Private Lessons for Violin and Viola:
Teaching music lessons has always been a rewarding and exciting experience for me, guiding and watching students of all ages as they progress and mature in their playing and their lives. While learning technique, discipline and organization skills, students play music to express themselves in ensembles and orchestras, for fun, to interact and socialize with other players and to bring joy to people for whom they play.
When I was nine years old, violin was offered in my elementary school. I loved it immediately. After a few months of playing in school, my mom found a wonderful private teacher for me and I have not stopped playing and learning music since!
I know how important it can be to supplement a talented student’s school instruction with one-on-one coaching. Pupils move ahead rapidly given this opportunity. Many of my students play with one of the local youth orchestras, keeping up their interest and commitment all the way through high school. Some have gone on to study music in college and music schools and have received scholarships.
Private lessons are at my home studio in Orange CT with an adjacent room for waiting parents and siblings.
Please contact me for rates and more information.
My teaching style is a combination of traditional classical methods, some of the better parts of Suzuki training and my own experience with conveying concepts of ear training, theory and musicianship. Above all, I focus on the importance of joy and enthusiasm in playing. I encourage all my students to play with other musicians, having them play in ensembles that I put together several times a year. I welcome the study of all styles of popular as well as classical music. I am a music arranger and work with a computer music notation program to offer transcriptions and original arrangements for my students and ensembles. I play piano as well and can accompany them.
I have over 25 years of experience teaching private lessons to adults, children, beginners, intermediate and advanced students, playing classical, folk, jazz, improvisation, rock, ethnic, Broadway and current popular songs. In addition to my private studio I am currently the part-time Strings Instructor at an elementary school in Stratford CT, teaching small groups and ensembles of students on violin, viola and cello. My experience includes three years in the Continuing Education Department at Sacred Heart University, and two years as Director and primary teacher of the New Haven Suzuki School in West Haven.
Comments from parents of my students:
“Kate understands what motivates children ...so they develop their violin skills and also enjoy playing their instrument. This is the most important lesson I have learned as a father of two of her violin students over eight years! She knows her stuff and she makes the student take responsibility for his instrument, his performance level and his dedication to self-improvement. These are not easy lessons, but for her students Kate makes them part of being good at doing anything in life. That is a very valuable addition to our work as parents!”
-Brett & Sara M.
"Kate does so much more than teach music. While being an extraordinary music teacher, her love of music is contagious to her pupils. She inspires and motivates her students, always ready to encourage them as they sometimes struggle to reach that right sounding note. She is sensitive to both her students' feelings and parents' opinions. My daughter has been taking violin lessons from Kate for four years and she has blossomed into a proficient violinist and an exceptional teenager. I credit Kate to being a part of this process. Thank you Kate."
-Deborah S., Orange CT
“My granddaughter had been in the strings program of a local public school system for a few years. She decided she wanted a little more serious, one on on instruction, to improve her playing. What a difference a few weeks of classes with Kate made! Now, after a taking private lessons for a year, she is a happy, motivated player who can read music and respond appropriately to musical notation. Not only is Kate an excellent music teacher, but she is a positive, sensitive individual, who can read the feelings and moods of young teenagers and draw the best from them.”
-Mary T. Grandmother
“We have known Kate O’Brien for seven years. She has given violin lessons to two of our children, Alexander and Larissa. With Kate, music lessons have been both serious and pleasurable for our children.
Kate manages to get her students to make the most progress through understanding their strengths and weaknesses, implementing strategies to augment their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses, and imparting a strong desire on the students’ part to improve without negatively pressuring them to do so. She understands that students often have busy lives and enormous pressure from external and internal sources and knows how to get the most from them while nurturing their love of music.
Kate’s lessons have extended far beyond violin and music. Through the discipline of music practice, she has helped to teach her students how to apply themselves to achieve whatever they desire through the process of learning that motivation to achieve must come from within themselves and that the results accomplished can be very sweet and long lasting.
We take delight in listening to our children play violin, in orchestras and solo. Alex will be a sophomore at Columbia University this fall and continues to enjoy playing for pleasure. Larissa will be a junior at Trumbull High School this fall, continues to take lessons with Kate, and has been playing with the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestra in its Symphony Orchestra this past year.”
-Martha and Larry M.