Who are the top 10 Violin teachers in the world?

May 16, 2018, 9:32 PM · I was asked always by the parents who are the top 10 Violin teachers in the world. What are their teaching style. Any Ideas?

Replies (24)

May 16, 2018, 10:01 PM · Kind of an odd question. Rather, it's the wrong question. Some teachers are great for one student but terrible for another. For example, galamian had a lot of good students associated with his name, but some really hated his teaching. Others loved it.

I guess if they want a list of the most *famous* teachers in recent history, maybe Dorothy delay, Ivan galamian, Simon Fischer, Sassmanhaus (can't remember his first name right now), Josef gingold, etc are the first ones that come to my mind.

May 16, 2018, 11:37 PM · Yes, very tricky question, you can top music school ranking, but not teacher ranking, first come to my mind is Dorothy delay, Galamian, they produced a lot of famous solo violist with very dedicated teaching method. But they has gone.

I think they want to know who are the top at moment? I can think about is Zakhar Bron, Aaron Rosand, who else then??

May 17, 2018, 4:21 AM · Donald Weilerstein's studio at New England Conservatory seems to keep putting out some wonderful musicians.
Edited: May 17, 2018, 4:35 AM · In my opinion the world's top teachers are those teachers that are able to instill a lifetime of enjoyment of violin playing in players of limited ability.
Edited: May 17, 2018, 7:27 AM · Depends on what you measure. If you measure who is the best at making famous violinists, probably Delay or Galamian; you measure who is the best at making rock/pop students love classical music, you get other people; you measure who is the best at making students enjoy the violin all their lifes (when at the beginning they didn't care about it), probably other results. On and on...

I think we all mean the first one, who is the best at making students famous, and that's probably Galamian or Delay.

May 17, 2018, 7:50 AM · In the present tense? Don't think so.
May 17, 2018, 8:10 AM · I'm not in the business of bad mouthing teachers but rest assured:

One teacher listed on this thread was or is most certainly not a great teacher unless they improved astronomically after my experience with them.

I took lessons from them for a summer and didn't learn anything of use. All I can remember is that they kept on telling me to "practice slowly" without fixing any of the underlying issues I had. They also would tell all kinds of stories about great violinists which my parents (who sat in on lessons) ate up. It wasn't until I started talking lesson from a local university professor the next fall that I realized what a good teacher is. That was in essence the beginning of my teaching life.

May 17, 2018, 9:01 AM · Asking for a list of the top ten violin teachers in the world is meaningless. What possible reason could presumably random parents have for asking such a question?
May 17, 2018, 9:11 AM · To get into those elite schools and be accepted by those famous teachers you already need to have advanced level technique. The real heroes of the profession are those less-known teachers at the K--12 age levels that take students from grade 0 to grade 8 (on a 10-point scale). From an earlier generation, I would nominate one of my teachers, Vera Barstow, at USC.
May 17, 2018, 10:07 AM · Personally among all teachers I met I think there are three greatest, the first one is Franco Gulli (deceased), the second is Boris Kuschnir, and the third Pavel Vernikov. I think Ricci is also fine, though I have not attended his class, nearly all his pupils speaking highly of him.
Edited: May 17, 2018, 10:31 AM · I agree with Joel. I have known violin (and cello) teachers who may not have produced anyone famous and might not have even prepared more than a few students (if any) for conservatory, but they are absolutely magical with small children -- nurturing motivation, developing proper technique from the very beginning, and instilling concepts of musicality and collaboration. That should count for something too.
May 18, 2018, 8:39 AM · My childhood teacher. She was awesome!
Edited: May 18, 2018, 10:06 AM · If you scroll through the stories about The Juilliard Symposium on Violin Studies you can find a lot of the top teachers and also see their teaching described in master classes. You can also just search "master class" here on Violinist.com and find many. Off the top of my head, some of the top teachers of today (some famous and some not as known, but all producing results with their students):

Almita and Rolland Vamos
Paul Kantor
Robert Lipsett
Ida and Ani Kavafian
Pamela Frank
Brian Lewis
Stephanie Chase
Kurt Sassmannshaus
Jorja Fleezanis
Sylvia Rosenberg
Chee-Yun Kim
Mimi Zweig
Simon James
Laurie Smukler
Steve Shipps
Midori
Daniel Heifetz
Desiree Ruhstrat
Danielle Belen
Lorenz Gamma
Peter Slowik (viola)

I've left out tons of people here, and also since I'm American that is what I know best and many of these teacher teach in America. I'll try to come back and post more when I think of more. But there are fantastic violin teachers in the world today, I daresay that many of them likely teach better than those legendary teachers of old.

