I believe the relationship between violin teacher and student is a partnership. I consider the violin my voice, my internal emotional communicator with the world, and my storytelling conduit. I strive to achieve the satisfaction of seeing my students come to love and be at home with their instrument, to need the violin in their lives as much as I do.
I believe that anyone can learn to play the violin if they are physically flexible, open to new ideas, detail-oriented, and willing to put in the work practicing. If a player has a talent for musical communication, then he/she also needs a positive, detailed mindset to deal with the multifaceted parts of learning and mastering the instrument.
I teach the whole student, paying close attention to social cues as to whether that student needs to be pushed in a particular direction or needs to take a break from the task at hand. I will then go on to a new idea, and at a later time, circle back around to the place where we felt stuck, sometimes in the lesson, sometimes in a later lesson. I do not force a student to do what they cannot do, but try different approaches until something clicks.
I believe that my students should take command of their playing at every stage of development.
My intermediate students are expected to practice an hour a day, six days a week at home. They are learning to write notes in their music for themselves, marking sections, phrases, and storytelling thoughts and marking the spots where they need to practice for next week’s lesson. They are working on musical reading: learning to identify all key signatures of the circle of fifths and be able to play those scales and arpeggios in a two-octave format. For better rhythm, in the lesson and at home, I have them count out loud as they play or sing their music, learning the language for subdivisions. We also sometimes sight-read duets at the end of the lesson if time permits.
Advanced students are expected to practice at least three hours a day, seven days a week, in order to see the results of their efforts. I introduce them to principles of fingering and bowing technique “menus,” and have them design their own voice. Advanced students have a practice regimen that I do not always listen to, but I check in from time to time to make sure that they understand how important this regimen is.
For professionally bound students, I loosely follow Dorothy Delay’s practice plan of 5 hours a day (and cut it down for advanced high school students), 50-minute hours (10 minutes break each hour):
I keep notebooks about all of my students – mostly "to do" lists of my plans for them in the near future and for the next years’ worth of lessons.
I teach all levels of students. I find that starting students on the violin is the most revealing about my own education on the violin, and I appreciate the lessons that I learn from teaching these beginning students. Beginner students tend to inform my teaching of the Intermediate and advanced students, as we always seem to have to go back to basics before we can master new challenges on the instrument.
“My viola teacher referred me to Marka Young when I was in need of a specialist to inspire me with new ideas about baroque performance practice. Although she lives nearly an hour away, it was well worth the drive. Her teaching informed me about the differences between modern and baroque bows and style so that I could apply the techniques learned to specific passages in the music and to my playing in general. After just two lessons, I returned to school with solid ideas about how to successfully warm up and how to analyze and perform Bach in a more professional way. I am much more inspired by the music than I was before and have completely new ideas about the viola. My appreciation of period music has been greatly enhanced and the extensive list of readings which she gave me will be of great use both now and in the future. Regarding her teaching style, she is effectively able to tell you what you are doing right and what you need to practice, all the while increasing your self-esteem and your self awareness. I left her studio feeling more confident about who I am as a player and extremely confident that I will be able to apply her lessons to my musical career for the better.”
S.G., Music student at Ithaca College
The clinician from NYC was just fabulous. (For violin in UBBC OCC1)
I attended and was very pleased with the instruction that this superb musician had to give to the kids. The way she taught was very effective ... Anything you can do to make her happy would be the thing to do because she was just fabulous for the festival.
State College Junior Baroque Music Festival
Marka teaches each student with their goals in mind. She helped me develop my technique, listening, and practice strategies. Her detailed instruction focuses on how to make physical changes that yield changes in the sound. I really appreciate how much she supported me in the other aspects of my life, knowing that a well-rounded musician has a life outside of music. I found joy in lessons, practicing, and playing with Marka.
V. H. Vassar College, ‘23
I really enjoyed violin this semester. Love the teaching style, and I think that the pieces I played were great. I also like how open you are to our opinions and points-of-view. Can’t wait to start next semester!
Vassar College student
As usual, taking violin lessons with you has been a pleasure. I know I don’t practice as much as you would like but I still enjoy learning with you. My technique has drastically improved as has my musicianship in general. I look forward to taking lessons with you next year, and am a little upset that the course is already over…
Vassar College student
Our boys Teo 13 and Sebastian 11 have been studying violin with Marka for 5 years. Marka is a master in her ability to teach from beginning to increasingly highly technical skills while simultaneously helping her students to develop the emotional and intellectual capacity to become true musicians. Marka's unmatched integrity, passion, kindness, and humor are not only preparing our sons for the highest reach of musical performance, but she is also preparing them to be more attuned and thoughtful human beings.
Paul Lichtenberg, Ph.D
"I've been playing the violin for four years September 2019 - September 2023. The time flew by so swiftly, though I have learned a great deal~in terms of music~through the passing years... mostly from one great person named Mrs. Marka Young. She is an amazing violin teacher. I know I will move on at some point and leave Marka behind, but I will always remember, from the very first day when I learned to hold my bow and instrument, to the day when one of my dreams come true; that is, to become a professional and maybe famous violinist. Thank you Marka~for everything!"
Sophie (12 years old)
Shai Wexler, ’23 Vassar College
Recipient, Lucia V. Torian ’69 Prize for Music, 2023
Winner, Concerto Competition, 2021
Sebastian Lichtenberg, Age 11
Winner, Stringendo Concerto Competition (category B), 2023
Massenet, Meditation from Thaiis
Matt Huang, Arlington HS, 2020
Winner, Concerto Competition 2020
Jonathan Huang, Arlington HS, 2018
Winner, Concerto Competition 2018
Prokofieff Concerto #1, last mvmt.
Cecilia Kim, Spackenkill HS, 2019
Music Scholarship, Gordon College
Steven Oh, Arlington HS, 2017
Winner, Concerto Competition 2017
NYSSMA All-State Festival Participants
Durward Entrekin (Plattekill HS), 2023
Angelina Kim (Spackenkill HS), 2023
Durward Entrekin (Plattekill HS), 2022
Angelina Kim (Spackenkill HS), 2022
Josh Smith (Arlington HS), 2022
Lila Freeman (Kingston HS), 2021
Allison Huang, Viola (Arlington HS), 2019
Cecelia Kim (Spackenkill HS), 2019
Allison Huang, Viola (Arlington HS), 2018, 2019
Jonathan Huang (Arlington HS), 2018
Matthew Huang (Arlington HS), 2018
Rachel Li (Spackenkill HS), 2018
Steven Oh (Arlington HS), 2016
Steven Oh (Arlington HS), 2015