Our Experienced, Professional Teachers Are What Make the Kennedy Violins Difference
CERTIFIED, EXPERIENCED, PROFESSIONAL, & FRIENDLY
WELCOME! You will appreciate the difference in learning offered at Kennedy Violins. Our teachers make the difference to help you reach your musical goals.
LOCAL LESSONS: we offer local lessons for all ages in our comfortable practice rooms at 508 SE 117th Avenue Vancouver, WA 98683. We also offer remote lessons by Skype.
Lessons are $30 for 30 minutes, $45 for 45 minutes, and $55 for an hour. Pay week to week. Group lessons and workshops are available.
First 30-minute lesson is FREE to new students!
Please select your instrument from the list below, choose an instructor to learn more about them, then check availability to schedule your lesson. No payment is required to schedule your lesson, and your first 30-minutes with us will be free.
Select Your Instrument
Lauren Grant has been playing the violin for 15 years and has a Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from Portland State University. In her private studies, Lauren has worked with Carol Sindell, Adam LaMotte, Hamilton Cheifetz, and Dr. Tomas Cotik. Lauren frequently plays with the Vancouver Symphony as well as the Portland State University Orchestra. She has also previously played with the Oregon Sinfonietta, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, and the Orpheus Academy.
Ashley recently graduated from Brigham Young University with her bachelor's degree in viola performance. Her musical journey began at the age of five after listening to a memorable recording of the violin on the radio, instantly falling in love with its depth and beauty of sound. She knew she wanted to learn how to play the instrument, and after two years of persistent pestering, her parents secured her a position with her first private teacher and has played ever since. Ashley has since had the privilege of performing as assistant principal violist of Brigham Young University's Philharmonic Orchestra, principal violist of BYU’s Chamber Orchestra, and violist of BYU’s prestigious honors quartet. Ashley has also had the opportunity to work in masterclass with some of the great violists of our time, including Paul Neubauer, Professor of the Juilliard School, Robert Vernon, Principal Violist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Jutta Puchhammer-Sedillot, Associate Professor of Viola at the Université de Montréal, and Stephen Wyrczynski, Professor of Viola at the Jacobs School of Music. Along with her extensive performing experience, Ashley has served as adjunct professor of viola at her college, working with students of many experience levels. Her work with the college, as well as her performance excellence resulted in her being awarded the prestigious David Dalton Scholarship the last two years of her degree. Ashley studied under Claudine Bigelow and plans to pursue a masters degree in viola performance and pedagogy in the near future. She hopes to instill a lasting love for music in her students, and finds great joy in seeing her students excel and gain an appreciation for their instrument.
Owen Hofmann-Smith is a performer of many talents. He began his musical training in the fifth grade on the cello. He played in orchestra and sang in choir through his school years. As a youth he played with the Portland youth Philharmonic. During college he picked up the string bass and began studying jazz. It was also at that time that he got his first choir directing position at a local church. After winning the concerto competition at PSU, Owen was awarded the first prize of performing the full, unabridged concerto with the PSU Symphony. When practicing vigorously for this concert he sustained a severe playing injury that prevented him from continuing to play bass or cello. Faced with giving up his lifelong goal of a career as a cellist, he then begin to study voice and opera singing as well as completing a master's degree in conducting at Portland State in 2013. Having made a full recovery from that injury a couple of years later, he is back performing on his cello and bass regularly. After years of gigging as a classical, jazz, and theatrical stage performer, more recently Owen has been developing as a rock and R&B musician on guitar and bass guitar. Owen has recently performed on bass with The Casimir Effect, Karaoke from Hell, Pete Krebs, The Clambake Combo, Stumptown Swing, Vintage Knights, Torchsong Entertainment, Rio con Brio, Arco PDX, Columbia Symphony, and Opera Theater Oregon. Owen is also very into folk and fiddle music after traveling to Dublin and Cork. Fiddle tunes and Irish folk songs are often featured in his musical sets. Owen currently holds position as Director of Music Ministry at Bethel UCC, conductor of Liedertafel Harmonie (community choir of the German American Society of Portland), and instructor at Kennedy Violins.
Zach is a Portland native with a bachelor's degree in bass performance from PSU. He’s been an active private teacher in the Vancouver area since graduating in 2010. He’s studied with Jeff Johnson of the Oregon Symphony as well Jazz artists Glenn Moore, Alan Jones, Dan Schulte, and Kevin Deitz. Zach performs as a member of the SW Washington symphony as well as freelancing throughout SW Washington and the Portland area. When he’s not playing bass, Zach enjoys permaculture gardening, mountain biking, kayaking, and anything that gets him out in the great outdoors of the pacific northwest. To schedule a lesson, browse our lesson schedule to to view teacher availability and request an appointment, or contact Zach directly at 1-800-779-0242.
Dyonnis has taught piano and voice for over 25 years to students of all ages. She studied piano pedagogy at Marylhurst College under Joanna Hodges, founder of the Joanna Hodges Conference and Piano Competition. She studied voice under Dr. David Murray. She has sang in the Portland Opera Chorus and served as Music Director and as a piano accompanist in churches. Dyonnis takes into consideration each student’s unique learning style and interests to achieve a common outcome of proper technique, theory, ear training and sight reading ability. She is passionate about helping a student achieve the lifelong physical, mental, social and emotional benefits that playing an instrument provides.
