Viola Beginnings Level 1


Ages 9-14  |  In-Person


Spring 2022 Registration Will Be Announced in November!
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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.


Viola Beginnings offers aspiring string musicians an introduction to the viola, the beautiful middle instrument of the string family. Students will start at the very beginning, learning how to hold the instrument and bow, read sheet music, and play simple songs that use their new skills. Famous repertoire for viola and composers from throughout history will be listened to and discussed in class. Step-by-step instruction will use a combination of techniques from various string pedagogy philosophies, and the class will culminate in an in-class recital where the students share everything they’ve learned.

This class is intended both for students who have had no prior string instrument instruction and for violinists who are looking to explore the viola for the first time. See the Academy’s viola rental guidelines!

Note: If your child is slightly younger or slightly older than the range for this class, please contact us at to discuss the best placement for your child.

Ages: 9 – 14
5:30 – 6:30 pm
Dates: Tuesdays, September 28 – December 14, 2021 (10 weeks)
Skip Dates: Oct. 26  |  Nov. 9
Tuition:  $330
Location: Mason Community Arts Academy Building in Fairfax, VA


Registration closed.

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Dr. Dan “Danny” Zhang
Academy Teaching Artist
Read about Dr. Zhang

Violist Dan Zhang has concertized throughout Europe, the United States, Asia, and South America as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra musician. Dr. Zhang has performed in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Teatro Centro Cultura Kirchner in Buenos Aires, and NHK Hall in Tokyo. In recent years, she has been invited to play with orchestras inclusive of Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, and Loudon Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Zhang actively appeared in music festivals such as Master Music Course Japan, Bach Cantata Music Festival in Germany, and Kneisal Hall Music Festival, and International Jungen Orchesterakademie in Germany.

Dr. Zhang has had the honor of numerous awards. She was the prize winner of the First China Viola Festival and Competition in 2007 and won first prize in the Shenandoah Conservatory Concerto competition in 2010. In 2015, she won the Gold Prize of the third Hong Kong International Strings Competition. She also participated in the International Max Rostal Competition in Berlin in 2015, and in 2019, she was the finalist of the International Anton Rubinstein Viola Competition in Dusseldorf, Germany.

As a collaborator and advocator, Dr. Zhang has had the privilege to serve as artistic director of “The Sound of Piano, Strings and Voice International Music Festival”, based in Xi’an, China. She is also the Co-founder of the American Virtuoso International Music Competition. Both programs provide young musicians with a strong artistic vision and stage presence.

Being a passionate teacher, Dr. Zhang sees herself as a role model for her students, aiming to humble, nurture, inspire, and learn from each other. Dr. Zhang has conducted masterclasses at schools such as George Mason University, Shenandoah University, MinZu University, Xi’an Conservatory, and China Normal University. Her mission is always to nurture students’ academic success, in relation to their personal goals and journey.

Dr. Zhang received her D.M.A. at The Catholic University of America; M.M. at Yale School of Music; A. D from Shenandoah University; and B.M. from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing.









Violin Gymnastics ONLINE
Ages 10-18
Tuesdays, 5:00–5:45 pm EST
Sept. 28–Dec. 7, 2021 (10 weeks)



Art Foundations 2021Art Classes
Ages 8-11  |  12-18
Saturdays, 10–11:30 am
Sept. 25–Nov. 20, 2021 (8 weeks)