At Wayland School of Music we believe that whether you're a complete beginner or a developing artist, you deserve an experienced, enthusiastic teacher with a proven record of excellence as both teacher and performer.

  • Our private lesson teachers must have a minimum of 10 years of professional teaching experience (they average much more).
  • They must also have achieved professional success as performers. WSM teachers have performed with the Boston Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg (Russia) State Symphony, and many other professional orchestras and ensembles.
  • Our group class teachers must have taught classes in a wide variety of settings.

Our teachers are passionate educators and inspiring musicians who "practice what they preach". They are are patient, skilled, dynamic, and fun!

Meet them below, then contact us to set up a free tryout lesson.

Penny Wayne-Shapiro, Violin; Suzuki violin
Founder and Director

Penny Wayne-ShapiroPenny was born in Worthing, southern England, and did her undergraduate and graduate training at the Royal Academy of Music, London, followed by post-graduate work with Ivan Galamian in New York. Later she completed a Master's degree and Doctoral coursework while studying with Yuri Mazurkevich at Boston University, where she also taught string pedagogy in the Music Education department. From 1990-97 she was a faculty member at the Community Music Center of Boston. In 1997 she founded Wayland Violin Studio, which in 2007 expanded to become Wayland School of Music.

Penny's first professional appointment was at age 22, as first violinist with English National Opera. She was also a regular performer with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. She joined the first violin section of the London Philharmonic at age 26, took part in many international tours and recordings, and was featured as costumed soloist in a number of LPO opera productions. She also taught in the LPO educational program, and gave many recitals in London and elsewhere, including a solo tour of Brazil. In the US, Penny was concertmaster (first chair) of the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2012. She is now the violinist of the Aviva Piano Trio.

A life long learner, Penny continues to be excited about teaching and performing and recently added Suzuki training to her toolbox.

“Penny is committed and passionate about what she does and works at the students' pace to make music fun.”
– parent of boys ages 6 and 8

“Penny is a wonderful, talented, and caring teacher. She pushes her students to reach for their best, but doesn't overwhelm them in the process.”
- mother of students ages 13 and 16

Meet Penny:

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    Age nine, but I had been begging for violin lessons for years
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    My Dad was a concert pianist, but didn't want any of his children to be musicians! (Hence the long wait for lessons.)
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    When I was ten my Dad gave me his collection of 78 rpm records — four minutes of music per side. I fell hopelessly in love with a particular four minutes of Brahms symphony #1, and played it over and over until the old 78 rpm record player literally went up in smoke.
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Playing that same piece, Brahms 1, many times (on three continents!) with the London Phil, then several times as concertmaster with the CCSO; a recital tour of the beautiful country of Brazil in the 1980s; the excitement of rehearsing and performing with the Aviva Piano Trio.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    Interacting with the kids; seeing the light dawn on their faces as they master something they couldn't do before; sharing my love of a piece of music with them; learning so much myself from teaching them.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I assume we're going to work hard together, but I’ll do my best to make it fun too - and I will never give up on finding a way to teach you something.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I love rollercoasters and waterpark thrill rides! On vacation in New Jersey I went down a 90ft water-slide called the Cliff Dive – it’s rumored that I screamed “really loudly”.

Madalyne Cross, Viola/violin; Suzuki violin/viola; Director of Suzuki Program

Madalyne CrossMadalyne trained at New York University with Stephanie Baer on a Talent Scholarship, and at the Hartt School of Music in CT with Rita Porfiris and Teri Einfeldt, where she completed her MM degree with a specialization in Suzuki pedagogy. Madalyne has taught in a variety of settings, including the Brooklyn Philharmonic Outreach program, the Suzuki Magnet program at Parker Elementary in Houston, Texas, and the Simsbury Arts Academy in CT. Most recently she taught at the Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon, NH, where she maintained a studio of 35 students aged 4-70 for several years before settling in the Metrowest area in spring 2015.

Madalyne has performed with the One World Symphony and Opera Vista, as well as having extensive freelance experience in CT, NH and VT. She also has a particular interest in chamber music, and has performed as violist with the Cimmaron Ensemble in TX, the 016 New Music Ensemble in CT, and the Saraswati quartet in NH.

