Violin & Viola
Hi! I am Linnea, and I have been playing the violin/viola for 21 years. I am a dedicated, fun, and loving teacher who has been teaching since 2007. I inspire my students to learn to love music and also to enjoy the work and dedication that comes with being a musician.
I received my bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University where I studied with CJ Chang, Principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. I hold a Performance Diploma from Boston University where I studied with a fine-arts scholarship award, working with members of the BSO and performing in Boston Symphony Hall. I received my Master’s in Music Performance at University of Maryland studying under pedagogue Katherine Murdock, while holding a full-tuition School of Music Scholarship Award and an assistantship. I also pursued a Performance Certificate at DePaul University studying with WeiTing Kuo of the Chicago Symphony, also under Scholarship Award. I have attended the Aspen Music Festival, The Bowdoin Festival, held a fellowship with the National Repertory Orchestra, the Round Top Festival Institute, and also with the AIMS Opera Orchestra in Graz, Austria.
As a performer, I have performed with the New York Choral Arts Society in the Kennedy Center, the Fairfax Symphony, performed in Carnegie Hall and the Schlossberg Graz, appeared as Principal Viola alongside classical guitar legend Sharon Isbin in Aspen, played in concert with Rufus Wainwright, and recorded a music video with Jay-Z for the Super Bowl in NYC. I play on a beautiful Douglas Cox viola generously provided to me through a scholarship grant from the Virtu Foundation.
I am an energetic, highly creative, and extremely patient teacher. I love working with people of all ages, and I strive to make the learning process as fun as possible! I am always learning new ways to keep my students alert and engaged, and I strive to keep their minds working the entire lesson. As I get to know each student, I tailor each lesson specifically to them, their learning style, and their personality. This pushes my students to work at their peak, which is the key to keeping a discipline that feels fun and fresh. It is important to me that I encourage my students to question as much as possible, so together we teach them how it feels to teach themselves. This is a skill that will carry over into almost every other aspect of their life! When you can spark a student’s curiosity, they are more likely to pursue learning activities on their own. I am very gifted in helping others feel at ease with themselves, which helps build the courage needed to bravely tackle new and challenging concepts.
I look forward to working with you as we delve into the world of music! Music has changed my life, and continues to push and challenge me each day. I am always excited to bring music to those who want to know more about it, and to help them find the joy within music and themselves!
When did you begin playing Viola, and why?
I began playing the viola in 3rd grade. I originally asked to play the flute but too many kids signed up and I ended up being given a viola instead – and I never looked back!
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I also have played the violin on and off throughout the years when needed for gigs, and for my teaching. I found that being a violist gives me a unique advantage as a violin teacher, because we violists give more attention to making sure a student feels comfortable with the instrument. Violists tend to get injured easier because our instruments are slightly larger, and thanks to this attention to detail, I am confident that I am setting up my students with healthy playing habits that will support them for their entire musical lives.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My immediate goal is to be a professional musician playing in an orchestra. I absolutely love playing in an orchestra and I am very skilled in working in group settings with many personalities mixing and matching together. I love the thrill of being on stage every night, and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I’ll be beginning to take auditions for orchestras this year – which often turns into a multi-year project! My long term goals include becoming a viola performance professor at a well known music college or conservatory, and also making sure my non-profit leads the industry when it comes to rebuilding an equitable system that serves all peoples within the music space.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
Yes! I read a book in college called The Talent Code – which explains exactly how the brain best learns physical movement and how “talent” is a myth which can hold us back from our true potential. This completely changed how I practiced and approached music, and in my final performances that semester all of my professors were blown away by the progress I had made.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
Trust the process. Philly basketball fans will love this one – but it’s true. When you are 4 months deep into practicing for a big performance, all you can see is your own shortcomings, and it feels easy to lose hope. But it’s all part of the process, and I tell my students this all the time. Music, as in life, won’t always feel easy, and you won’t always be able to feel your progress. In your darkest moments, you have to trust that you are putting in the work, you’re moving forward, and eventually you will see just how far you’ve come!
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
Trusting the process! I prepared a professional solo recital in the beginning of 2020 for the first time without a teacher or any outside help. I felt like I was feeling through the dark – but my performance was one of the best I had ever given, and all the schooling I had done was living within me – it was the first time I was able to tap into that learning on my own and it was the most incredible and powerful feeling to know I was ready for the professional world.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
The above mentioned recital for sure. Our biggest challenges in music tend to lead to our greatest achievements. Also – performing my first major professional orchestra gig in the Kennedy Center was exciting and scary – but it went extremely well.
Favorite thing about teaching?
The lightbulb moments are the best for me. Often times we will spend weeks working through something, and eventually – it will all just ‘Click’. I love love those moments. The students are excited about their learning, they can feel themselves improving, they know in that instant that all the work was worth it, and we get to celebrate together!
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to have fun! It can be easy to get caught up in little imperfections and with skills you are working on – remember that babies take months of practice before their first steps, and longer before they can run, jump, and climb. It’s all part of the process, and you need to be patient and trust that you’ll get there eventually.
Personal music projects:
In the year 2020, after several big performances and fellowships were cancelled due to the pandemic, I went on to join and help lead in the creation of a new non-for-profit orchestra PROTESTRA, which performs social-justice themed concerts, advocating for activist causes through music, and striving to re-inspire the relevance of classical music in a new era.