Read what students and parents have to say about studying with Ms. Claire!
When I joined Claire’s studio as a high school sophomore, my main worry was having to perform at two recitals each semester. I had no performance experience outside of my school orchestra and I’d be surrounded by students younger than myself with far more experience. However, looking back on my three years with Claire, the recitals played a bigger role in enhancing my violin abilities than any other component of lessons or practice. They demanded consistency and accountability–two of the most difficult yet essential aspects of playing the violin. Claire’s guidance ensured that every student, regardless of age or skill level, would be adequately prepared and confident for each recital. I had initially thought that it was too late to join the studio but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Without my three years of learning with Claire, I wouldn’t be playing in UVA’s symphony orchestra today.
- Eric, recent studio graduate
My son has studied violin with Ms. Claire for over 7 years, starting when he was still in pre school. As a violinist myself, I sought to find a teacher who was kind but firm, who would focus on a strong foundation, but would be flexible enough to work with a young child. Ms. Claire is a perfect mix of these things. She is patient but has high standards, and has made sure my son masters topics both physically and musically before moving forward. Her teaching repertoire includes both traditional Suzuki but also music from women and minority composers. Her manner of introducing new pieces includes art and storytelling, truly engaging students in each new piece.
Students in Ms. Claire's studio perform multiple times per semester in solo and group capacities. They are given the opportunity to develop relationships with other students who are at all different points in their musical journeys, and learn what it means to play in a group, learning from each other.
Aside from being a teacher, Ms. Claire is an extraordinary violinist, and we have had the opportunity to hear her play in groups and as a soloist around the area. I would highly recommend her to anyone seeking a violin teacher.
At the age of 10 I made the decision that I wanted to study and further my musical career under Claire Allen; however, little did I know that in the process I would gain not only a teacher, but a mentor, role model, and friend, all at the same time. Having worked with Claire for nine
years, I am proud to say that I have grown in every way imaginable, from my technique and intonation, to becoming a self-aware and confident musician and young adult. She helped me realize my areas of weakness whilst never failing to acknowledge and appreciate my strengths.
I have never seen someone have as much patience or passion for something as much as Claire. Her ability to make an instrument and environment as difficult and competitive as that of the violin something fun, lighthearted, and enjoyable is unique only to her. Having worked
extensively with a wide range of age groups, her level of respect, kindness, and expectations for each one of her students never falls short. She takes the time to truly foster a relationship with not only the student, but the family as well, making you truly feel as though you are a part of a
community bound together by a love for music. I am forever grateful to have had the privilege of studying under Claire Allen, and for this I am not only a better musician, but a better person as well.
-Recent studio graduate
"When my daughter was a toddler, she latched onto the classical music we played for her, always asking about what instrument was playing when the violin pieces were on. From the moment she realized that she could learn to play the instrument she loved so much, she begged for lessons. She asked repeatedly for a whole year, and if you know 3-year-olds, you know this is a long time. We finally relented and sought a teacher willing to teach a 3-year-old and found Claire Allen. From that moment on violin has been a part of our daughter’s identity, one of the things that all who know her know about, and we could not have found a better teacher than Claire. She has shepherded a small three-year-old through technique and practice and learning hard things to our now twelve year old who has the confidence to walk up in front of a large group of people and, yes play the violin, but also give a speech, answer a question and more. Violin has given her so much more than music and we cannot thank Claire enough for her tutelage. "
"One of the best things about being in this studio is that we are like one big family, and you can always expect a classmate or Ms. Claire to be there for you. She is very flexible, being able to adapt to each student's different needs."
-Jiening, 7th grade
"Jiening has had many opportunities to play in many different competitive competitions, such as the MCAA's own music competition, playing christmas carols at the senior living center, and recommending the Joseph & Goldie Feder Memorial String Competition. She is very knowledgeable, and always provides the right level of competition for each of her students."
-Jill, studio parent
"I call myself lucky that I found Claire as violin teacher for my two kids. Claire is very good with young kids. She knows how to get their attention, inspire their interest, encourage and help with their daily practice. Her teaching methods are quite diverse depending on student level, age and personality. I like her persistent and detailed emphasis on violin postures. She is not only repeatedly asking and reminding students of the good postures, but also explains why they should be like that from anatomy and bone movement to how the posture affects the bowing and sounds. She then suggests various ways and games to help students be aware of their posture during the practice. Claire combines the Suzuki method with many other books and pieces. She also provides many recitals and other community performance opportunities to students of all ages. These recitals and performances are really enjoyable with different themes, various group performances along with the solo performances. My kids are always so proud to be part of them!" -Lucie, studio parent
"She is very friendly and she lets me bring stuffed animals to the lesson. She always plays fun games with me, which also helps me practice. I like how she lets me listen to the new pieces a lot, write words and then sing the songs, and I feel that I am a great songwriter. She is very careful with my violin posture and always reminds me how to stand nicely, place the violin flat on my shoulder, play with the best hand frame and bow movements. I love her and want to learn violin from her everyday."