“Madalyne is such a skilled and gifted teacher and a gorgeous musician herself. She strikes this amazing balance — she's extremely empowering to kids because she is so masterful at helping them focus on one element at a time, while having fun. It means they feel very in touch with progress in a concrete, tangible way.”
- mother of student age 7

Meet Madalyne

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I started playing the violin when I was 5 at the Suzuki Violin program at my elementary school. In 7th grade, I switched to viola as my main instrument.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    My father plays the steel guitar and my mother plays the piano.
  3. Best, funniest or worst musical memory from childhood?
    I was playing at a group class Halloween concert dressed as a flamingo, with a pink dress and an inflatable flamingo on my head. We started a piece called "Witches' Dance" and my bow got stuck in the flamingo on my head! (Luckily I was able to get it out quickly and continue playing.)
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    All of the traveling that came with playing in my school orchestras, some neat recording projects in New York and, of course, moonlighting with my Dad's country music band.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I love making a connection with a student and watching that student grow and learn to love playing.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I expect to work hard and to have fun learning together.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I love to cook and to eat!

Zarina Irkaeva, Cello; Theory/Composition

Zarina IrkaevaZarina trained in Russia, where she won many prizes and awards. She gained her M.Mus degree at the St. Petersburg, Conservatory, and became assistant principal cello of the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. She began teaching at an early age, and later taught at both the St. Petersburg School for Gifted Children, and the St. Petersburg Rehabilitation Program for Abused Children. She is currently on the cello faculty of Wheaton College.

Zarina performs regularly with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and several other New England orchestras. She is an active chamber musician, and has performed at the Greensboro Music festival in Vermont and the Jewish Music Festival in Boston. She also appears frequently as solo recitalist at various local venues. She is the cellist of the Aviva Piano Trio.

“My daughter has had four other cello teachers, and none has made the connection with her that Zarina has.”
- mother of student age 11

Meet Zarina

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I didn’t start till nine years old, because they all (family and teachers) wanted me to be physicist or mathematician instead.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    Yes, Mother, Aunt, Uncle and another five members of the family
  3. Best, funniest or worst musical memory from childhood?
    Before I was finally allowed to take lessons, I found two rulers in my house and used them as an imaginary violin and bow to practice hand positions – that was the best I could do, my uncle’s wife would have been furious with me if I’d touched her real one!
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    I am not sure I have an answer to this one! It would be very difficult to find just one episode, it would take a whole book to fit them. I love learning – I was so lucky to meet many of teachers I had – they are highlights to my career – F. Reznikov, K. Kucherov, E. Fishman, A. Paulavichus, N. Nuridjanian, K. Tatebe, L. Jeppessen and a long list of others. I love to experiment myself and learn from my music partners. Everyone brings new perspective on things.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I love children. I love kids’ world. I love when someone walks in not knowing how to open the instrument case and a couple of years later is debating the best concept of performing Bach.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    Do not be fooled by my soft voice and smile, I am kind but I am strict too!
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I love history. I love decorating, potion making, designing my own clothing (if I would only have a time for all of that!).

Sheryl Lafayette, Piano; Suzuki Piano

Sheryl Lafayette Sheryl received her BMus (honors) and Masters degrees from U Madison-Wisconsin, studying with Jeanette Ross and Tait Sanford. She followed with extensive post-grad study in Suzuki philosophy and pedagogy, studying with Doris Harrell, Mary Craig Powell and Valery Lloyd-Watts. She is registered as a Suzuki instructor through level 4 piano.

Sheryl is happy to use a Suzuki, traditional, or combination approach, depending on the needs of the student. As well as maintaining her extensive private studio, she is piano instructor at Creative Arts in Reading, and was its Director from 2004-2009. She is a past Director of the MA Suzuki Association and the MA Suzuki Festival, and since 2005 has been Assistant Director of the Suzuki-by-the-Green summer piano workshop. She is also an adjudicator for the Eastern District Junior and Senior Festivals, and for the Rivers Conservatory Youth Orchestras.

