Jake Shim – Violin & Viola Teacher

Violin, Viola

Jake Shim


B.M. Violin Performance, New England Conservatory

Artist Diploma in Violin Performance, Curtis Institue Of Music

Classical, Pop, Jazz

Dongyoung Jake Shim gained international recognition most recently winning 1st Prize and Bach Prize at the Stulberg International String Competition in Michigan and a prize at the Zhuhai International Mozart Competition in China. After winning a Special Prize at the F. Kreisler International Violin Competition in Vienna, he won a prize at the Irving M. Klein International String Competition in San Francisco. Dongyoung was also one of the Laureates at the J. S. Bach Competition. In the upcoming season, Dongyoung will make his debut as a soloist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He also gave debut performances on three different continents including venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Jordan Hall, Seoul Arts Center, and Alice Tully Hall. Dongyoung has appeared at chamber music festivals including the Verbier Festival, Music @ Menlo, Yellow Barn, Perlman Music Program, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Spring Festival. He is currently an Artist Diploma candidate at the Curtis Institute of Music with a full scholarship studying with Ida Kavafian and Shmuel Ashkenasi. He plays the 1711 D. Montagnana, on generous loan from the Sooyoung Art Trade in Korea.

As a violin teacher, I have gained expertise in tutoring students on violin technique, music theory, and sight-reading. Additionally, my experience has helped me evaluate student work and provide constructive feedback to help them improve. I have also developed audition preparation materials for my students, which enables them to perform exceptionally well in their auditions. These experiences have helped me develop the skills necessary to succeed as a violin teacher.

When did you begin playing violin, and why?

I began playing the violin at the tender age of 5. My journey with the instrument commenced with a mixture of curiosity and encouragement from my family. Witnessing the enchanting melodies produced by skilled violinists ignited a spark within me, driving my desire to learn and create music. Since then, the violin has become an inseparable part of my life, providing me with a medium for self-expression and a source of endless joy and fulfillment.

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

In addition to the violin, I also have a passion for the piano and the viola. My musical journey expanded as I delved into the intricate world of these instruments. The piano, with its rich harmonies and versatility, has allowed me to explore a wide range of musical genres and express emotions with depth and clarity. On the other hand, the viola, with its warm and sonorous tones, has offered me a unique perspective on ensemble playing and the beauty of string instruments beyond the violin. Each instrument has enriched my musical experience in its own way, shaping me into a versatile and well-rounded musician.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

My ultimate aspiration as a musician is to become a violin professor. From the moment I first picked up the instrument at the age of 5, I’ve been captivated by its enchanting melodies and the profound emotions it can evoke. Throughout my musical journey, I’ve been fortunate to have mentors who not only nurtured my skills but also instilled in me a deep appreciation for teaching and passing on knowledge to future generations.

As a violin professor, I aspire to inspire and guide aspiring musicians on their own paths of musical discovery. I aim to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment where students can develop their technical proficiency, artistic expression, and love for music. Beyond teaching technique and repertoire, I want to cultivate a holistic approach to music education, fostering creativity, critical thinking, and a lifelong passion for learning.

Ultimately, my goal is to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of my students, equipping them with the skills and confidence to pursue their dreams and contribute positively to the world through music.

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

One of the most profound moments in my musical journey occurred after a performance of Bach in Hannover, Germany. As I stood on stage, immersed in the intricate harmonies and timeless melodies of Bach’s compositions, I experienced a profound connection to the music that transcended words. It was as if every note, every phrase, carried with it a depth of emotion and meaning that resonated deep within my soul.

In that moment, something truly clicked for me—a realization that music isn’t just about technical proficiency or flawless execution, but about channeling one’s emotions and experiences into every performance. It was a revelation that transformed the way I approached music, shifting my focus from perfection to authenticity and expression.

Since that unforgettable performance in Hannover, I’ve carried with me a newfound understanding of the power of music to touch hearts and souls, to communicate across language and cultural barriers, and to evoke emotions that words alone cannot express. It’s a memory that I’ll cherish forever, serving as a constant reminder of the transformative power of music in my life.

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

One of the most cherished pieces of advice I’ve received came from my former professor, Donald Weilerstein. He imparted to me the invaluable wisdom of treating music and my violin as if they were the person I love most dearly. This advice resonated deeply with me, as it beautifully encapsulates the essence of how we should approach our relationship with music and our instrument. Just as we nurture and cherish our relationships with loved ones, we must care for and invest our emotions into every note we play, infusing each melody with tenderness, passion, and sincerity.

