Violin/Viola Lessons for Teens & Preteens

Parent Q&A

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  • We're ready for private lessons after playing in school for several years.

    We're hoping to find someone in Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond or Berkeley.

    I have been really happy with Merav Singer as my violin teacher for the past couple of years. I started playing the violin as an adult in group fiddle lessons of folk music. After a while I realized that while I know many tunes I lack technical ability and intonation. Merav has been tremendously helpful to me in working on my technique. She is a true "classical" musician and puts a lot of emphasis on intonation and technique. Yet she is extremely patient, easy going and goes with the flow. If one idea doesn't "click" or work she comes up with another visualization or way to think about what we are doing to help me realize that I actually knew (or my fingers knew) how to do it all along. Merav has a good sense of humor and I believe would be perfect at approaching teenagers as well. Best of luck!

    I highly recommend Catherine Manning in Berkeley.  My daughter has taken lessons from her for the last 4-5 years and loves Catherine and her way of teaching music.  If Catherine doesn't have room in her schedule, she has some very talented teachers in her studio who she could recommend.  Her email is:  chadandcath [at]

    Yvonne Mansell

    I can recommend a wonderful violin teacher located in the East Bay, Merav Singer.  Merav is a patient and gifted teacher.   I believe she is taking new students at this time. My daughter really enjoyed studying with Merav.  Her email is:  merav [at]

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Violin teacher in Lamorinda for young teen

Sept 2014

We are looking for private violin instruction in Orinda, Lafayette, or Moraga for our 13-year-old daughter who has been taking group lessons for 3 years. She would like a teacher who will let her play current/pop songs, but she is happy to play classical too. She would like to work with someone who is more lighthearted and fun, rather than strict and demanding. Any recommendations? Thank you! LIz O.

Danielle Charboneau is a Suzuki Violin/Viola teacher located very near the intersection of Highways 13 and 24. My daughter is 11 and has been taking lessons with Danielle for the past 7 years and is now playing at a level I could not have imagined when we started. The Suzuki method involves a lot of parent participation. The parents do not learn to play the instrument, but they do attend lessons and help the young students with daily practice. Because of the parental involvement students can start lessons as early as age 3 1/2. Danielle can be reached at 510 336-9787. Danielle also teaches a few adult students. Tom N

Looking for an Affordable violin/viola teacher for 16yo

June 2012

Does anyone know of an affordable violin/viola teacher or a college student who is interested in teaching the violin/viola ? My daughter is 16 and is all of a sudden interested in the violin again. Most teachers want $35-50/hr but that seems really expensive. She has had some experience in middle school but stop playing once she entered high school. She would like to take some lessons this summer. Thanks so much. eliza

I wish our private music instructor charged $35-50! We pay $80 per hour. Also, knowing many professional musicians, I doubt you'll get a high quality instructor for any less than the amount you are being quoted. You might want to call an area youth orchestra (Oakland Youth Orchestra or SF Symphony Youth Orchestra) to see if there are any students interested in teaching. They would probably be more affordable. A good teacher is worth the investment. Good luck! Hope it works out. Music Mom

Hi, Maria. The prices you were quoted seem to be right in the range of what music teachers ask. (For teachers for both my children, the cost was $60 per hour or $50 for 45 minutes.) Aside from that, I can very highly recommend Kaila Flexer ((510) 532-1531). She teaches all forms of string instruments and has been an amazing teacher for our daughter Natasha. Natasha progressed very rapidly, enjoying herself (and rarely practicing). ~ Laurel

Violin lessons for preteen near North Berkeley Library

April 2011

I am looking for a violin teacher for my 11 year old daughter for two days a week after camp during the summer. We would prefer something as close to N. Berkeley Library as possible so she could walk to the lesson. She has been taking at Oxford and will not be the next Midori Ito, but she enjoys it and wishes to continue her lessons.

