My daughter took lessons from Katie Smirnova for 5 years, and she was, by far, one of the best teachers my daughter has ever had. On top of being a very talented violinist, Katie is a very skilled teacher. She was able to incorporate many things, like theory and technique, into lessons to give Ruchitha a very well-rounded musical education.
From the beginning of lessons, Katie made sure Ruchitha learned to play with the correct technique, and if she learned something wrong, Katie spent time working with her until she was able to correct her mistakes. She was always very engaged, offering to critique videos of Ruchitha’s playing over email, hosting masterclasses with her other students, and concerts for all the families to attend. On weeks she was unable to teach lessons, she also offered to give lessons over Skype, making sure students did not have large gaps between lessons. She was always very attentive and careful to make sure everything was being received and understood well by the students.
Katie also incorporated theory into the lessons, using different workbooks to give students a complete music education. She would help them recognize different aspects of music, and teach them how to identify them. The students were always practicing scales, and learning to recognize what certain pitches should sound like, and the relationships between different notes.
Every piece learned by the students would be taught with close attention to sound, pitch, and rhythm. In the first few years, she also started a very engaging and creative activity called “piece of the week”. She would send the kids a piece of music to listen to, and they would listen for certain parts, write down things that stood out write a story on what they thought the piece described.
Katie was one of the best teachers my daughter has ever had. She was direct in her teaching style, making sure what needed to be learned was understood, and she also encouraged creativity and growth of the student in their musical capabilities and beyond. We are so grateful to have had her as a teacher for so many years, and know she will make a great teacher for any future students.
- M. Kumar