Amy loves introducing students to the violin and helping them explore their own ability to create music. Having taken her first violin lesson at the age of eight and remembering many of the frustrations of the early years, she seeks to provide students with meaningful exercises that will increase their capabilities and engaging songs that motivate their learning. She has taught students worldwide in her life of travel and especially enjoys coaching adult beginners. Schedule Lessons with Amy To schedule a lesson, browse our lesson schedule to to view teacher availability and request an appointment, or contact Amy directly at 1-800-779-0242.
Violin Viola Cello
Tyler Goldman is a rising force in the education of young musicians. His private students are recognizable by their passionate playing and exceptional playing skills. His teaching style is influenced by studying with Dr. Dijana Ihas. Tyler holds a Bachelors degree in music education from Pacific University where he studied with Adam LaMotte and Kevin Lefohn. Tyler has served as concert master of Pacific University Symphonic Orchestra and the Salem Pops Orchestra. Tyler teaches Violin, Viola, and beginning Cello.
Agyei has been teaching music and playing professionally since 2004. Drawing inspiration from Funk, Jazz, Blues, Metal, Classic/Modern Rock, Hip-Hop, Country, R&B/Motown, Progressive, and Grunge. He’s had the honor of playing with and opening for many great artists such as SlimKid Tre of The Pharcyde, Funkadelic, Lupe Fiasco, Tony Ozier, 311, Farnell Newton, Tom Scott, Brittni Paiva, Justin Chittams of Medicine for The People, and DAZZ. Taking a very grounded approach to teaching, Agyei specializes in working with students of all skill levels whether you’re looking for the absolute basics or more advanced technique and theory. He also specializes in Home Recording/Studio Production, Songwriting, and has engineered and produced recordings for artists such as Jessica Manalo, Moon Fog, The Heavy Hustle, Adebisi, and Laryssa Birdseye. Guitar. Bass. Ukulele. Home Recording. Production. Song Writing. Music Theory. Fretboard Theory. Fretboard Visualization.
Denice Carter is a veteran Suzuki Instructor. Teaching has been her sole employment for nearly 40 years! She started as a young Suzuki kid and soon realized her calling for teaching. Once completing her initial Suzuki training around 1985 she became exposed to fiddling and fiddle contests. She extended her love of music to fiddling and began her journey of incorporating the two styles into a Suzuki method offshoot she coined "Suziddle". Along with providing the most authentic and all encompassing elements of a robust Suzuki program she has incorporated the added mastery of fiddling. Active in both worlds and fully committed, she has honed her curriculum to help students fully realize and accomplish their potential as a musician. Matching the amazing teaching points Dr. Suzuki set forth with parallel skills introduced in fiddle, Denice has become an expert at producing well rounded and highly skillful students. Adding a good dose of passion is the perfect balance. Along with teaching, Denice has directed and attended fiddle contests around the country. She has judged fiddle contests in many states including but not limited to: Oregon, Colorado,Nebraska,New Mexico,The Texas State Championships as well as The National Championships, providing workshops along the way. She is the current director of the Washington State Fiddle Championships and is district chair of Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association District 10. Along with weekly private lessons, group classes are a required component of her program and are held twice monthly. Advanced students are invited to also join her fiddle performance group FIDDLOCITY! Denice starts students as young as three years old and requires parent involvement for students 10 and under. Adult students are also heartfully encouraged to learn!
Rafael first began playing violin in 2009. He plays with the Clark College Orchestra as well as Clark Community Strings, led by Sandra Edwards in Vancouver Washington. Rafael has taught local private lessons as well as sectionals at Evergreen High School and Cascade Middle School. He led a professional string quartet from 2019-2021 which performed pieces from Dimitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev. Although the journey of a musician is shared by many, it is ultimately experienced alone, making each and every one's experience unique. He wants to teach how to be a self-sufficient musician, how to explore, how to enjoy and appreciate music while still learning how to play well.
Haelli gravitated towards the piano at a very young age. Before learning to tie her shoes, ride a bicycle, or sculpt playdough, she was sounding out the chords of her favorite songs on her Grandma's piano. Her enthusiasm for music has only continued to grow and flourish into her college years. She was lucky enough to learn from some of the best teachers this area has to offer, both privately and through college. At the age of 10 Haelli began performing at weddings, church events, and various recitals. As an adult she has continued to learn from, and perform with exceptional musicians. Second to her love of playing music is her love of teaching it. She has spent more than a decade sharing the joy of music with both kids and adults. During her early years, Haelli relied heavily on her ear and less on sheet music. This left her feeling inadequate and unmotivated when it came to practicing her assignments. Luckily she was able to find a special teacher who was able to guide her through the challenges and help her to learn proper technique and master necessary skills. Now, as a teacher herself, overcoming those struggles has given her excellent insight in how to help others and draw the music out of each student where it can flourish. In her lessons, Haelli strives to understand and connect with students in order to teach them in a way that suits their learning style and helps them build a love for music. This is what all of her esteemed teachers did for her, and she hopes to pass it on, gratefully.