Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Deutsch.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lauren. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in a musical family in Houston, Texas. My mom was a piano teacher, so naturally, I started learning piano at age three. My younger sister had a different plan, though, and from a very young age kept asking to play violin. Finally, when my sister was 4.5 years old and I was around seven years old, my mom let my sister start violin lessons. I would tag along and watch the lessons and became interested in playing the instrument myself. Whenever my sister would leave her violin out after practicing, I would mess around with it and teach myself the songs she was learning. Finally, at the age of nine my mom allowed me to quit piano and start violin lessons. However, to my surprise, I didn’t actually like taking the lessons myself, so after nine months of lessons, I stopped and only learned through attending my sister’s lessons. We formed a string quartet named Sweet Strings and would play for events and weddings all over town.
While I loved playing the violin, most of my time was spent doing gymnastics and racquetball in addition to schoolwork. When I was 17 and my sister was 14, my family decided to move to California for my sister to study violin with one of the most well-known teachers in the country, Robert Lipsett. It was my senior year in high school and my parents promised me that if I agreed to the move, they would put me in a private school. So, I ended up at the Marlborough School for Girls for my senior year of high school, which was one of the best years because of the small class sizes, passionate and dedicated teachers, and the opportunity to participate in chamber music at the school as well as be on their gymnastics team. They also had college counseling services which introduced me to the many scholarships that I could apply to for college. I was super lucky to receive a full academic scholarship to USC. At that point in my life, I was much more into academics than music, so I had applied to the School of Engineering. After 2 years into a mechanical engineering degree, I decided to switch my major to Kinesiology (a science that focused on learning about the body and human movement).
The summer after my freshman year I started working as a math tutor for the SATs, and even though I had done some tutoring previously, I realized that I really enjoyed teaching. At this point, I hadn’t touched my violin since I went to college, but I was playing racquetball for many hours each day. I started the racquetball club at USC and finished out my last year on the Junior Olympic Racquetball Team. That summer my sister asked me to teach some of her young violin students while she was away at summer camp. After spending that summer teaching violin, I realized that was what I wanted to do with my life — teach violin. Even though I had not taken many lessons myself, I had watched tons of my sister’s lessons with some of the best teachers in the country. So, in addition to tutoring math, I now started to add violin students to the mix. Before long, I was teaching with Suzuki Talent Education of Pasadena with some amazing teachers and mentors and utilized my weekends to teach violin all day between living in the on-campus dorms during the week.
Before long I realized that in order to become a really great violin teacher, I needed to take some private lessons myself. So, I enrolled as a music minor and was lucky to study with a motivational teacher Limor Toren, who was the perfect match for me as a shy and not very confident performer. Slowly I built up confidence as I graduated with my undergraduate degree. I felt my next step should be some sort of music degree. However, it was almost impossible to be accepted into a masters of music program without having completed a bachelor’s degree in music first. So, after one of my science mentors approached me about doing a PhD in science as a research assistant in her biomechanics lab, I accepted.
Unfortunately, after starting up the work as a research assistant as well as serving as a teacher’s assistant in the upper level kinesiology courses, all in addition to my own coursework and my heavy teaching load on the weekends, I knew that this course may have not been where my heart was. I really wanted to get better at playing the violin, so I started taking violin with Lorenz Gamma, who refined my technique and built my repertoire. When I was about a year into the PhD at USC, I received a call from Mr. Gamma who asked me if I could be ready in a couple of weeks to audition for the masters of music program at UCLA. I was shocked as we had just started lessons, and I didn’t have anything close to ready to perform for an audition. Nevertheless, I did my best and auditioned and miraculously was accepted into the program. So, for one year, I overlapped as a student at both USC and UCLA, running from school to school to do my teaching assistant work in the kinesiology course to my next job as a teaching assistant in the music education department. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time, yet in the end, I did finish with a Master’s degree in Kinesiology, and the next year finished my Master’s degree in Music. I went on to get a doctorate in music with Guillaume Sutre and Movses Pogossian, both extremely influential in my playing and teaching. Throughout these years as a student, I kept refining and improving my teaching skills and building up my studio. Now that I have my own two kids ages five and seven, I balance being a mom as well as being a teacher. I feel that it has made me a more empathetic and helpful teacher to understand things from the parent’s point of view, as now I know what kind of support the parents need to support a child through music lessons.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Along the way, there are always obstacles of course. I had tremendous stage fright, and my arms would go numb every time I would perform. I thought this would be the biggest obstacle to me getting accepted into a music program. However, I was determined to not let it get in my way and continued to focus on my goals of teaching with performing as a necessary component to improving my skills. I also went through a divorce when my kids were both under the age of 2. This was also very tough, but my teaching and my kids kept me going.
Please tell us about your music studio.
My violin studio is made up of 20-30 students at any given time ages 2 and up. I love starting beginners at a young age and taking them to the advanced level, as I get to be involved in a large part of their lives and mentor them as they grow up. While some of my students are extremely committed and practice an hour or more per day, many of my students have other interests and passions as well, so they can’t dedicate quite as much time. Either way, I feel that the continual lessons and learning an instrument to a very high level is extremely useful for all of my students. For each student, they may have a different goal or different life skills that they work on through their weekly violin lessons. I am happy to help each student find their passions, support them, and help them achieve success in music to which they can apply to other interests they have in their life. I feel that I am most known for being able to teach very young kids to play the violin. I have started students as young as 2 and have taught them to play the violin. As a result, I have students that come from very far, since most teachers aren’t willing to teach kids younger than five years old. I also have a non-profit Classics Alive (www.classicsalive.org), whose mission is to expose children to music and to nurture children in their music studies.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I personally define success as giving my all and helping others to achieve their success. Even before having my own kids, my students were such a big part of my life – their success is my success. And now that I have my own kids, I see how much their teachers impact them and how much they inspire and motivate them. There is only so much a parent can serve that purpose for their own child, and that’s where teachers come in and take care of the rest. I’m happy with my life because I can be that teacher for my students – the one who really makes a difference.
- Website: www.laurendeutsch.com
- Phone: 818-209-1447
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lauren-Deutschs-Violin-Studio-107364674304880/