Joanne Bath earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Denison University and the University of Michigan, respectively. She began her career as a violinist, playing with the symphonies of Toledo, Ohio, and Wichita, Kansas. She came to Greenville thirty-nine years ago and is a professor of instrumental music at ECU. In 1982, she founded the North Carolina Suzuki Institute at ECU. The program has since grown to national prominence.