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Meet Feliks Volozhanin of Russian School of Music Irvine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Feliks Volozhanin.

Feliks, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I was seven, my mom brought me to a music school and told that I would learn cello. The teacher was my mom’s friend. I hated that music school so much! A way beyond your imagination. For a long time, I thought that studying music was a hideous process and a normal kid couldn’t like it. Today, I’m a director of the string program at Russian School of Music Irvine. I make learning music fun and my students practice at home on their own sharing with me videos of their progress!!

Has it been a smooth road?
The struggles are always in the way. As my friend says: “when you struggle- you live life to the fullest!” We always live it to the fullest. Our students are our priority and their ups and downs are ours. And with growing kids, learning is a never-ending roller coaster: lots of fun if you’re not scared of doing it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We do private music instructions for kids offering classes in piano violin, viola, cello, guitar, and clarinet. We are yet very very tiny comparing with other music schools in the area, having 2% of the market share; however, 33% of the Irvine Elementary Honor Orchestra (probably, the most competitive district in CA) cello section are our students.

But above all we’re proud of seeing how our students love learning music. Yesterday, I received a text from a parent saying how her boy enjoyed a class and was thinking about being a composer. That’s the highest reward that a teacher can dream about!!

We don’t teach classical music in a traditional way, when teacher decides what and how to do: with lots of dreadful theory, sticking to sheet music and annoying reminders of a practice’s importance. We learn about our students. We talk to them. We ask them questions. They choose their repertoire. And if they choose Lady Gaga, we go and do Lady Gaga. But only by ear and without any sheet music, as real musicians should do.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
We are thankful to our students for teaching and transforming us, their supportive parents and our dedicated instructors who share our beliefs and values.

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