Patriot Violins Ensemble

Ages 11-18  |  In-Person

2021-2022 Registration is closed. Please check back in August 2022.


COVID Safety Guideline: Please be assured that all in-person programs will follow strict safety protocols required by George Mason University and are subject to pivoting to all virtual platforms if health and safety conditions warrant. Required protocols will include masks, physical distancing, Mason COVID health checks, and more. Please visit our COVID Safety Guidelines for all in-person programs. We will be routinely updating the information as it evolves. Stay informed by visiting our website and looking out for email alerts and other Academy communications.



Patriot Violins is the intermediate/advanced violin ensemble that will meet for 60-minute classes approximately every other week. The program unites a high level of violin playing with a deep commitment to artistic growth and forming a community. Students will study a wide variety of repertoire for violin ensemble, and class content will include exercises to build group technique, activities to enhance musical communication, instruction on the repertoire. In addition to musical preparation, students will engage in regular self-reflection and sharing of their own personal and musical experiences to build a supportive and close-knit violin community.  Learn More >>

Violinists work in this ensemble to improve their technical skills, but also to connect with each other on a personal level. A high level of musical proficiency, commitment, and dedication to the community is essential for musicians in this ensemble.   

This year, violinists will explore the new music world which is taking shape during the global pandemic and support each other in navigating its challenges and opportunities. Violinists in this ensemble will share certain key characteristics:

  • Commitment to music as a core part of their lives and identities
  • Willingness to put Patriot Violins at the top of their priority list
  • Ability to take on responsibility and initiative for preparing class projects and ensemble music outside of the classroom
  • Curiosity about the musical world
  • Technical and artistic fluency on the violin
  • Capacity for self-reflection and personal growth
  • Openness to forming meaningful connections with other violinists in the ensemble.

Note: Program includes an opening retreat (Saturday, September 18, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm) and recital rehearsals/performances on December 11 and June 4.

Sample Class Schedule  

7:00 pm – 7:10 pm
——Check-In & Sharing
7:10 pm – 7:20 pm
——Scales and Technical Exercises
7:20 pm – 7:50 pm
——Rehearsal of Repertoire
7:50 pm – 8:00 pm
——Solo Performance Practice Time/Sharing


Note: Patriot Violins will participate in a number of special projects and events during the 2021-2022 academic year that will take place on weekends in addition to the Friday night meetings. A full calendar of dates will be available by the end of August.

Participant Eligibility 

To be eligible, participants must:

  • Be enrolled in regular, weekly 60-minute (or longer) private lessons. Applicants who study with Mason Community Arts Academy faculty will be given first consideration, and applicants who study elsewhere will be considered for any remaining openings (there are 9).
  • Commit to the full-year Patriot Violins experience.
  • Be prepared to prioritize Patriot Violins over other extracurricular activities, should scheduling conflicts occur (students will be excused in the event of illness or COVID-19 exposure).
  • Be able to read music fluently in keys up to and including 5 flats and 5 sharps.
  • Be able to play 3-octave scales.
  • Be able to play in multiple positions and shift between them fluently.
  • Demonstrate use of an expressive vibrato.
  • Show facility in a variety of bow strokes and in all parts of the bow.
  • Be performing solo repertoire at a Suzuki Book 5/ASTACAP Level 6 or higher


Ages:  11 – 18
Dates:  Alternating Fridays, September 17, 2021 – May 27, 2022 (20 weeks)
Time:  7:00 – 8:00 pm
Tuition:  $800 (Full-year, payment plan available)
Location: Mason Community Arts Academy Building in Fairfax, VA
Application Deadline:  Monday, September 7 at noon


  • All individuals must wear CDC-recommended face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated individuals are required to continue to wear masks outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • COVID Vaccination: The Academy expects all class participants who meet the age requirement to be vaccinated. Please be sure to report your vaccine status in the health form upon arrival.
  • Audition: Please record the following scales and excerpts in one, continuous, unedited take, and upload to YouTube as an unlisted link. Paste the link into the application form.
    • a 3-octave B-flat major scale
    • a 3-octave G melodic minor scale
    • Excerpts (See PDF).

Registration closed.






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.



  • Please note that group classes are subject to cancellation if minimum enrollment is not reached.
  • Be sure to check our policies and procedures regarding registration, withdrawals, refunds,  and more for fall or spring group classes.
  • All students will receive a Welcome Letter via email at least 1 week before the class starts with all necessary details.
  • A $10 late registration fee will apply starting the Friday prior to the start of the program
  • For additional information, please contact the Academy at








Violin Adventures
Ages 5-13
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Violin Choir
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7–8 pm
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