Philosophy

I love to teach others to play the violin. Teaching is an essential component of being a whole musician for me. I love helping students discover their unique voice through the violin. My students benefit from a sense of accomplishment having worked to set and reach desired goals that are truly authentic and which help to define the role of music in their lives. Studying the violin is helpful in so many areas of life from learning time management and discipline skills, developing coordination and fine motor skills, and learning to listen deeply and constructively. Playing chamber music develops skills akin to living life with others-listening, watching, adjusting, being sensitive and being flexible. My students have excelled in these pursuits while also getting into major music conservatories, summer festivals, soloing with orchestras and winning top honors. ​In addition, my interest in the connection between mind and body, has led me to explore the  Alexander Technique and Body Mapping which I integrate into my teaching. This awareness helps students to continue to play their instruments free of injury.


I offer private lessons as well as chamber music coaching for new or preformed groups. If you think you could benefit from working with me, I am anxious to meet you! Contact me to schedule an initial consultation.

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Testimonials

"Colleen is a talented musician and a committed, conscientious teacher. She skillfully shares her musicianship and broad experience with her students. She also anchors her instruction in a deep knowledge of the body: how it moves and how it works. This information helps her students develop the precise physical coordination necessary to improve technique, prevent injury, and develop self-expression."


~Missy Vineyard, Alexander Technique Teacher and founder of the Alexander Technique School New England


One of the (many!) reasons I was excited to take violin lessons with Colleen was that I hoped her knowledge of body awareness work would help me reduce the physical pain of playing violin. After two years working with her, I’m seeing a real improvement—a huge relief. But I’ve also been delighted to realize that the work we’ve done with body awareness has also led me to a lovelier sound, an easier and more varied vibrato, and the freedom to explore more musical colors and expressivity in my playing. Colleen is always so supportive and encouraging and is so creative as a teacher and musician—lessons with her are truly such a pleasure.


~Amelia Perron, freelance musician and Summer Workshop Administrative Director at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music


​“Colleen is a wonderfully inspiring and supportive teacher, who has always been willing to respond to my interests in music and violin. She provides the perfect balance between challenge and encouragement, and has greatly helped to shape me into a confident and competent musician.” 


~Galen Winsor, private student


"Colleen is a marvelous, effective, thorough, calm and engaging coach. She has a great way of taking the temperature of each player, getting to know us individually and as a group, and figuring out ways to offer a suggestion that increases our ability to express musical ideas and connect with each other. Everything from phrasing to imagery, and technique to relaxation techniques."


~Renna Pye, chamber music student


"As I have transitioned into college, my violin lessons have been a way for me to escape the stress and pressure of my academics. With Colleen as a teacher, going to lessons doesn't feel like just another obligation. She makes the learning process fun and engaging and, as someone who has had several other teachers over the years, I know that the patience and kindness she employs in her teaching are not easy to find. I have no doubt that Colleen is a big reason for my continued love of the violin. "


~Annabel Utz, student at Smith Col