Zoe Hartenbaum – Violin & Viola Teacher

Violin & Viola

Zoe Hartenbaum

She/ Her/ Hers

Studied at the Peabody Conservatory under Richard Field

Classical & Contemporary

I am a freelance violist in the Philadelphia area with over 5 years of violin/ viola teaching experience through various schools and organizations. Since 2021, I’ve worked as a teaching artist with Youth Orchestra of Bucks County’s Students in Concert program. My primary teaching focus is building confidence in my students as performers as well as helping them to find their place as a unique and significant contributor to the music community. I attended both the Peabody Conservatory and California Institute of the Arts where I studied viola performance. Currently, I am in an accelerated performance certificate program as a viola fellow with Orchestra of the Americas’ OAcademy. Over the years, I’ve participated in several festivals/ workshops including Nief Norf Summer Music Festival, Black House Contemporary Workshop, Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. 

When did you begin playing Viola, and why?

I began playing viola in elementary school. What initially drew me in to viola was a love for classical repertoire, specifically pieces like Scheherazade and Chichester Psalms.

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

I have experience as a whistler in classical contemporary music as well as pop music, and some experience playing basic piano.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

As a performer, my personal goal is bringing a level of inclusivity and vulnerability into my performance spaces. As a teacher, my personal goal is to support a healthy and lasting relationship between the student, their instrument, and music in general.

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

A great mentor of mine taught me that the instrument is an extension of the body, and tenseness is counterproductive to solid instrumental technique. I find it very helpful that I can remember a time at which I did not have that knowledge, because it assists in my teaching of helping my students to learn certain techniques and unlearn others.

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

Be 100% confident and convincing in your musical interpretations, and never let anyone or anything steal your joy of music and motivation for playing your instrument.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?

I’ve found that changing aspects of my technique that no longer serve me to be the most difficult. It takes a lot of work and patience but it has always been well worth the time.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

My biggest musical achievement has been fostering a healthy and loving relationship with my instrument and practice. I have, of course, many fond memories of performances as well, but it is very difficult to choose one over another as they all feel deeply significant in my personal motivation and artistic development.

Favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite part of teaching is seeing the excitement and joy in a student when their practice and hard work begins to make a noticeable difference in their playing. 

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

Be kind to yourself! It is good to be self critical in practice, but not to the extent where you’re engaging in self limiting thought. Believe that you can get to where you wish to be, whether that be technically or musically.

Personal music projects: 

I am currently working on a few pieces of contemporary music that were written for me, to be premiered in the next few months.


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