Hi! I'm Lisa Toner. I'm a highly trained teacher who has a lifelong passion for music, teaching, and learning. I started teaching violin in 2005 and opened my Seattle studio in 2009. I perform with the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra and love to play chamber music. This year, I will finish the long process of becoming a certified Alexander Technique Teacher.
I earned a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Western Washington University, where I performed in the Scholarship String Quartet. My interest in teaching and learning led me to graduate school at the University of Washington, where I completed a Masters in Educational Psychology. For my thesis, I filmed myself teaching violin students over three years, developed an analytical framework based on developmental psychology and learning theory, and completed an in-depth research study about student-teacher interaction. I focused on three contrasting students, all age 6-9 during the study. Analyzing 100+ lesson videos helped me identify patterns, become more observant of my students, and gain expertise in tailoring instruction to each child's unique development. This experience continues to inform my teaching today.
I've studied violin pedagogy extensively, completing Suzuki teacher training for Books 1-10 with Cathy Lee, Teri Einfeldt, and Mark Bjork. I studied traditional pedagogy with Margaret Pressley, attended Mimi Zweig's summer pedagogy workshop at Indiana University, the Starling-DeLay Symposion at Juilliard, and take various workshops each year. I've worked as a clinician at the Suzuki Association of Washington State fall festival, for private studio workshops, and at the Walla Walla Suzuki Summer Institute. I am the violin/viola coach for the Jane Addams middle school orchestra program. I'm on the board for the Suzuki Association of Washington state and worked for the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival Association for several years.
Body alignment, coordination, and release of habitual tension were always a priority for me, but became even more important after I experienced some overuse injury challenges. Through physical therapy, Pilates, and the Alexander Technique, I've learned much about movement patterns, alignment, and re-training habits. I help my students learn to cooperate with their design so they can move well and make beautiful music!
When I'm not working, you'll find me outdoors with my husband, Jon, and our toddler, Ellie. Ellie's usually out on adventures with our nanny while I teach, but every once in awhile she will make a brief guest appearance as my teaching assistant. :)