As a performer, Sheryl freelances extensively with chamber groups in the Metro Boston area, and also performs (as violinist) with the Merrimack Valley Philharmonic, the North Shore Philharmonic, and the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra.

Sheryl raised two young musicians herself who are now professionals - a Boston Symphony violinist, and a concert cellist/performance psychologist.

"Our family thinks the world of Sheryl! She has wonderful patience, ways of eliciting enthusiasm from students, and solid musicianship. Our daughter was able to progress at just the right pace, developing skills for and confidence in performance."
- mother of piano student, studied from ages 6 -14

Meet Sheryl

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I remember wanting to play the piano as a tiny child but there was no way to get a piano into our second floor, three room apartment. At age 10, I was able to start on the cello in our public school program, and later violin. I played piano whenever possible and taught myself a lot, but did not have formal piano lessons until college.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    No. My dad had no musical experience; my mom had some piano lessons as a child. I found out later that my maternal grandfather wrote popular songs (I still have some of them) and made instruments (violins and mandolins). He claimed he had a dream in which “Old Man Stradivarius” came to him and told him the secret of how he made his beautiful violins, but he never revealed that secret to me!
  3. Best, funniest or worst musical memory from childhood?
    Once, in junior high school, I somehow broke the scroll and fingerboard off my cello. I remember walking home with about five friends, each of us carrying a piece of the cello. It was VERY humiliating.
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Performing in a group of teachers led by Shinichi Suzuki. I’ve had many experiences where I feel as one with the music and the musicians around me; Dr. Suzuki was a master at helping us to feel the living soul of tone.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I love making connections with students (each one is different!), and helping them making connections with music. I love showing them how to play mindfully yet relaxed, using their entire body.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I consider myself a musician rather than as a specific instrumentalist. I look upon performing as a way of communicating through one’s instrument. I think it is possible to have very high standards and also make learning music fun. I want students to look for their own answers as much as they can rather than having me tell them exactly what to do.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I live with a beautiful black cat named Minerva who refused to come out from under the bed for the first five months she lived with me, but is now starting to venture forth.

Elizabeth Levens, Violin/Viola/Elementary Cello; Suzuki Violin/Viola/Cello

Elizabeth LevensGrowing up in Wayland, Elizabeth Levens was a prizewinner of the Rivers Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition and a Senior Lifeguard at the Wayland Town Beach. After graduating with honors from Walnut Hill School for the Arts, she received her BMus in performance from BU (Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa), and her MMus from the University of South Florida where she was teaching assistant to Carolyn Stuart.

In addition to her work at Wayland School of Music Elizabeth maintains a private violin/viola studio, teaches for the Walpole and Shrewsbury after-school music programs, and leads the Shrewsbury fourth grade orchestra program. She is Suzuki certified through Book 7.

A very active and versatile performer, she has appeared with many orchestras in Boston and Florida, including the Ocala Symphony, Thayer Symphony and South Shore Symphony. She has also performed with the New Music Consortium, at the Three Bridges International Chamber Music Festival, and the Aston Magna Bach Festival.

Elizabeth is certified as both Hatha and Vinyasa yoga instructor, and Thai massage practitioner. She uses her knowledge of anatomy and mind/body awareness to help her violin and viola students play free of unnecessary tension and injuries.

“I observed several of my son’s first lessons with Elizabeth. She is extremely talented and patient, and consistently offered positive reinforcement. I was particularly impressed with the strategies Elizabeth explained to him to help him improve his posture. They proved to be very helpful as he progressed. I have observed her amazing talent, both as a performer and teacher; her professionalism; and her kindness.”
- mother of a viola student age 10

Meet Elizabeth

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I started violin at age 8.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    My mother and grandmother are both accomplished pianists.
  3. Best, funniest or worst musical memory from childhood?
    I was performing Vivaldi’s A minor Concerto in a student recital, and my E string broke. I kept going, and had to play all the E string sections high up on the A string!
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Orchestral tours to Italy and China, and seeing the audience moved to tears when we played Tchaikovsky 6, one of my childhood favorite symphonies. I have also enjoyed playing for conductors Gunther Schuller, Christopher Seaman, and Leonard Slatkin.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I love sharing my passion for music with students, and seeing their enthusiasm grow as we progress through lessons. I also love solving technical problems.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I believe in fostering a fun, supportive and encouraging environment for children to study music. I have high expectations, and do a lot of technical work, but I also want lessons to be fun and energetic.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    In addition to teaching violin, I teach yoga and do Thai massage sessions. In my spare time, I enjoy kayaking, hiking, running, and playing with my two rescue dogs.

