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Creating a More Diverse Environment from the Very Beginning with Claire Allen

Join us as we hear from Teaching Artist and Violinist: Claire Allen as she discusses creative and engaging methods for finding and building diverse repertoire from the very beginning! Claire is such a joy to speak with and I just know you will find a wealth of helpful information and actual resources from this episode!

Claire Allen Claire Allen is a performer and a Teaching Artist of Violin and Strings Coordinator at Mason Community Arts Academy. Since joining the string faculty at MCAA in 2013, she has taught a studio of violinists ages four to adult, created and collaborated on the development of the Violin Beginnings and Violin Adventures classes, and is a co-creator and director of Summer Violin Bootcamp and Summer Violin Academy. In 2019, she was selected as the Outstanding String Teacher of the Year by the Virginia chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Ms. Allen’s teaching style combines elements from both Suzuki and traditional methods, and includes a focus on developing a healthy and holistic violin technique. 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, and is passionate about creating a more diverse and integrated student repertoire that reflects the world her students live in. In 2022, she was a featured presenter at the ASTA National Conference on the topic “Creating A Diverse Repertoire for Elementary Level Violinists.” Her students perform in four solo recitals a year, both hosted through MCAA and at other community venues and participate in monthly studio classes. They have successfully competed in competitions including the biannual Mason Community Arts Academy Competition, the Feder Memorial String Competition, and the American Protege Competition, and have received passing marks on their American String Teachers Association Certificate Advancement Program exams and superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble festival. Many participate in their school orchestra levels in the top ensembles and have been accepted into honor orchestras including Junior and Senior District Orchestras, Senior Regional Orchestra, and multiple orchestras in the AYPO and TCSYO organizations.

Ms. Allen has completed extensive teacher training which includes Suzuki registered training for Books 1-4, Rebecca Henry’s pedagogy course at Peabody Conservatory, Mimi Zweig’s Violin/Viola Teacher Retreat, the 2019 Starling DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at The Juilliard School, and the ABME course “What Every Musician Needs To Know About The Body.” She has been interviewed on the Suzuki podcasts “Beyond the Music Lesson” and “Time to Practice” with Suzuki teacher and violinist Christine Goodner.

In addition to her work at Mason Community Arts Academy, Ms. Allen teaches violin sectionals for Fairfax County Public Schools, serves as an examiner for American String Teacher Association Certificate Advancement Program exams, and is on the advisory board of Violinist.com, for which she writes articles on violin pedagogy and other musical topics.

As a performing violinist, Ms. Allen has performed as a chamber musician in the MCAA Faculty String Quartet, was in the first violin section of the Tysons-McLean Orchestra from 2015 – 2020, and is the first violinist in the Haase Quartet. She also performs recitals as a soloist and as a chamber musician with pianist colleagues at venues around the Northern Virginia area.  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 Eugidius Dörfler.


Claire Allen


Claire Allen


Claire Allen
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