Violin Bootcamp


Violin students learning at summer camp



Jumpstart your fall school year with Violin Bootcamp – whether you want to improve your technique and/or improve orchestra audition skills, this is the place for you! This week-long program for intermediate/advanced violinists will help students improve their technical skills in a rigorous but supportive atmosphere. This program will be the best fit for students age 8 or older who have played for a minimum of 2 years, are at a Suzuki Book 2 (or equivalent) or higher playing level, and are capable of independent practice. The schedule includes 4 private lessons, daily supervised practice, group classes on different topics (including fundamentals, scales, shifting, vibrato, and music theory), rehearsal with a professional collaborative pianist, masterclasses with Potomac Arts Academy Violin Teaching Artists and guest teachers from music colleges, and a final performance. Sign up for one or both weeks!

During Week 1, Cora Cooper from Kansas State University will be visiting to work with our advanced students in technique classes and to teach a guest masterclass. Other guest teachers from universities will be announced soon!


IMPORTANT: A short audition video submission is required for this program. Please submit an UNLISTED YouTube video link of you performing one scale of your choice and one minute of a solo piece which reflects your highest level of ability. After registering for the program, please email video URL link to (ATT: Claire Allen) . (If the faculty does not feel Bootcamp would be a successful environment for you, we will issue a full refund.)



Ages:  8 – 18 years
Dates:  August 14 – 18 and/or August 21 – 25, 2017
Times:  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Mon-Fri)
Tuition:  $600 + $10 music fee per week.   Students are welcome to register for one or both weeks.
Location:  Mason Potomac Arts Academy Building in Fairfax

August 14-18, 2017*
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August 21-25, 2017*
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*To register for both weeks on the same receipt, be sure to select each program before final checkout.


ClaireAllen_headshot Instructor: Claire Allen
Read about Ms. Allen

Claire Allen is an active performing violinist and private teacher in the Washington, D.C. area. She is a Teaching Artist at Potomac Arts Academy, where she has a private studio of students ages 4 through 18 and is the Faculty Coordinator. She teaches Violin Beginnings, a series of group classes for young children just starting to play violin, teaches supplemental Suzuki-style group classes for students already in private lessons, coaches chamber music, and is a co-director of the summer Violin Bootcamp.

Before teaching for Potomac Arts Academy, Claire was a teaching assistant at the Baltimore School for the Arts where she coached chamber music, directed sectionals, and assisted with the orchestras. She also taught privately in an outreach program that provided free lessons to inner-city school children, To Work In Gaining Skills (TWIGS). She has also been on faculty at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Outreach Department. During her teacher training, Claire completed two levels of Suzuki teacher training at the Greater Washington Area Suzuki Institute and studied pedagogy with Rebecca Henry at the Peabody Conservatory. In summer 2013, she attended a pedagogy workshop at Indiana University directed by Mimi Zweig.

As a performer, Claire is a member of the first violin section in the McLean Orchestra. She also performs with the Faculty String Quartet at Potomac Arts Academy and founded the Argonath Duo with pianist Wade Meyers. Highlights from the 2014-2015 season include a series of recitals with violist Lillian Green at Monteverde Academy Music Conservatory in Florida, a music ministry recital at Holy Trinity Catholic Church and chamber music performances as part of Fairfax City’s Spotlight on the Arts festival. She was a member of the Peabody Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute Festival Orchestra. At Baldwin-Wallace College, she was the co-concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the opera orchestra.

As a soloist, Claire most recently gave a recital at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, DC, performing Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, Mozart Sonata in e minor, and Beethoven Sonata No. 8. She gave a solo recital at the Peabody Institute in December 2012. She was a two-time finalist in the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Concerto Competition. Past solo performances include informal recitals for Capital Caring in the 2011 holiday season, concerts with Classical Revolution DC, a sonata performance at Summermusic 2010 in Gilbertsville, NY, and a benefit recital for the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2010.

Claire 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 Keng-Yuen Tseng, Burton Kaplan, Julian Ross, and Lisa Cridge. She performs on a modern violin made by Tetsuo Matsuda.


MattRichardson_headshotInstructor: Matt Richardson
Read about Mr. Richardson

Matt Richardson holds a BM and MM in Violin Performance from George Mason University. He is a regular member of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and Principal 2nd Violin of the Mclean Orchestra. Additional orchestral performances include performances with The Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the Williamsburg Symphonia, the Virginia Opera, the International Chamber Orchestra of Washington, the Cathedral Choral Society Orchestra, the Apollo Orchestra, the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra, and the American Festival Pops Orchestra. He is a frequent solo and chamber recitalist in the Metropolitan DC area, performing on such series as the Kent Chamber Music (DE) series, the Music with the Angels series (DC), the USAF Band Chamber series (VA), and the Fairfax County Spotlight on the Arts series (VA), as well as having performed in numerous DC venues including, The Kennedy Center Concert Hall and Millennium Stage, The Washington National Cathedral, The Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria, The Washington Masonic Memorial, The Church of the Holy City (DC) and many others.

Additionally, Matthew has been an active violin teacher in the Northern Virginia area since 2007. His students have gone to rank highly in all levels of the American Youth Philharmonic orchestras, as well as leading sections in the Northern Virginia Senior Regional Orchestra, and the Virginia All-State Orchestra. He has also served on the faculty of the GMU Ovations Summer Strings Academy since 2009, and the Summer Piano and Chamber Music Institute at George Washington University since 2014. During his time at GMU, he served as concertmaster of both the Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra, and he made numerous appearances as a soloist with both groups. Some highlights of his solo performances included performing as a winner of the 2006 Student Concerto Competition, twice as a soloist at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium stage, and performing the “Theme from Schindler’s List” with the GMU Symphony Orchestra in the spring of 2006. While earning his MM, he held teaching assistanships to Peter Haase for his private studio, to Dr. Anna Balakerskaia for her accompanying class, and to Dr. Laura Kobayashi as a chamber ensembles coach, in addition to his work leading sectionals for the Symphony Orchestra.

