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MA, University of Chicago BA, University of Georgia
2008 - Hugh Hodgson School of Music highest scholarship 2009 - Performed with ARCO Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall
I began playing the violin at age 5. My teachers and mentors have included Levon Ambartsumian (student of Leonid Kogan and Igor Bezrodny at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory), Shakhida Azimkhodjaeva, Dawn Harms, and Jassen Todorov. Currently, I serve as Concertmaster with the Mozart 2 Mendelssohn Orchestra, a group within the San Francisco Civic Music Association, which affords me the opportunity to conduct and lead string sectionals. I also direct and coach community chamber music nights with SFCMA. Other groups I play with include the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony (sometimes as concertmaster) and the Sonoma County Philharmonic. I also regularly perform chamber music and gives recitals in the Bay Area. I have performed as a violinist and a violist in ARCO Chamber Orchestra, a group originally from Moscow and now based at the University of Georgia. With ARCO, I recorded music of modern and contemporary composers, including Astor Piazzola, Mikhail Bronner, and Efrem Podgaits, and performed at Carnegie Hall. I have performed across the United States, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America.
I began teaching at age 13 with the help of my own teacher. For the first several months of my teaching, my own teacher would be in the room with me to give feedback, make suggestions, and answer questions. And even after I began teaching on my own, she continued to mentor and guide me in my teaching. This was such a valuable way to start: as an apprentice learning from a master. Later, I worked with another teacher to develop a scale book and an instructional DVD series. I am very lucky to have had teachers who were not only able to teach me to violin but also violin pedagogy. I have given lessons to all ages, from 3 to 60. I have taught both privately and as part of larger studios and music schools. My goal for students in whatever context is fundamentally the same: give students the tools to achieve their own success so that music can be a life-long love, like it is for me, and so that they can be proud of their own abilities.
For beginners, the first books I use are Suzuki and Barbara Barber, but I don't teach a strict Suzuki method. The first 1-2 months, depending on the progress of the student, I use my own method, first setting up the right hand and left hand techniques independently, and then bringing them together. I learned the methods I use to teach the left and right hand techniques from one of my own teachers, Valerie Gardner, who studied with Ivan Galamian and Jascha Brodsky. I helped Valerie write and edit script and performed examples for her DVD series on violin technique. At the same time, I'm teaching note-reading in fun ways. My goal is to help students achieve successes early on. By the second or third lesson, they are playing simple songs.
I believe that developing a love for music is inherently valuable and special. In addition to that, though, learning music helps students develop discipline, social skills, listening and comprehension skills, math skills, and creative thinking that will apply to all other areas of their life. It’s a privilege as a teacher to watch students gain the confidence that comes with knowing a musical instrument. My passion is to help students achieve a relaxed, comfortable technique, allowing them to produce a beautiful, expressive sound. The sound is so important, because regardless of the student's goals and interests, they will enjoy playing when they sound good! That said, I want to find out in the first couple of lessons from the student or parent what their goals and interests are. That way I can tailor what I do to help them achieve what they want. Some students will want to work towards a career in music, and I can make sure that they have the strong foundations they need. Some students may want to learn violin so they can play their favorite pop or fiddle tunes, and I can help students play these well so that they can have fun and enjoy playing!
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