Violin Choir Online

Fall 2020 registration is open!




Violin Choir is an online class for intermediate players to connect with fellow violinists to develop their skills, explore the musical world, and share their experiences. In a weekly 45-minute Zoom call, students will build technique through violin exercises and short pieces learned jointly, discuss practice strategies and struggles, and perform solos for each other. Students will also receive weekly listening assignments and keep a journal where they reflect on the new music they discover each week. Sharing their thoughts and feelings about the music with the class will be an essential part of building the musical community. Listening assignments this semester will focus on the works of BIPOC and female composers from the Baroque era to present day.

A new piece of repertoire will also be learned over the semester. The class will culminate in a professionally produced video with all students performing together.

For questions about placement, contact Claire Allen at

Guest Artist Presentations


To be eligible for the class, a participant must:


Ages:  10 – 18
  6:15 – 7 pm EST
Dates:  Fridays, Oct. 2 – Nov. 20, 2020
Tuition:  $250 (A $10 late fee will be added after Wednesday, Sept. 30)
Location:  Zoom (Details provided in Welcome Letter)

Registration is open until Friday, Oct. 2, at noon.

Register Now









Laurie Niles
Musician/Founder of
Read about Ms. Niles

Laurie Niles started her career as a symphony violinist and a reporter for several daily newspapers – writing about everything except for music. That changed in 1996, when she founded the website, which allowed her to combine her passions. Since then she has posted thousands of articles on and also has written articles for The Strad, Strings, and Symphony magazines and for the American Suzuki Journal. She has written two books of interviews, “ Interviews,” Volumes 1 and 2, which together contain interviews with more than 50 violinists. Ms. Niles still teaches and plays the violin, and she considers it her mission to help people understand and grow their enthusiasm for classical music. Ms. Niles has a bachelor’s degree in music from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.






Claire Allen, Violin Lessons
Claire Allen
Academy Teaching Artist
Read about Ms. Allen

Claire Allen is an active performing violinist and private teacher in the Washington, D.C. area. She has been a teaching artist at Mason Community Arts Academy for six years, where she has a private studio of students ages 4–18 and is the faculty coordinator. She teaches Violin Beginnings (a series of group classes for young children just starting to play violin), Violin Adventures (a supplemental class for violinists already taking private lessons), Violin Choir, and Patriot Violins, coordinates the chamber music program, created and directs the Youth Violin Camp, and is a co-director of the summer Violin/Viola Bootcamp.

Recent student successes include a second prize winner in the American Protege Competition at Carnegie Hall in New York, students being placed as co-concertmaster and co-principal second violin of the American Youth Debut Orchestra, being accepted to the American Youth String Ensemble, serving as concertmaster for Ovations Summer Strings Academy, superior ratings at the Solo & Ensemble festival and ASTACAP exams, and multiple performers accepted to the Academy Music Competition.

During her teacher training, Ms. Allen completed two levels of Suzuki teacher training at the Greater Washington Area Suzuki Institute and studied pedagogy with Rebecca Henry at the Peabody Conservatory. In summer 2013, she completed the Violin Teacher Retreat training at Indiana University with Mimi Zweig. Most recently, she attended in the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City.

Before teaching for Mason Community Arts Academy, Ms. Allen was a teaching assistant at the Baltimore School for the Arts where she coached chamber music, directed sectionals, and assisted with the orchestras. She also taught privately in an outreach program that provided free lessons to inner-city school children, To Work In Gaining Skills (TWIGS). She has also been on faculty at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Outreach Department.As a performer, Ms. Allen is a member of the first violin section in the Tysons-McLean Orchestra. She has been a member of many incarnations of the Faculty String Quartet at Mason Community Arts Academy, participating in multiple outreach concerts at schools, community centers, and other local venues. Highlights from the 2018-2019 season include quartet recitals at George Mason University, performances with the Tysons-McLean Orchestra, and a solo performance/pedagogical presentation at the Boulanger Initiative Launch Festival.

Ms. Allen’s teaching style combines elements from the Suzuki and Rolland methods with the traditional study of scales and etudes and is passionate about incorporating the works of female composers into the violin repertoire at every level, from beginners through advanced students. She is always on the lookout for works by new composers to introduce to her students so that recital performances feature a mix of new and standard violin repertoire.

Ms. Allen holds a Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, from Baldwin-Wallace College. Her primary teachers include Rebecca Henry, Keng-Yuen Tseng, Burton Kaplan, Julian Ross, Lisa Cridge, Gene Pohl, and Estelle Roth. She performs on a modern violin made by Tetsuo Matsuda and a bow by Richard Grünke.











Digital Illustration:
Character Creation

Ages 11-18
Saturdays, 9–10:30 am EST
Oct. 3–Nov. 21, 2020


Video Production
Ages 11-18
Saturdays, 9:30–11 am EST
Oct. 3–Nov. 21, 2020