May 18, 2018, 8:45 PM · Thank you very much Laurie, very useful information and good ideas to watch their masterclass on the YouTube to find out their teaching style and characters etc. I believe they are very good teachers in some way to suit some children. It is very wise way to know their teaching style and character first before go ahead with them.
May 19, 2018, 5:47 AM · Although Laurie did manage to miss me off the list ...
May 19, 2018, 9:40 AM · I am with Mary Ellen on this. There are famous teachers, but the question has some resemblance to the question of which are the best strings. IMHO, these things are all very individual and lack answers that are valid for everyone.
May 19, 2018, 9:53 AM · I'm also with those who say that such a list is not useful. Lists that rank colleges as "top 10" in this way tend to be similar. They are used by adults to limit possibilities and put pressure on students. I think when parents ask you this question it's a great teaching moment--for the parents! You can help them understand that there are better ways to approach looking for a teacher.
May 20, 2018, 5:27 PM · Whether we like it or not, there are rankings for practically everything. Education in particular.
May 20, 2018, 8:05 PM · I have no idea. But from high school students I know that they talk about whose the best for violin or viola when they're looking at college. It's not a meaningless or obtuse question for them.
When looking at grad school (in a different field) I had the same question. With a "good teacher" came not only training and instruction, but all the strings (no pun intended) that the teacher has. The teacher's reputation predisposes evaluators to consider you more favorably ... or not; the teacher has connections that get you interviews or auditions; the teacher has inside knowledge on jobs and opportunities that might help get jobs; the teacher has inside knowledge on what is required for some gig or position. When I went to grad school I watched this. "___ has an opening that just came up for a _______, are you interested?" The job would be posted the next day, but by then they'd already have candidates in mind because the job would start in 3 weeks.
I'd be interested in a purely academic way in a listing, to be honest.
Edited: May 21, 2018, 2:51 AM · The question is interesting, anyway. Although not well formulated. It is impossible to rank "goodness".

But another way to put it, which could interest some, would be "who are the most successful violin teachers in developing internationally famous violinists". It is raw and hard (business usually is), but it would be interesting to see who were the teachers of, say, the Menuhin Competition finalists in the past 10 years. Or who were the main teachers of current soloists. It's true that such list would treat them more as "trainers" rather than teachers but it's also true that for a young aspiring violinist, one of the few roads available ahead is the cutthroat permanent competition and in that sense those "trainers" with more winners in their history are more attracttive. If that is the case, that some names appear more than others as teachers of winners of famous competitions, the career of a young student would aim to be in the roster of those teachers. How to get there will often involve other prior teachers who would be recognized by the awarded one etc... However competitive and expensive, it is a realistic career path.

Edited: May 21, 2018, 4:31 AM · Something I see a lot of from people passing through my shop is the search for the teacher who will provide what is needed at the moment. For instance, I see in one of the lists above someone who I think is terrible, but has proven superb at teaching students to be confident and professional, and has a very high employment hit rate. There are teachers for bow, for left hand, for musicality, for particular aspects of musicality, and I rarely see those combined in one. I know someone who was being recommended one particular person because of a quirk that they had been unable to leave behind that was holding them up, and that teacher wouldn't put up with that particular problem. And then there are the coaches for preparing for auditions, which is another group entirely. There's probably someone for the specific skill of winning contests, too, but after the contest, you still have to win the audition if you want a job.

In that context, how can you tag "best"? Maybe that's an old idea that isn't as functional as it used to be.

May 21, 2018, 5:27 AM · What about Ana Chumachenko, Philippe Hirschhorn and Aida Stucki ? They certainly have many students who are now the most in demand soloists and orchestral members in the world :)
May 21, 2018, 10:58 AM · Well Philippe Hirschhorn is dead lol

Ana Chumachenko is great! Augustin Dumay is as well.

I think the greatest quality a teacher can have is flexibility of approach. The best teachers, in any craft, are those who tailor the approach to the student’s specific needs.
In that regard, the ‘best’ teacher I know of is Miriam Fried.
And her students win prizes at all the top international competitions too.

May 21, 2018, 3:28 PM · I'm stating the obvious but, in order to teach the very elite students, these elite teachers would first have to work really hard to establish their name and move through the ranks.

As for any businesses, once you get established, you enjoy choosing your own customers.

Harvard University can theoretically accept students at much lower echelons, but it doesn't need to, while continuing to reject the nearest-to-top students. It doesn't make sense for Harvard, nor it is fair for the elite students who were rejected by Harvard.


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