Eamonn O'Hara, Piano

Eamonn O'HaraEamonn O'Hara was a scholarship student at both the New England Conservatory Prep School and the Boston Conservatory. His principal teachers were with Jonathan Bass, Ramon River and Hilda Shapiro, and he also took masterclasses with the legendary Leon Fleischer.

Eamonn teaches at the Amadeus Music School in Lexington; he has previously taught piano at LexiMusic, and pedagogy at the Boston Arts Academy. He brings to his students not only his extensive teaching and performing experience but also his in-depth study of the Alexander Technique, in order to help them employ natural and effective movement in developing their piano playing.

Eamonn is a versatile performer who has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at a wide range of venues in New England, and has also performed as symphonic pianist with the Cape Ann and Melrose Symphony Orchestras.

Meet Eamonn

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I was seven when formal lessons began. My mother, an avid player herself, naturally showed me some things at the piano before then.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    My mother is a Classical enthusiast and loves the piano. My father plays guitar and enjoys a wide mix of music, mostly Celtic and folk. Our house was always filled with music.
  3. Best, funniest or worst musical memory from childhood?
    Back in high school, I was supposedly offered to play for a concert at Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood. Of course, I had heard people say nice things about my playing before, but this was simply astonishing! I set to feverish preparation for the event, but soon learned they only needed me as an usher and to hand out programs. Quite a disappointment at the time, but very funny in retrospect!
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    An invitation from my former teacher, Hilda Banks Shapiro, to play Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy at Searles Castle in Stockbridge. I had six weeks to learn the finger-breakingly difficult 20-minute work, and gave perhaps my best performance ever up until that time. The castle environs certainly helped kick on the epic dimension.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    Seeing a student light up as they listen to and engage with music. To give them access to the world of music is the most wonderful privilege!
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    It's an absolute joy to discover music with my students. Although progress is always exciting, I understand that our journey has its fair share of challenges and charms, plateaus and breakthroughs. As long as we maintain an attitude of earnest learning, curiosity and awe, we will play our best and inevitably be nourished by music.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    Before music became my passion, I enjoyed drawing and thought at one time I would go into art. I still like doodling in all my notebooks.

Aleksandre Roderick-Lorenz, Viola, Violin

Aleksandre Roderick-LorenzVenezuelan violist, conductor and pedagogue Aleksandre Roderick-Lorenz hails from Caracas where his musical foundation began under the auspices of the famed "El Sistema" organisation. He received his BMus degree from Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music, where he won first prize in the Concerto Competition and was awarded the Certificate of Teaching Excellence. His principal teachers were Laura Bossert, Richard Fleischmann and Michael Klotz; he also coached with Steve Ansell. Terry King, Peter Zazofsky and Ivo Jan van der Werff.

A passionate teacher, Aleksandre serves on the faculty of Miami's ViolaFest at the New World School of Arts, the ArtsAhimsa Music Festical, and formerly at the International School of Music in Miami, where he is still a visiting artist. In New York he served as Teaching Assistant to Profrssor Laura Bossert at Syracuse University, and as the musical director of La Casita Cultural Center.

Aleksandre is a member of the Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO) and principal violist of the Lyrica Boston ChamberOrchestra. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with an eclectic roster of artists including Plácido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli, Johnny Mathis, Celtic Woman and the Electric Light Orchestra, Stephen Hough, Christopher O'Riley and Natalie Cole, among many others. He has performed at the Latin Grammy, Billboard Music Awards, Premios Juventud, Miami Life Awards, Lo Nuestro Awards, and has made numerous televised appearances for Venevision, America TV, Ávila TV, Mega TV, Telemundo and Univision.

Aleksandre won first prize at Univision-Sabado Gigante’s Televised Talent Performance, and recently made his national radio debut at WQXR’s McGraw Hill Financial Young Artist Showcase with Robert Sherman.

