Sarah Washburn, Traditional Violin and Viola; Chair, Traditional Strings Department
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Sarah Washburn

Traditional Violin and Viola; Chair, Traditional Strings Department

Sarah Washburn, viola facultySarah Washburn is an active chamber and orchestral musician and a dedicated teacher to students of all ages. She is a founding member of the West End String Quartet (WESQ) and teaches at Wesleyan University, The Hartt School Community Division, and her own private studio. With the WESQ she has performed at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, SoundFest on Cape Cod, on the Hartford New Music Festival, and Wesleyan’s Ives Vocal Marathon. WESQ has recently performed at The Arts Institute of Western Maine, Wesleyan University, Capitol Community College, Trinity College, and at The Hartt School. Strong proponents of contemporary music, the WESQ was awarded an Encore Grant from the American Composers Forum.

At The Hartt School Community Division, Washburn has served as assistant director of the David Einfeldt Chamber Music Seminar, as well as the Adult Chamber Music Coordinator. She is very active in the Chamber Music program, coaching several ensembles, as well as conducting a series of chamber music masterclasses and a side-by-side performance with the WESQ and HCD students. Washburn has previously taught at Bethwood Suzuki School, Farmington Summer Suzuki String Academy, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and for the Intensive Community Program at the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras.

As an orchestral musician, Washburn has performed in the Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury and Vermont Symphony Orchestras, at New Hampshire Music Festival, and as concertmaster of the Manchester and Hartt School Symphony Orchestras. She has performed in the pit at Hartford Stage, Goodspeed Opera House, and for the Broadway national tour of The Book of Mormon. Washburn earned a B.Mus with honors from Boston University, with a minor in French, and a M.Mus from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she studied in the 20/20 Honors Chamber Music program.

Teaching Philosophy

Sarah Washburn is a devoted teacher to students of all ages. Her nurturing, responsive teaching style is sensitive to the needs of each student, while simultaneously pushing them to excel. She believes that, given the right tools, everyone is capable of expressing themselves beautifully through music. Washburn is fully committed to helping her students of all abilities play and perform with ease, balanced technique, and beautiful tone. She believes that this strong foundation is essential to future musical development, and guides her students to high standards of excellence at every level.

Influenced by pedagogical studies with many teachers, Washburn’s teaching technique is rooted in the mother-tongue approach of the Suzuki Method, which she studied under Teri Einfeldt. The ability to learn by ear, and then later connect to the written page, hearkens back to all aural traditions of musical learning, including the Irish-American fiddle music she learned from her father. She believes that parent participation in the musical learning experience is a valuable asset, and she enjoys a strong connection with her students and their families. Her teaching style also draws on other influences, including her studies with Mimi Zweig and Bonnie Black, and she uses a wide range of teaching materials and repertoire in her lessons. A life-long student, she is always looking for opportunities to learn from her colleagues and grow as a teacher and musician.