In the summer of 2011, Matthew was invited to participate in the Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno/Sterzing, Italy, where he was Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra, played in masterclasses for James Stern, Sarah Crocker, Alvaro Gomez and Routa Kromovitch, and was a Finalist in the 2011 Orfeo International Music Competition. Matthew’s primary teachers include Peter Haase, Zino Bogachek, Karen Johnson, Weigang Li, and Joseph Wargo.


RachelMcAleer_headshotInstructor: Rachel McAleer
Read about Ms. McAleer

Rachel McAleer is a Violin Teaching Artist at Potomac Arts Academy in Fairfax, Virginia. At Potomac Arts Academy, Rachel has a committed private studio of beginning, intermediate, and advanced violin students. In addition to teaching private lessons, Rachel will be teaching a group class for beginning violinists in the 2015-2016 school year. In August 2015, Rachel co-created and co-directed Violin Bootcamp, a one week intensive summer camp for intermediate and advanced violinists. Rachel enjoys performing in the Washington, DC area. In 2014, she attained a first violin section position with the McLean Orchestra. In 2014, she was also asked to join the Pan American Symphony Orchestra. With PASO, she has performed in many wonderful venues, including the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, and Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University. Rachel is anticipating a tour with PASO in Italy in July 2016.

Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Pedagogy from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where her primary instructors were Mimi Zweig and Dr. Brenda Brenner. While at IU, Rachel studied the methodology of pedagogues, Paul Rolland and Shinichi Suzuki. These influential violin teachers greatly enhance Rachel’s teaching style. While studying at IU, Rachel was a lead teacher for the Fairview Elementary Violin Project, a music program for underserved children in Bloomington, IN. She also taught supplemental lessons at the IU String Academy, encouraging and instilling positive practice habits. In 2011-2012, Rachel began coursework for a Master in Music in violin performance at Indiana University. After two semesters of graduate work, Rachel accepted a teaching position in Washington, DC. In 2012-2013, Rachel taught elementary general music, elementary violin class, and middle school string orchestra at KIPP DC public charter school.

Rachel is committed to developing professionally as a teacher and performer. She is an active member of the American String Teachers Association. She is on the board of the Virginia chapter of American String Teachers Association. One of her duties as a VASTA board member is to produce and publish quarterly ‘Fingerboard’ e-newsletters for the string teaching community of Virginia. In 2015, 2014 and 2012, Rachel attended the national conferences for the American String Teachers Association. In 2013, Rachel received a scholarship to attend the ArCoNet Summer Strings Boot Camp and Dali Chamber Music Festival in Lansdale, PA. With a string quartet, she performed Schubert’s String Quartet No. 14 ‘Death and the Maiden.’ From 2008-2012, she was a member of the IU symphony orchestras, performing in a vast array of orchestral, operatic, and ballet performances. In 2010, Rachel performed a solo recital at Ford Theater at Indiana University. The repertoire included: Mozart Violin Sonata No. 18 in G Major, Schumann Violin Sonata No. 1 in a minor, and the Bach Partita No. 3 in E Major. In 2009, Rachel performed Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances in a benefit recital for the Shropshire Music Foundation in Hollidaysburg, PA. In 2004-2009, Rachel was a member of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, in her hometown of Altoona, PA.

Currently, Rachel is pursuing a Master in Music in violin performance at George Mason University. She is concertmaster of the GMU Symphony Orchestra. Rachel hopes to finish the MM program by May 2016.


ErynnSpencer_headshotInstructor: Erynn Spencer
Read about Ms. Spencer

Violinist Erynn Spencer is a Teaching Artist at the Potomac Arts Academy. She has been teaching since 2009 in studios in Utah, Maryland, and Virginia. Several of her students have participated in the GT Sinfonia and GT Orchestra in Howard County. In 2014, she taught in the Playing Partners Program at the Peabody Preparatory Academy. This program allowed students from OrchKids to receive private instruction and perform on a concert with some of the Preparatory students. Erynn loves to continue her training as a teacher, and is currently Suzuki-certified in Books 1-6. She has completed her certification with Carrie Reuning-Hummel, Mark Mutter, Allen Lieb, and Linda Fiore. She has also studied pedagogical techniques from Rebecca Henry. In April 2014 she attended the Peabody Violin Pedagogy Weekend and was able to meet with many teachers there including Brenda Brenner, Darcy Drexler, and Mimi Zweig.

Erynn also performs as a soloist and collaborative musician. Recently, she appeared as a soloist in a recital given at the Peabody Conservatory’s Griswold Hall. She has performed in quartets in and around Baltimore, and has received instruction from Michael Kannen, Alison Wells, as well as coachings from the Kuss Quartet, the Skampa Quartet, the St. Lawrence Quartet, and the Ying Quartet. Her orchestral experience includes performing with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestral Institute Festival Orchestra, the Utah Philharmonia, and the National Symphony Orchestra Festival Orchestra. From Washington’s Kennedy Center to the Salt Lake City Tabernacle, from Baltimore’s venerable Friedberg Hall to the Church of St. Mary the Great in Cambridge, England, Erynn’s violin has resonated in some of the world’s greatest concert halls. Erynn earned the Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Utah, where she studied with Leonard Braus. In May 2014, she completed her Master of Music degree at the Peabody Conservatory where she is a protégé of the distinguished faculty artist Violaine Melançon.




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Claire Allen & Matt Richardson
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