Theresa Peterson - Violin/Viola
A lifelong violinist since age 3, Theresa was classically trained throughout her upbringing in Texas. Picking up viola by age 10, she began playing viola professionally in classical quartets and playing violin in a band in her early teens, as well as teaching lessons on the weekends.
Theresa's teaching style is flexible to each student's skills and interests, but often takes focus in technique, practice strategies and memorization strategies, so students learn how to practice and learn independently while building good habits. A mostly classical foundation is provided, but students are encouraged to bring in their own material if they have interests in other styles of music and lessons can focus on any material the student desires.
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(Please leave a note, at checkout, if you are booking a Viola lesson)
Riley Ann - Violin/Fiddle
Riley Ann began playing with instruments before she knew what they were. She began piano lessons before her feet could touch the floor and Suzuki violin lessons before she was in Kindergarten. As the number of instruments she played began to expand, so did her love of music. Riley began saxophone in 5th grade band, bought her first guitar in college, picked up mandolin, banjo, and drum set in her 20s, and she continues to develop her musical vocabulary through constant exploration. She spent her time mostly in the classical world, playing in wind ensembles, orchestras, jazz combos, string quartets, sinfonietta, and singing in various choirs. However, in her 20s, she saw The Blackberry Bushes perform and immediately fell in love with Old-time and bluegrass fiddle. Riley immediately immersed herself in traditional fiddle tunes by learning from a local string band, joining an Americana band with friends, and creating her own all-female string band, The Matriarchs. Through her own journey, Riley is adept at learning and teaching both by ear and musical notation.
The core of Riley's teaching philosophy is that teachers should teach the student, not the content. She sees her role as a mentor to help students achieve their own goals and to foster students' sense of ownership in their lessons and their music. Students who are engaged and curious about what they are exploring will develop the deepest sense of gratification from their efforts (as well as make the most progress), which cultivates a lifetime love of music.
With 6 years of experience teaching high school English and a lifelong passion for music, Riley appreciates understanding where each student is and where they'd like to be. Having played in various folk groups, classical and jazz ensembles, ska bands, and an electronic band, she loves the creative process in any context and looks forward to assisting students of all ages to pursue their own personal journeys.
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Tess VanLaanen - Violin/Fiddle
From Bach to Carpathian Mountain fiddle, Tess is an accomplished violin and fiddle player who can teach not only great technique, but many different musical styles. She began playing the violin at the age of 5, studying the Suzuki method. She is a classical violinist, but is also well versed in many different styles including Scandinavian, American, Irish, and Breton. She even picked up the Norwegian 8 stringed Hardanger Fiddle along the way. She paid her way through music school by performing for two years with the Eastern European ensemble theDuquesne University Tamburitzans, where she studied under Rachel Stegeman, former principal violinist in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
Tess is committed to helping spread her love of the violin, in all its many forms, to the next generation. Her teaching style revolves around the idea that a classical foundation can lay the groundwork for her students to excel in any style they choose. But she also puts a heavy emphasis on making sure her students enjoy playing! She listens to each student, their interests, and musical preferences, and uses that as the guide to help them succeed. There should be an equal amount of fun had, and progress made, in every lesson.
In addition to teaching, Tess is also an Audio Engineer at Coupe Studios, and performs regularly with the Swedish fiddle group the Boulder Spelman Slog.
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