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for but I highly recommend Catherine Manning! She teaches fiddle (traditional bluegrass & folk) out of her home in El Cerrito. She is a really great teacher,outstanding with kids and a wonderful person. I'm sure your daughter will enjoy working with her. Her husband Chad teaches adults and is an accomplished bluegrass musician. Cathy's contact info is chadandcath [at] and her phone # is 510-734-0910. anon

I've been a BPN reader for many years, but this is my first time posting. I just wanted to be sure to put in a good word for KC Stills, a violin teacher who works through Crowden School's Suzuki program. She has been teaching my son for 3 years and we've seen him progress from a reluctant (and very goofy!) five-year-old to a poised, enthusiastic student. She has great patience, excellent attention to form and tone and a real love of teaching. We absolutely love her and can't wait for our daughter to start lessons with this fall. Susan

Violin teacher for  experienced 11-year-old

June 2009

Hi, We're looking for recommendations for patient, warm and fun private violin teachers for our 11-year old daughter who has been taking violin lessons for almost 3 years. The preferred locations are Berkeley, El Cerrito and Albany (or, better yet, our house in Kensington!) Thank you! Anonymous

Lina Bouze is a wonderful violin teacher. She has a rich musical background, she is extremely patient and loves to teach kids. Lina also plays in the Oakland Symphony. It is so much fun to see your teacher in the orchestra. I took my daughter to a concert to see Lina play. She loved it! Lina's phone number is (510)848-6641. She lives in Berkeley and teaches at her home. Feel free to e-mail me or call at (510)710-4366 with any questions. Elena

Dennie Mehocich is an excellent violin teacher. My daughter has been taking cello lessons with her for the past two years and it has been a great experience. She teaches throughout the school year at a nice studio in N. Berkeley and has summer classes through the Albany Community Center. She is also leader and violinist with the Marin String Ensemble and founder director of the Albany String Academy. You can contact Dennie directly at (415) 456-6101. I highly recommend her! Pam

Both my daughters (11 and 16) have been taking lessons from Sarah Zaharako for several years. Her number is 510-435-7525 and she lives in Berkeley. She is wonderful with kids and I have never heard her raise her voice to any of them. She is patient and has quite a lot of expereince with many types of music. She plays professionally and really knows how to get the best out of the kids. Gary

Sarah Jo Zaharako is a great violin teacher in South Berkeley. She is especially great with kids and has lots of experience. Everything from classical to folk to jazz to free improvising. Her number is 510-435-7525. Eric

Viola teacher for 11-year-old

August 2006

I am looking for a fun viola teacher for my 11 year old son. In the Berkeley, El Cerrito area. Any ideas? jc

The Crowden Center for Music in the Community offers private instruction on the viola, as well as string ensembles and instruction on other instruments. We are located at 1475 Rose Street (corner of Sacramento) in Berkeley. Please contact us at 510-559-2941 or ccmc [at] for more information. We'd be happy to send you our brochure and/or tell you more about our programs and teachers Marion Atherton

Patient Violin Teacher for 13 year old

October 2005

My 13 year old son would like to try a couple of violin lessons to see how he likes it. Recommendations for a PATIENT violin teacher appreciated. We are in El Cerrito. sukell

My son is taking lessons with Ondine Young, at her home near El Cerrito. She has a very calm personality, making me think she would be quite patient. She clearly has a lot of teaching experience.

Here's the posting from BPN announcements a couple of months ago:

ARLINGTON ARTS MUSIC STUDIO ($TBA sliding scale) submitted by: Ondine Young (ondinetyoung AT (Appropriate for all ages) The Arlington Arts Music studio has more openings for the fall/winter season. Ondine Young, William Skeen, and others teach individual and group lessons for all levels of strings (violin, viola, cello), beginning piano and recorder. Sliding scale fees available, TBA. Locations in Berkeley and Richmond off of the Arlington. We believe in using a variety of teaching methods to suit the individual and group needs, from aurally-based Suzuki to visually-based Orff-Kodaly; teaching both ''by ear'' and incorporating elementary reading skills. The health of the body and enjoyment of the music making process lead the way. Ondine and William are free-lance musicians who also teach at CCMC/The Crowden School of Music in Berkeley, lead the CCMC Saturday Children's choir, and produce collaborative concerts at St. David of Wales Church. For more information on teachers, please visit or (Ondine Young, William Skeen, and others TBA). Please contact ondinetyoung AT or call (510) 233-9403 for a trial lesson.