In 2019, violin instructor Michelle Teague quickly became the #1 booked instructor on Care2Rock. We picked her brain to find out how she does it all. She plays and teaches 4 different string instruments–cello, violin, viola, and double bass–along with many other creative outlets.
Don’t take our word for it. Her student, Alexis Robl calls Michelle a “wonderful teacher” and “would recommend her to any age or level.”
What drew you to string instruments?
I didn’t have any family members who played an instrument. There was not a ton of music in my home. We all played outside, which led me to be very fond of listening to the trees talk, painting with mud or crushed flowers and walking through the woods. However while in school I had a choice to take a music class or take extra physical education. I don’t like sports and I despise running. So naturally, I chose music.
My mother said, ” If you don’t care what instrument you play, PLEASE play the cello. Its the most beautiful instrument I have ever heard.” She was right. Cello is lovely and my favorite instrument to play. I had a great first teacher and I still use her teaching strategies.
How do you juggle all of your students, being a full-time mom, and running your own business?
I keep a good calendar. I allow my students to text me for faster communication but I also answer emails. My music room is near my kitchen and I time out how long it takes me to do things by the minute. Not that I need to plan those things on paper, but I have been a mom for 15 years eventually you have a built-in clock.
What are all of your creative outlets?
I make anything. I paint, draw, sew, cook, and of course play the cello, viola, and violin. Anything and everything I do has to be creative. I come from a very creative family.
You were an art teacher as well for a while. Did you ever imagine yourself doing anything else other than the arts?
As a child, I wanted to be an archeologist. I even had a school picked out in Arizona. I love history and wanted to dig something up. Then I thought about restoring old paintings. I thought this made sense to bring history and art together, but I like to make my art. I became a music teacher about the same time I became an art teacher. I love talking with my students and see them grow. I took a little break after my last child was born and our family relocated out of state. I missed my students terribly. One day, I saw something about online lessons. I did not know this existed 3 years ago. I love teaching online because this allows me to spend more time with my family. Without online lessons, I would be stuck in a studio on the weekends and after school. This just is not possible with my family. I use to bring my kids with me while teaching but that was so exhausting and they are older now.
Can you give 3 helpful tips that can help prepare a beginner learning violin for the first time?
Take the time to find a shoulder rest, music stand, and a place to practice. Make time for something you have committed to every day. This becomes easier if you make it part of your routine. Be kind to yourself. This is new and will take time. You must forgive what you don’t know, and understand its hard for anyone it’s not just you.