Read what students and parents have to say about studying with Claire!
"My daughter started lessons with Claire as a beginner and is still happily studying with her 4 years later. Claire's well balanced approach includes song preparation, focused technique work, chamber music, lots of performance experience, audition preparation and even stress management. She uses Suzuki repertoire, but mixes in a wide variety of other styles as well to keep it interesting for the kids. Claire is always three steps ahead, planning the next challenge for each individual student in his or her unique violin journey. She consistently introduces new ideas in group class to keep the learning fresh and advances her approach as the students get older. My daughter couldn't be happier and considers Ms. Claire a role model." -Jennifer, Fairfax, VA
"From learning how to hold the violin in playing position to shifting and playing double stops Ms. Claire has taught me amazing things . She always gives me tips to help my intonation, posture, sound amazing and look amazing. Because of Ms. Claire I can now play my pieces with character. Believe me, without Ms. Claire's help I would be still on the 1st piece of Suzuki book 2. Ms. Claire makes learning to play the violin fun!" - Lindsey, age 10
"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, McLean, VA
"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, Fairfax, VA
"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, age 16
"[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
"I have been studying with Claire Allen since the fall of 2015. She has taught me how to be relaxed and to use a smooth bow arm to create a bigger sound. I've been learning how to do vibrato and to reframe my left hand. Studying with Claire has made me a better violinist."
- Sydney, age 11, Fairfax, VA
Our 8 year old son, Bailey, began studying with Miss Claire when he was 5 years old, through participation in her first Violin Adventures class. We immediately noticed her innovative teaching style and creative spirit. Miss Claire is meticulous about teaching the nuances of correct technique, even to her youngest students, and does so in a way that they can understand. Miss Claire has a gift for tailoring her lessons to the specific needs of each student. From dressing in costume for a Halloween class to having her students create their own practice charts, she is always up for finding ways to motivate her learners.
Often her studio vision is reflected in Bailey’s life in ways beyond the violin. Recently, he had to participate in his first SOL test. He was apprehensive and nervous that morning at the bus stop. I reminded him that he had been practicing for this test a long time and he was ready. He stopped, paused, and said, “Just like for my violin recital.” I affirmed. He seemed comforted by remembering that the previous weekend he had just played in his spring violin recital and, through his hard work with Miss Claire, he was able to soar through his song.
In the next two weeks, Bailey will be performing his Suzuki Book 1 concert. Once again, Miss Claire has been comprehensively preparing him for this occasion. It is not just his sound that is focused upon, although that is clearly important, and not just his bow hold which is visibly essential, but his confidence and stage presence that receive just as much attention. She has been teaching him the age-appropriate tools to learn to control his sound as well as providing the needed coaching to grow as a performer. While violin is the medium, ultimately, Miss Claire wants to do more than develop musicians in her studio. Miss Claire is guiding the development of skills such as endurance, patience, and persistence to enable her students to evolve into artists.
- Sarah & Heidi, Fairfax, VA
[on the Violin Beginnings class at Potomac Arts Academy]
"Our son did not initially want to take violin because he thought that it was only for girls. Ms. Claire is an accomplished musician and teacher. She was able to make the class fun and exciting for my 5 year-old son. He is probably one of the younger kids in the class but she was able to keep him engaged throughout the class by presenting the lessons as games and songs. He is even excited to learn about the composers each week. The class is a fun and non-initimidating way to introduce your kids to classical music and training." - Kyong, Fairfax, VA
"I love Ms. Claire’s studio because I always get fun stuff to practice. I like Ms. Claire because she shows me how to practice the complicated stuff such as pinky pushups or playing different rhythms. I love violin because it is good for your brain and challenging to learn. For example the most fun piece that I have played is STAR WARS main theme."
- Hayk, age 9, Baltimore, MD
"Allie had a dance camp recital at Peabody where the students choreographed skits and added percussion. Allie’s rhythm was very good and I’m sure it was due to your rhythm book exercises.
Thanks again for your care and teaching of Allie. It manifests in various and differing ways and will continue to enrich her life. She shows an enthusiasm for playing that you have cultivated."
- David, 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