“Alex is an amazing teacher. He is extremely musical and taught M___ that playing notes is easy, but understanding the music and its value is what is important. He is strict but at the same time all the students enjoyed his classes. He puts his maximum effort in helping his students understand."
- Parent of student from age 6 up

“He teaches in a way which makes it obvious that he loves to educate and help students achieve their goals. We believe that any student who gets to work with him is very lucky!"
- Director, International School of Music, Miami, Florida

“Aleksandre the magical musician – a daring young artist, and a transcendent musician breaking all boundaries!"
- Lori Singer, American actress and cellist

Meet Aleksandre

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    My first instrument was actually voice - I began to sing when I was about 8 years old - and then I learned how to play guitar and a folk instrument from Venezuela known as “el cuatro.” I had a rather late start on the viola in my teen years, but it soon became evident that my heart had been stolen forever.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    There is definitely an artistic vein in my family: my father is a professional actor. However, I like to think of myself as the first serious musician in the family.
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    I remember speaking to my friends after having performed Beethoven’s Septet, about the crazy idea of putting together the humorous Schleptet by PDQ Bach. They all quickly agreed to do it under the condition that be their conductor. A couple of weeks later, we got to perform the work for maestro Peter Schickele (the composer himself!!!) who was rather sensational and extremely funny.
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    In 2015, I became the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation from Miami Dade County Office of the Major and Board of County Commissioners in recognition of my artistry and work in South Florida. I also feel extremely honoured to have been a 1stprize medallist for two competitions in Florida and one in New York.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I believe that teaching comes from sharing. I love to help each and every one of my students develop their gift and understanding of music. Learning to play an instrument is a formative, fun and inclusive process for both teacher and student. I enjoy seeing my pupils progress and ultimately, finding their voice and telling their own story through music.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    We can have a lot of fun together when it comes to learning. I am a very charismatic and meticulous teacher. I do expect my students to practice and come prepared for their lesson every week.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    When the instrument case is closed, I enjoy travelling, learning French, dancing salsa and exercising. I am also a Spanish Literature teacher!

Kenya Esteva de Ruiz, Early Childhood Classes; Guitar; Suzuki violin/viola/cello

Kenya Esteva de RuizAn extraordinarily versatile musician, Kenya began her musical education in the now-famous El Sistema de Orquestras Nacionales Juveniles program in her native Venezuela. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of the Andes in Merida, followed by an MA in Violin Performance at the University of Iowa studying with Leopold LaFosse and Mathew Reichert, and is a lifelong member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society.

Kenya has taught violin performance and music theory in the El Sistema program, and directed its young children’s orchestra; taught violin and classical guitar as adjunct professor at Villa Maria College in Buffalo, NY; taught early childhood music at the Buffalo Community Music School and the Latino-Native American Cultural Center at the University of Iowa; and been Orchestra and Mariachi Director at several schools in Grand Prairie, TX - to give just a sampling of her teaching experience. In addition to her work Wayland School of Music she currently teaches violin, cello, guitar and early childhood classes at both Creative Arts in Reading and the Real School of Music in Burlington, and is Suzuki trained through book 3.

Kenya has performed throughout her career in both Venezuela and the United States, including with the Orquesta Sinfonia de Merida, Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra, LaFosse Baroque Ensemble, UI Center for New Music, Ottumwa Symphony, Burlington Symphony, Amherst Symphony, and Boston Civic Symphony. She is also Music Director for several churches in the Boston area, gives classical guitar recitals, and has been both Director and performer with the Venezuelan traditional music ensemble Grupo Orinoco.