- Jasper, 3rd grade
"Ms. Claire is a very special violin teacher. She is very patient with me, and fixes the mistakes I make with clear, encouraging instructions and fun games, such as the zero game - to fix your mistakes with a friendly competition with your violin practice-partner. She can always add a little challenge to my practice and make it more fun. I also like the piece preparation that Ms. Claire tells me to do - writing words, stories, and making mood-boards, which helps me be familiar with the melody and also visualize the feeling of the pieces. Ms. Claire makes learning violin interesting, and she uses fun analogies to describe feelings in music to help me understand how a section of a piece is best played. Her lessons are very fun, I look forward to them every week! She is an amazing violin teacher."
- Chloe, 6th grade
"Advithi’s progress under Ms. Claire over the past 2 years has been tremendously positive. We attribute this to the continuous transformation that Ms Claire has brought into Advithi’s playing technique. Ms. Claire has also instilled a discipline in terms of daily practice which has ensured that Advithi, not only practices but also strives towards perfecting the piece. We see Ms. Claire has unlocked the potential that Advithi has and hope that she can blossom into a better violin player in the coming years. We are thankful to Ms. Claire for accepting Advithi as a remote student when we had to relocate out of Virgina after our 1st year with her."
- Sriram and Ramya, studio parents
"Ms. Claire is an awesome teacher! Her visual and illustrative approach allowed me to think of different ways to relax and reduce my anxiety. Those few minutes of technique at the beginning of every class has made a great impact on my bow-arm and overall violin playing. She exposes me to rich and fun repertoires and different styles of playing. I feel I’ve learned and grown so much as a violinist under her guidance. She is also so kind and caring, and is always checking in to see how I am doing. I always look forward to her classes to learn and explore something new every week! :D" - Advithi, 6th grade
"The biggest change I have seen in Hannah is that Ms. Claire has transformed her into an independent violin learner. Even though she is 10, she now takes weekly violin lesson with Ms. Claire by herself and she practices violin daily all by herself as well. She starts to apply that same kind of responsibility to her other aspects of life and grows into a nicely mature young lady." - Julia, studio parent
"My violin playing has improved SO MUCH thanks to Ms. Claire. Before I came, my tone sounded like a cat screeching, and she (somehow) helped me so it was a hundred times better. Shifting is so easy now, and sometimes I even forget I'm doing it! Violin is difficult, but with Ms. Claire's help, she makes it more fun, while improving our overall playing at the same time." -Hannah, age 10
"Claire is truly a gifted violin instructor. She has taught both of my children for the past two years, and they have grown tremendously under her instruction. Claire combines excellent pedagogy with creative energy and makes each lesson challenging and fun. She tailors lessons to the individual personality of each student to capture and keep their attention. When my daughter experienced tendonitis in her shoulder, Claire gave a lot of advice and encouragement to help my daughter play with greater freedom of movement. My children both love Claire and have blossomed into much better violinists as a result of her teaching."
- Joy, studio parent
"Ms. Claire has really brought about many wonderful changes in my sound by changing my left and right hand techniques and helping me to achieve freedom of movement. She makes each lesson fun and interesting. I am thankful for finding her as my violin teacher in Northern Virginia." -Lauren, high school
"[My daughter] has learned so, so much from you , that it just makes my heart fill with you. Your patience and kindness has helped her to develop a confidence and belief in herself."
-Anna, Baltimore, MD
"Claire has been a tremendous asset to my son's development as a violinist, performer and person.There was a time when his future as such was in question and I have to credit Claire's efforts with him in helping him over the technical hurtles at multiple times. We were incredibly fortunate to have her almost to ourselves while she was home for breaks from school. The information and attention she so generously shared lifted my son up emotionally and technically. She has a keen awareness of my son's interest level, knows how to challenge and focus him and has become a trusted help to our family. What has been a great help is that she has many, many practice and study skills at her fingertips. Since we have had lessons with her since she was in high school, she has been a great example to us as well that this option, of becoming a musician, is doable. She has also, I think, shown my son that this can be ultimately uplifting despite the challenges." - Sue, Arlington, VA