Therese West – Violin Teacher

Violin, Viola, and Piano
B.M. Violin Performance, Baldwin Wallace Conservatory
Teaches All Ages and Skill Levels
Studio and In-Home Lessons

unnamed-1I teach violin, viola, and piano. I started playing piano at age 4, violin at age 6, and viola in college.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was a member of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.  I received a bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory.  I recently moved to the Philadelphia area to study violin with David Kim, concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra.  I have experience teaching private and group lessons to students of all ages and working with several youth orchestras.  I have really enjoyed my teaching experiences so far and cannot wait to continue to share my love for music with students.  I hope to teach each student not only how to become better at their instrument, but encourage them to express themselves through their music, to learn how to work well with others and collaborate with their music, and to develop a strong appreciation for music. 


When did you begin playing Violin, and why?
I began playing violin at age 6. I had started piano lessons in preschool and my elementary school began offering violin lessons when I was in first grade. I already really enjoyed music so I knew I would have fun learning violin too.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I actually started piano lessons first, and continued performing on piano through college. I played piano for my church and school choir. I began studying viola in 2015 with Lembi Veskimets, a member of the Cleveland Orchestra. This past August I performed Quincy Porter’s Suite for Solo Viola in a concert for the Philadelphia Viola Society.

What are your personal goals as a musician?
I hope to be in a professional orchestra one day and continue teaching throughout my musical career.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I really struggled with learning spiccato for a while. It felt like it was just never going to happen. Then, after practicing and experimenting with it for a long time, one day I did something ever so slightly different with my right hand and I was able to do it! I still work on it now but I’ve been able to do it ever since.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
My favorite piece of advice from one of my teachers is, remember to always have a goal in mind. If you are working towards a goal, it is going to take a lot of time and effort but you will continue to put in the time and the hard work because you will have that goal in sight.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
My most challenging moment when learning an instrument was learning my bow hold. For a while I developed a bad habit and held my bow in a way that would make it difficult to create a nice sound. Breaking a bad habit is very hard, and I learned that it not only takes a lot of practice, but a ton of discipline to break a bad habit.

What is your biggest musical achievement?
My biggest musical achievement was in 2016 when I was accepted into a summer festival orchestra that performed for six weeks in Graz, Austria. I got to live there for most of the summer and performed in an amazing orchestra each week. It was so much fun.

Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is seeing my students accomplish their goals. I get so excited when a student masters a piece or a technique that they’ve been working on.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
A piece of advice I would like to share with anyone learning music is to make sure you have fun with it. Learning music will get difficult and complicated. Always make sure you practice the difficult parts of course, but be sure to make time to play pieces you enjoy during your practice time.

Personal music projects
I am currently preparing for a few professional orchestra auditions.