Meet Kenya

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I started to learn the cuatro (Venezuelan traditional 4 string guitar, similar to the ukulele) when I was 8 years old. Two years later I started classical guitar, and then when I was 14 El Sistema opened a program in my town and I began studying the violin.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    My parents didn’t play musical instruments, but they loved ballroom dancing, and loved to sing old songs and have good times together with family and friends.
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    Playing my cuatro in the car going out on the long trip to the beach for our family summer vacations, while my parents were singing over and over and I tried to figure out the harmonies to old Latin songs!
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    One of the highlights from my youth is participating in El Sistema summer seminars with hundreds of children playing together. Also, traveling to the US with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Merida to play in the Pan Am Games. And playing for 5 years in the LaFosse Baroque Ensemble.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    Teaching music to children is like opening a whole new world of sounds, and possibilities of expression beyond words. It’s finding that connection to share the joy of making music, which they will develop to communicate with others. It’s a process of sharing and caring, guiding them in trying, and I don’t ever give up.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I love learning about music, and I learn a lot from the children. Just the other day my grandson came up to me and showed me how to do beatboxing - what fun!
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I love gardening, the beach and seeing the beauty of nature.

Johann Soults, Cello

Johann SoultsJohann studied at the Oberlin School of Music, where he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree, and subsequently did postgraduate cello study with George Neikrug and Terry King. He is much in demand as a teacher, maintaining studios in Dartmouth, Bedford, and Franklin in addition to his extensive private practice in Boston. He is also a judge for the NE regional district auditions.

Johann is principal cellist of the Claflin Hill Symphony and former principal cellist of the Utica (NY) Symphony. He is a very active chamber musician and member of Ensemble Porte ño, with whom he has appeared live on WGBH. His recording credits also include live jazz recordings with artists such as Ida Zecco, Carol O’Shaughnessy, Silvia Greenberg and Jan Peters.

“Johann's easygoing manner suits my son very well. He manages to teach not only the intricacies of cello but of music in general, in a way that leaves the student empowered with knowledge and skill. My son has thrived under his tutelage!”
– parent of a student age 12

Meet Johann

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    nine years old
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    Absolutely not!
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    Slipping on the ice and breaking the neck of my cello trying to catch the bus. I'm still in therapy for it…
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Playing on WBGH live. It was by far the best group experience, the best overall experience, and yet most nerve-racking performance I’ve played.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    Seeing my students progress over time.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I'm very serious about music and the cello, but not about anything else!
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    In spite of my name I am not German, I was born and raised in upstate NY by completely American parents – one North American, the other South American. Everyone else in my family has a perfectly normal English and pronounceable name, except for my mom's side—they all have beautiful Spanish names.

Mia Tsai, Cello/Suzuki cello; Piano

Mia TsaiProfessionally active as pianist and cellist, and equally adept at both, Mia completed her BMus at Tainan University in Tainan, and her MMus (with honors) at Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music, where she was also teaching assistant to Dr. Terry King. Her teachers and coaches include Chia-Min Chen, Po_Chun Lin, Terry King, Nicholas Tzavaras, Alexander Gebert and Yehuda Hanani. Mia has taught cello and piano in El Sistema programs at the Longy School of Bard College and La Casita Cultural Center in Syracuse. She also maintains a private teaching studio in Malden, and formerly in Taiwan.

Mia has performed professionally with many orchestras and ensembles including the Fu Dou Symphony in Taiwan (with which she also appeared as soloist), the Boston Opera Collaborative, and at summer festivals in Taiwan, the US and Germany. As pianist she has performed with violinist William Preucil, and as cellist with the Invoke and Glenside String Quartets. Mia is a recording artist for Syracuse University Records; her most recent project for the label featured her in several works of Shostakovich.

“As a parent, I appreciate Mia's gentle approach to teaching and her various training exercises. She has a classic approach to teaching yet is able to respond quickly and effectively with children — my daughter adored her. Since Mia moved away from our area, we recently started with a new teacher.  She has mentioned at every lesson how impressed she is with my daughter’s techniques and how grateful she is for my daughter’s first teacher.”
- mother of student age 8

Meet Mia

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I started piano at the age of five, and I started cello when I was ten.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    No, but I was fortunate that my family has been supportive of my dream, and feel very lucky to have also found a musical family here in Boston.
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    The night before my first cello lesson, my parents showed me a video of a cellist playing cello, and I cried because I thought he looked just like a monkey!
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    (1) To play and record as pianist with Laura Bossert, Associate Professor of violin & viola at Syracuse University, for SU’s record label. (2) Performing the Mendelssohn Octet with the Invoke String Quartet, Concert Artist Guild 2019 Grand Prize winners.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I like to work with people of all different ages and experience levels. Every lesson is a unique opportunity for a symbiotic connection both musically and personally.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I am kind and compassionate and enjoy carving out individualized learning paths based on the goals of my students. Music, to me, is a unique language and it is my aim to help my students tell stories with their music.
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I am good at cooking scrambled and poached eggs, and organizing and cataloging music and people’s closets.

