchestras and jazz ensembles. He studied music at Grand Valley State University, Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Kellogg Community College. Studies include classical and jazz music on both violin and guitar. Highlights of Mr. Williams' career include: jamming with Howard Armstrong and Carl Martin; opening, as a member of "The Cactus Pie Band", for country star Holly Dunn.