Most days I’m convinced I have the best job in the world. I nurture musicians: Growing minds and hearts, developing physical capabilities, coaching and cultivating competitive spirits, giving an opportunity for excellence in exceptional people, young and old. It is hard work. And it is fun! Just like playing the violin.

Playing violin is one of the most complex behaviors humans engage in. Aside from being a highly-complex kinesthetic activity, it requires mathematical, auditory, emotional, and linguistic intelligence. Practice requires a regularly stable environment in which a learner can devote hundreds of hours to uninterrupted practice before attaining a basic proficiency. Despite popular wisdom to the contrary, not everyone can learn to play the violin.

I came to the violin around the same time as many of my students. I was 9. I had been playing the piano for 4 years and my mom suggested we try another instrument. We went to a demonstration at my school and I remembering thinking the teacher was beautiful… and she might have been, but it might have been the violin.

I started immediately and progressed rapidly, participating in competitive festivals, solo competitions and the Vermont Youth Orchestra, for whom I teach today.

Unlike many of my violin playing peers, I cross genres. I am as comfortable playing classical music written hundreds of years ago as I am improvising by ear to something one of my talented friends wrote on guitar or piano. I play by ear. I improvise to jazz, play the blues, dabble in old time, and hanker for bluegrass. Inspired by my students, I recently began to learn guitar so I have to split my practicing time between two instruments.

Although I love teaching music in general, I have a particular fondness for teaching young people. In addition to teaching violin to a group of 3rd and 4th graders in an afterschool program at Winooski Elementary school, I teach downhill skiing at Sugarbush in the winter and substitute teach in the Burlington Public School system.

My most recent formal study has been violin pedagogy at the Ithaca Suzuki Institute. I completed the Suzuki Book 1 training, which focuses on teaching beginners with an emphasis on children.

I am grateful for the opportunity to teach and welcome inquiries of any kind.

You can call or text me at 802.373.7223 or email me at tbswanson@gmail.com