Joanne Wheeler, Flute; General Musicianship

Joanne WheelerJoanne received her BMus in Music Education with Performance Honors from Syracuse University, and her MMus is performance from Longy School of Music. She is also a Massachusetts licensed K-12 teacher. In addition to her work at Wayland School of Music, Joanne teaches both flute and general music for the Wellesley Public Schools, and Musicianship at the Suzuki School of Newton.

Joanne is a founding member of the flute quintet In Radiance, with which she has performed locally, at the National Flute Convention (three years running), and on tour in Texas. She also performs with the Apollo Ensemble of Boston and the Brookline Symphony Orchestra.

Meet Joanne

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I started when I was 9.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    Not at all! No one in my family played an instrument or sang, but they were always supportive.
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    Four of my friends and I choreographed a dance and sang My Heart Will Go On at our 5th grade talent show. We even made matching T-Shirts that said things like "I Love Leo!" and "You jump, I jump, right?" The pictures are so embarrassingly hilarious.
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Busking with my flute quintet, In Radiance, at Government Square was a highlight because everyone was surprised to find a flute quintet there, and they loved our group improvisations. And performing with composer Andrew Waggoner, dancers, and costume designers in NYC was really fun.
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    I love guiding students to the moment where they realize they can make their creative ideas happen, whether it's mastering something new for the first time, playing something they composed, or anything in between. It's so powerful not only for their musical journey, but their life outside of music.
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I like to work hard and play hard. Often at the same time!
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I sew in my free time, and love making clothes.

Zhiyue Ali You, Violin; Suzuki Violin

Zhiyue Ali YouA native of China, Ali began studying violin at age 4 with her uncle, well-known teacher Dayu Su. She majored in violin performance as a student of Xiaowei Chen at the prestigious Renmin University in Beijing, graduating at the top of her class. She then completed a Masters Degree with Bayla Keyes at Boston University (where she won the Bach Prize) and Suzuki Training at the Hartt School of Music at Hartford University, CT.

After apprenticing with her uncle, Ali went on to teach at elementary and middle schools in Beijing, where several of her students won first prizes in violin competitions. She is group violin teacher for the Chelsea Public Schools, and also teaches private lessons at the Ip Piano School in Boston.

As a performer, Ali has played with the orchestras of the National Ballet of China and the National Grand Theater of Beijing; and in the US with the Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom International Festival. She is also an active freelance player in the Boston area.

“Ali is a very talented violin player. When I first started lessons with her, I was a beginner. The violin sounded squeaky and miserable. I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. Ali simply modified my hand angle, raised my elbow slightly, and made me stand up straighter. She said 'Try now', and the sound was beautiful - a huge difference! We both couldn't stop laughing. She really does know what she is doing and can teach really well. Not to mention, she is a really nice person. Thanks for everything Ali!"
– Adult Student

Meet Ali

  1. How/what age did you start your instrument?
    I started from 4 years old.
  2. Did you come from a musical family?
    My uncle and cousins are all violinists and my aunt is a singer. My uncle, as my first violin teacher, taught me violin until 18 years old.
  3. Best or funniest (or even worst!) musical memory from childhood?
    I was always the fastest violin learner and the slowest piano learner in my uncle’s music school.
  4. A highlight or two from your performing career:
    Playing with the Cleveland Orchestra - it was fantastic!
  5. What do you love about teaching?
    Seeing kid’s smiling face when they learn something from me!
  6. What would you like your students to know about you?
    I’m very patient, and I can always find a better way to practice and to learn the violin. My students can learn fast and be very happy at the same time. I hope for my students to love the music instead of just playing the music!
  7. Can you share a non-musical fun fact about you?
    I love food but can never cook well (still trying though!).