Why We Teach:

How my own experience as a student sparked my vision of the “Wayland School of Music Difference”

A message from Penny Wayne-Shapiro, Founder and Director

When I moved to Wayland in 1997 and opened what was then Wayland Violin Studio, I dreamed of creating an environment where students would receive the best possible teaching from the very start, so they could develop true physical ease and excellence in playing.

But that wasn’t all. I wanted also to equip them, musically and emotionally, to nurture their own inner musical spark to the fullest. And I wanted them to have this kind of support available to them right from their very first lesson.

Why? Because I learned the hard way just how important this is! During my first years of playing violin, I unknowingly developed many unhelpful habits, both technically and psychologically. Although I was a talented and passionate young musician, these "holes" in my early learning impacted both my progress and my self-expression for some time.

I was eventually able to overcome this less-than-ideal start, to enter and graduate from the conservatory, and to build a successful career. But this challenging journey made me intensely aware of the importance of the "right start", the right kind of expert guidance and encouragement from the very beginning, in order to fully to enjoy playing at any level.

Perhaps directly because of these early experiences, my teaching and performing lives have always been intertwined.  Even as a conservatory student, I found that my own process of learning and discovery not only helped me, but also helped me to help others.

Later, although my performing and touring schedule with the London Philharmonic allowed for very little free time, I continued to both take and give lessons when possible, driven to sharpen my musical and technical understanding.

When I moved to Boston on sabbatical, then married and moved to Wayland in preparation for raising a family, I was finally able to create a better balance between teaching and performing.

As a teacher, I learn constantly from helping my students, and am inspired by doing so. As a professionally active musician, I aspire—and am held—to the highest standards of performance.

Meanwhile, my students benefit from my quest to continue refining my own artistry - but I also benefit from guiding them, and especially from their need for clear and helpful direction, at any level. This impacts both my teaching and performing - and so the cycle continues.

After 10 years of teaching in Wayland, in 2007 my vision expanded. I invited instructors of other instruments to join me, and on its 10th anniversary Wayland Violin Studio became Wayland School of Music.

It was very clear to me that in order to remain faithful to my vision, I needed to find colleagues with a similar level of expertise and passion, who would bring their own enthusiasm for teaching and learning - always allied to a high level of musical skill - to our students.

This commitment to our mission is at the foundation of our hiring policy, and it leads to what we call the "Wayland School of Music Difference":

an environment in which students are nurtured from the start with outstanding teaching from inspiring professional musicians; and are encouraged and challenged to discover their own musical voice.

The instructors you will find here are passionate about teaching and learning, and about sharing our joy in both music and our instruments. Having already achieved success in both aspects of our musical careers, we’re teaching because we truly want—and love—to do so!

My hope is that the “Wayland School of Music Difference” results not only in our students playing their instruments better and with greater ease; but also gives them confidence in their own musical voice, a rewarding avenue for self-expression, a deeper understanding of their inner strengths, and - no matter how long  they carry on playing their instruments - a life-long enjoyment and appreciation of music.

Come and experience the “Wayland School of Music Difference” for yourself! Contact us to arrange a free “try-out” lesson.