This advice has not only guided my approach to practicing and performing but has also enriched my musical journey, reminding me to cultivate a deep connection with the music I play and the instrument I hold. It serves as a constant reminder to approach music-making with reverence, humility, and above all, love—a sentiment that continues to shape and inspire my musical endeavors to this day.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument

One of the most challenging moments in my musical journey occurred during a concert in Seoul, where I faced the daunting task of performing two concertos consecutively with an orchestra. The pressure was immense, and the stakes were high as I prepared to tackle this demanding feat. As the concert approached, I found myself grappling with a whirlwind of emotions—nervousness, excitement, and a tinge of doubt creeping in. The sheer magnitude of the task at hand seemed overwhelming, and doubts about my ability to deliver a flawless performance began to surface. However, it was precisely in this moment of adversity that I discovered the true depth of my resilience and determination.

Through hours of diligent practice, unwavering focus, and sheer determination, I pushed myself beyond my limits, striving to master every nuance and intricacy of the music. When the moment finally arrived, and I stepped onto the stage, I was met with a rush of adrenaline and a sense of purpose. As the music swelled around me, I drew upon every ounce of strength and conviction within me, channeling my emotions into every note, every phrase.

Despite the challenges and the immense pressure, I emerged from that concert with a profound sense of accomplishment and growth. It was a testament to the power of perseverance, resilience, and unwavering dedication in the face of adversity. Looking back, that challenging experience not only strengthened my skills as a musician but also taught me invaluable lessons about resilience, determination, and the boundless potential that lies within each of us to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

One of my most significant musical achievements occurred when I had the privilege of performing alongside incredible musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall in New York City in 2017. It was a momentous occasion that showcased not only my musical abilities but also the culmination of years of dedication, hard work, and passion for music. Sharing the stage with such esteemed colleagues was both an honor and a humbling experience. The opportunity to collaborate with world-class musicians in a prestigious venue like Alice Tully Hall pushed me to strive for excellence and to bring my A-game to every performance. That unforgettable concert stands out as a defining moment in my musical career, representing the realization of a lifelong dream and the culmination of countless hours spent honing my craft. It served as a testament to my dedication, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to pursuing my passion for music at the highest level.

Reflecting on that remarkable experience fills me with a profound sense of gratitude and pride, knowing that I had the privilege to contribute my talents to such a prestigious musical event and to share the stage with some of the finest musicians in the world. It’s a memory that I will cherish for a lifetime and serves as a reminder of the transformative power of music to unite people from all walks of life in a shared celebration of artistry, creativity, and expression.

Favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is the profound sense of fulfillment that comes from imparting knowledge and nurturing the growth of my students. Every interaction with a student is an opportunity not only to share my passion for music but also to inspire, guide, and empower them on their own musical journey. Teaching allows me to witness firsthand the transformative power of music in the lives of my students. Whether they are beginners taking their first steps on their musical path or advanced students refining their skills, I derive immense joy from witnessing their progress, witnessing their eyes light up with understanding, and witnessing their confidence soar as they master new techniques and conquer musical challenges. Moreover, teaching is a continuous learning process for me as well. Through teaching, I gain fresh insights into music theory, technique, and interpretation, deepening my own understanding of the music I love. It’s a mutually enriching experience that fosters a sense of camaraderie and connection between teacher and student, united by a shared passion for music.

Ultimately, teaching allows me to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of others, nurturing a new generation of musicians who will carry the torch of music forward with passion, dedication, and creativity. And for me, there is no greater reward than knowing that I have played a part in shaping the musical journey of my students and helping them realize their full potential as musicians and individuals.

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

One piece of advice I would like to share with anyone learning music is the importance of patience. Learning music is a journey that requires time, dedication, and perseverance. It’s easy to become frustrated when progress seems slow or when faced with challenges along the way. However, patience is key to overcoming these obstacles and continuing to grow as a musician. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and mastering an instrument or musical concept takes time and consistent effort. Embrace the process, celebrate small victories, and understand that progress may not always be linear. Be patient with yourself as you learn new techniques, tackle difficult passages, and navigate the complexities of music theory. Remember that every mistake is an opportunity to learn and improve. Stay committed to your practice routine, but also give yourself grace during moments of frustration or self-doubt. In the end, the journey of learning music is as important as the destination. Embrace the ups and downs, savor the moments of discovery and growth, and trust in your ability to progress over time. With patience as your guide, you’ll find that the rewards of musical mastery are well worth the effort.


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