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My years of teaching experience includes giving private individual lessons, directing group classes, and coaching ensembles small and large. I started taking violin lessons myself more than two decades ago at age four, later adding viola. So I know what students go through and can help them (and their parents or partners!).
I am often asked about my approach to teaching violin and viola. Here it is:
There are two types of students. The first is a child or adult who has never played the violin or viola. My focus becomes emphasizing the best technique from the get-go. Finding the correctly sized instrument. Holding the instrument with ease. Holding the bow beautifully. Standing up well. Making a nice sound with rhythms. Learning how to read and play notes on a page. There is one big plus to a novice student. He or she has never had an opportunity to learn bad habits and therefore will not have to reverse any damage. Progress often can come quickly.
The second category of student is one who is not starting from scratch. In this case, I first evaluate what he or she knows. Since every student is a unique individual, this is a non-judgmental process in which I begin to understand how I can be most helpful as a teacher. The biggest challenge here can come from the simple fact that correct habits and techniques have fallen away. So I endeavor to quickly establish proper basics–shining a renewed light on what the violin or viola is all about.
I firmly believe that a student of any age can learn to play music. While younger students have malleable motor skills that aid in learning the violin or viola, older students tend to be more aware of themselves and therefore know how to discern what is right and what is wrong.
Patience is an important idea in learning these instruments. Patience on my part as an instructor. Patience on the part of the student. Patience on the part of parents or anyone else involved with the student. Individual students will learn at different paces, and that is quite OK. We will go on this journey of music together, overcoming obstacles as they arise.
I have been a performer of violin and viola for more than a quarter-century.
Individually or as part of a duo, trio, quartet or larger ensemble, I frequently perform around Seattle and Washington State. While my formal training is classical, I am equally comfortable with new music and other forms of musical expression. I am a member of The Desperate, an indie punk-rock band that plays in a variety of venues. I have performed with such other professional groups as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Candlelight Concerts in Seattle, Seattle Modern Orchestra, Yakima Symphony Orchestra and the Pacifica Chamber Orchestra. I can put together a quartet, or a bigger or smaller group, to perform at your event. Contact me for details.
I teach students of all ages individually or collectively, privately or institutionally. I have taught violin and viola at Holy Names Academy in Seattle.
In addition to performing and teaching, I also have composed original works. Click here to hear me perform a piece I wrote for viola and two violins, Déjà Vu of Nostalgic Dreams (I’m the one in the middle). My latest work, La Foliage for violin and viola, had its world premier in the University of Washington’s Meany Hall in 2022.
I earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where I also received my Master of Music degree. My doctoral dissertation: “Upper-String Instrumentalists as Micro-Athletes: A Framework for Integrating a Cognitive and Physical Strength and Endurance Regimen in (and out of) the Practice Room.” You can download and read my entire 261-page dissertation, which informs much of my teaching and playing, by clicking here.
One ensemble I helped form, the Daana String Quartet, won a once-every-two-year competition to become the School of Music scholarship ensemble for the 2015-2016 school year. Watch and listen to us play in a concert by clicking here . (I’m the one on the right). Our ensemble was profiled in The Seattle Times. To see that article, click here. In 2016 we also won the Washington State college chamber music competition of the Music Teachers National Association.
In addition to my graduate degrees, I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree specializing in violin and viola performance from the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia, California. During that time, I played in numerous collegiate ensembles both on the campus and around the Los Angeles area.
Over the years I have also studied and performed at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Massachusetts, the International Music Academy Pilsen in the Czech Republic, the Kinhaven Music School in Vermont, the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California, Composers Forum at the University of Oregon, UCLA and the California State Summer School for the Arts.
During high school I was associate concertmaster of the California All-State Honors String Orchestra and a member of the California All-State Honors Orchestra, as well as concertmaster all four years of my school orchestra. (My graduating class voted me Best Female Musician!)
At age 13 I soloed with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. My performance career includes concerts on five continents, including such places as Kathmandu, Nepal; Ubud, Bali; Rio de Janeiro; Delhi, India; and Kilgali, Rwanda. For two years I was in in the Los Angeles-based American Youth Symphony, widely considered the nation’s top entry-level musical orchestral group.
I also have completed the certificate program in “Essentials of Performing Arts Health–Instrument Music” of the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). In addition I am a certified yoga instructor, endeavoring to incorporate some of those principles into my teaching and performing.
I am an experienced violin and viola performer and teacher available to teach meaningful lessons to students of all ages—young children, teens and adults alike—in the Seattle area. I teach from a home-based studio in the conveniently located Ballard neighborhood.
One expertise (of many) is successfully preparing young students for auditions and competitions, including for college and conservatory admissions. In 2022 one of my private high school viola students won first place in the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Contest sponsored by the Washington Music Educators Association and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.
As a performer, I play classical and new music works in orchestras, chamber groups, quartets, trios, duos and solo. I also compose.
I hold a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Washington. In addition, I am a certified yoga instructor.