I have played and studied music for 30 years, performing internationally and appearing with groups on local and national radio and television, and have had the good fortune to share the stage and even record with some very talented individuals!
As for teaching, I've taught hundreds of students over almost 20 years, and over that time, I can say I've learned that what can make or break a student's success is whether or not they enjoy their teacher and the work they are doing.
I love helping my students learn to read and play, discover their own love of music, and conquer their fears of performing. I've been described by students as encouraging and fun, and my teaching style is warm, positive, and relaxed. I have worked with many students, including some with learning disabilities, physical limitations, PTSD, and just plain ol' stage fright! I work with you to play the music you enjoy and set your own goals, and I look forward to helping you reach them... It's what I love about what I do.
I began my violin studies at age 9, with my public school string program. I continued through high school and into college, playing and singing with auditioned district ensembles, school musicals, and chamber choirs, coming in as runner up in my high school's concerto competition, landing a full-tuition scholarship, and performing twice in Carnegie Hall. I studied opera, vocal pedagogy, and passed my piano proficiency exam from the advanced class.
In 2003, I earned my violin performance degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and soon after, joined the Kansas City-based Celtic folk group, Tullamore. I have enjoyed 13 seasons with this lauded regional group, playing countless esteemed Celtic festivals across the country and embarking on five international tours of Ireland and Scotland, as well as a Caribbean cruise hosted for our fans. Our sixth international tour is scheduled for 2019 in Scotland.
In 2014, I relocated to Hampton, Virginia, where I auditioned for the Hampton Roads Philharmonic, and enjoyed my tenure as a first violinist.
From 2015-2018, I had the joy of fiddling and singing with Brackish Water Jamboree, an award-winning Americana band, featured on NPR's Blue Plate Special and Out of the Box series with Paul Shugrue, and host of the NorFOLK Festival.
Throughout this time, I have enjoyed teaching a full and enriching music studio of students: hosting recitals, open mics, and ensemble rehearsals, and watching students achieve goals they didn't know were even possible. I continue to teach online via Skype, FaceTime, and Facebook Messenger, and I look forward to working with you to accomplish your own musical aspirations! Visit my website, RachelGaither.com, for more info.
Rachel is an awesome teacher!!! She has taught 2 of my boys over the last few years: one guitar (age 11), one violin (age 15). Rachel has a lovely personality and has always been very encouraging of their progress. My boys find her enjoyable, yet she pushes them to put forward their best effort. She is also very understanding of their different personalities. I was nervous about trying a teacher via Skype, but lessons with Rachel have far exceeded my expectations.
My three daughters (ages 11, 8 and 6) all take lessons with Rachel. She is very patient and makes the lessons fun for my daughters (with an awesome reward system that makes them want to practice). She expertly differentiates the lessons to each girl's skill level. All three of them have increased their knowledge and skill and are constantly learning new things. We will use her for years to come.
My daughter's have learned so much in a short time having lessons with Rachel. She keeps it fun and keeps them on track. Best decision we could have made for them with a music teacher.
Rachel is AMAZING. My daughter has been taught by some incredible talent before (Professional Symphony members, national touring talent) but NONE compare to Rachel. She has the ability to connect, entertain, and TEACH a child like no one I've EVER seen. My daughter has alwasy enjoyed playing violin, but since Rachel, she has an unprecidented enthusiasm for practicing! Not only are "fun" pieces learned, skills are learned as well as proper hand placement and posture. Its literally the BEST decision we have ever made with regard to my daughter's pursuit of the violin! Did I mention she is HILARIOUS and FUN!? SO blessed and lucky to have found Rachel. She's just the absolute best!
In our first lesson, I usually take a few minutes for us to introduce ourselves and discuss your goals--being friends makes things a lot more fun! I will then make sure you are set up for success--you will learn how to hold your instrument and posture, the workings of how to play that will set you up to avoid pitfalls, and get you started with an assignment to move you forward. We will also most likely share some laughs--that's very important. Silliness is a most valuable learning tool. Plus, life is boring without it, right?
I have a Bachelor in Music degree with the focus on violin performance. I also studied classical/operatic voice and piano while working on my studies. I am also self-taught in folk and classical guitar, using the Christopher Parkening method, and have been playing guitar for over 20 years.
Monthly tuition for 30-minute lessons: $110
Monthly tuition for 60-minute lessons: $220
Individual 30-minute lesson: $35
Individual 60-minute lesson: $65
I began teaching coeds while I was in college--students who were interested in beginning violin or guitar would come up to me and ask. I enjoyed working with them so much, I began working with younger students as well, and the rest is history.
I have worked with all ages, and all learning types. My youngest was 18 months, and my oldest has been in their 70's. I've worked with students who are recovering from stroke, surgery, who have nerve damage in their extremities, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia, and extreme shyness/mutism. One of the things I love about teaching is connecting with the student, figuring out how they learn best, and working with them as a friend and mentor to see them fulfill their success!
Sometimes, as one would expect with hard work, there are tears, especially with the young ones. I am always encouraging and positive when offering feedback, but sometimes inner dialogue gets the best of them. So, in those instances, I say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. It's getting too serious in here, I think. Do you know what we do when it gets too serious? We take a deep breath in..." *inhale deeply so they join me* "...and let it out." *Let out a giant raspberry*
Gets them every time. Again, silliness is a wonderful and indispensible learning tool. It helps us remember why we are doing this, and who we are. We are not our failures. We are here to enjoy ourselves and the people around us, and the journey!