Teacher Spotlight: Susan Holloway

Susan Holloway fell in love with the violin in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. She was classically trained in the Suzuki Method and was also exposed to and influenced by the jazz, rock, blues, soul, and gospel of Memphis’ rich music scene, which has had a huge impact on her playing and teaching. She is a student favorite on Lessonface and this month’s Teacher Spotlight!

1. What was the first instrument you played?

The first instrument I played was the violin. I went to an Itzhak Perlman concert when I was five and fell in love with the violin. I had to beg my mother for lessons for a while (she thought five might be too young). She looked into it and found a teacher at my school, so I started when I was six.

2.  Who are some of your musical influences?

Itzhak Perlman was a huge influence on me growing up.  I also listened to a lot of Jascha Heifetz. I love the jazz violin of Stéphane Grappelli (with the jazz guitar of Django Reinhardt).  Another jazz violinist I love is Regina Carter. I also love opera, gospel, The Beatles, Abba, Elvis, Artie Shaw, and others. It's an eclectic group of influences!

3. What do you like most about teaching?  How long have you been teaching online?

There is so much I like about teaching! I enjoy the relationships I form with my students, and I enjoy working with them to achieve their goals. It is so rewarding to see a student master a skill  previously felt impossible (to the student). I've been teaching online with Lessonface for 2 years.  

4. Any advice for someone trying to learn violin online?

I would say that it is very important to enjoy the process and recognize small achievements along the way. Violin is a challenging instrument to learn, so it may seem like it takes a long time to master any part of it. Even learning to hold the bow correctly is a huge milestone!!

5. What is your favorite medium? Live, audio, or video? Why?

It is so hard to choose a favorite medium because there is so much value in each, and each medium contributes differently to both the musical experience, and musical education. There is nothing like the energy of a live performance, and there is a different kind of focus and active listening involved in the immersive experience of a live concert. I love audio because even as you are doing other things (exercise, driving, cleaning) you get the benefit of listening passively, which is extremely important as well. Video is invaluable because you can get a different perspective on live performances. You have the ability to pause the video and you can get an up-close perspective. In practice, I probably use audio most, but all three are essential.

6. Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician.

I feel so fortunate as a musician to be able to make a living doing something that I am passionate about, that would be my favorite part. My least favorite part I suppose is how difficult it can be to make a living in music. The struggle is real, but absolutely worth it.

7. If you magically had the power to learn one musical instrument and be great at it, what would it be?

If I could magically learn one musical instrument and be great at it, I would choose piano/keyboards.  I was never able to tear myself away from practicing violin as a child, so I only learned a little bit of piano.  I would love to be able to make my own backing tracks and to accompany students on piano.  I guess it is never too late, perhaps I should take up piano now!

8. What's next for you?  

I love teaching, so I would like to continue building my studio. I have taken a bit of a break from making videos because of family responsibilities, but I would like to get back into making more tutorials, perhaps some more geared towards beginners. I also love recording and performing concerts, so that is on my radar when life allows.  


“Susan is wonderful, warm, compassionate, caring.” Lesia K.
“In such a short time my sound has improved.” Michael S.

If you’d like to take one-on-one lessons with Susan, check out her Lessonface profile.


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