Dakota Kievman – Violin Teacher

Dakota Keivman Violin

Dakota Kievman


B.M. Mason Gross School of the Arts


I developed a strong passion for the violin very early in my life. I started playing at age 2 after showing a strong interest while hearing a recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major on the radio. Since then, I have continued my studies, performing in many recitals and concerts. At the age of 6, I played as the soloist for the world premiere of my father’s piece “Starving Angels” with the Serioso String Quartet. After joining the Stretto Youth Orchestra, I grew passionate about chamber music and eventually became the concertmaster of the orchestra. After graduating, I went on to receive my Bachelor’s degree at Mason Gross School of the Arts.

I have played in multiple world tours and music festivals including, Orvieto Strings Festival and The Philadelphia International Music Festival. Recently, I had the opportunity to perform a recital with Grammy-nominated pianist Mark Livshits as well as perform in concert under Maestro Kensho Watanabe, assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study with some of the most distinguished musicians in the world including the renowned members of the Philadelphia Orchestra whom I continue to study with while preparing to begin my Master’s Degree.

Since the age of 14, I have found teaching to be a profound and rewarding experience and hope to extend my love and appreciation for classical music to today’s youth. I believe that music should be accessible to all people and that everyone has an innate musical ability. My goal is to spread music to as many people as possible whether it be through performing or teaching. Music is one of the greatest therapies that there is, and people can express through music what words lack.

My philosophy is that anyone has the capacity to engage in music. Although I use mostly the same books for my lessons, I adapt my teaching style to fit the student. Beginning by cultivating the students’ love and patience for music practice, we work on the foundation that will develop a strong technique. A well-developed technique allows a player to communicate the emotion through his or her instrument. Together, we learn the skill of efficiency and develop the tools needed for self-practice.

I love music. Playing, listening, watching, practicing, learning. Developing a great appreciation and understanding for music is a valuable life skill that I hope to spread to as many people as I can!

When did you begin playing Violin, and why?

I began playing the violin when I was 2 years old. My father is a composer and loves to play classical music in the car. One day Anne-Sophie Mutter was playing Beethoven’s violin concerto on the radio and I loved it! The following week, my parents got me a tiny violin and I began group lessons. I fell in love and it has been a part of my life ever since.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?

I have learned and taught beginner piano as well as intermediate viola in the past. Growing up, I also experimented with the sax, clarinet, trumpet and guitar for fun!

What are your personal goals as a musician?

I want to continue to learn and grow as a violinist for the rest of my life through performing and analyzing music as well as teaching and spreading the love and knowledge of music to others.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?

I remember when I was about 7 years old I was playing in my local youth orchestra. At the end of each rehearsal the younger group would join the older group to sight read their music. I always had a difficult time keeping up until I remember one day it just clicked. I told myself that I could do it and I read through the music with almost no mistakes! Soon after, I was invited to start playing with the older group.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?

It’s best to do what you love.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?

I had one teacher who decided that they wanted me to unlearn and relearn my entire approach to technique! This took a lot of discipline, but it really paid off and taught me more than just a new technique. It taught me to be patient with myself and that there is always room for improvement.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

I still look back to when I was 6 years old and played a solo with the Serioso String Quartet. This was my first concert aside from recitals and I got to premiere my father’s piece on stage with some amazing musicians. I will never forget thinking that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Favorite thing about teaching?

I love seeing my students grow throughout their musical career and when they recognize that they have made an improvement and are now able to do something that they would have never thought possible when they first started out.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?

If you get frustrated, just take a break. Don’t quit and don’t push yourself to the edge, learning music should be an enjoyable and fun experience!

Personal music projects:

I loved playing in Rutgers Baroque Ensemble and am thinking of starting an early music ensemble in Philadelphia.


Philly Music Lessons specializes in connecting students of all ages and skill levels with great teachers in the Philadelphia and Main Line areas.