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How the WSM Philosophy became the
“WSM Difference”.

A message from Penny Wayne-Shapiro, WSM Director

When I moved to Wayland in 1997 and opened what was then Wayland Violin Studio, it was with the dream of creating an environment where students would be supported in both the obvious and the intangible aspects of learning how to play an instrument. I wanted not only to teach the instrument that I love so much, but also to equip students musically, technically and emotionally to nurture their own inner musical spark to the fullest.

I learned the hard way how important it is to have the right kind of teacher right from the start. During my first years of playing violin I unknowingly developed many less-than-helpful habits, both technical and psychological. Although I was a talented and passionate young musician, these habits affected my progress and hampered my self-expression for some time.

I was eventually able (through observation, analysis, soul-searching and many hours of practice) to overcome these issues during my conservatory years, and to build a successful career. But my journey made me intensely aware of the difference made by the "right start", and the right kind of ongoing expert guidance, in order fully to enjoy playing at any level.

As a result of that experience, my teaching and performing lives have always been integrally related. While still a conservatory student, I found that my own process of learning and discovery not only helped me, but also enabled me to help others.

Later, although my performing and touring schedule with the London Philharmonic did not allow for much free time, I continued to both take and give lessons whenever possible, eager to deepen my musical and technical understanding.

Now, with more balance between performing and teaching, I have the best of both worlds. As a teacher, I learn constantly from my students and am inspired by doing so. As a professionally active musician (concertmaster of the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2012, and since then violinist with the Aviva Piano trio), I aspire—and am held—to the highest standards of performance.

To that end I consider myself a "life-long learner", which directly impacts my teaching. My students benefit from my quest to continue improving and refining my own artistry. But I also benefit from their need for clear and helpful direction from me. I deepen my own understanding while guiding them, and so the cycle continues.

In 2007 I invited other instructors to join me, and on its 10th anniversary Wayland Violin Studio expanded to become Wayland School of Music. I knew that in order to remain faithful to our mission, I needed colleagues with a similar philosophy and background who would bring their own musical excitement and expertise, and their enthusiasm for learning, to all of our students.

This commitment to our mission is at the foundation of WSM's hiring policy, and also of our students' experience of the "WSM Difference". My hope is that this difference helps us equip our students not just to play their instruments better, but also to develop a deeper understanding of their inner strengths, a rewarding avenue for self-expression, and a life-long enjoyment of music.

Come and experience the “WSM Difference” for yourself! Contact us to arrange a free “try-out” lesson.

Violin Teacher

“Penny is an excellent musician and patient teacher who responds to the needs of her students whether it be an eight year or, as in my case, an 85 year old. I started playing the violin in grade school and more or less continued until I was in my second year of High School, at which point I decided I was too busy. It was not until approximately a year ago that decided that I would like to start playing again. I still had my old violin, had it repaired and purchased several beginning self teaching books which I went through and fairly quickly realized I needed a teacher.

It wasn't long after Penny accepted me as a student that she began challenging me with violin concertos by Vivaldi and Haydn, which I had never dreamed of attempting. She shares her wide knowledge of special techniques, that I never knew existed, which have brought the seemingly impossible within my grasp.”

– 85 year old student

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