Why We Teach:

How my own experience as a student sparked my vision of the “Wayland School of Music Difference”

A message from Penny Wayne-Shapiro, Founder and Director

When I moved to Wayland in 1997 and opened what was then Wayland Violin Studio, I dreamed of creating an environment where students would receive the best possible teaching from the very start, so they could develop true physical ease and excellence in playing.

But that wasn’t all. I wanted also to equip them, musically and emotionally, to nurture their own inner musical spark to the fullest. And I wanted them to have this kind of support available to them right from their very first lesson.


Because I learned the hard way just how important this is!

During my first years of playing violin, I unknowingly developed many unhelpful habits, both technically and psychologically. Although I was a passionate and talented young musician, these stumbling-blocks in my early learning impacted both my technical progress and my musical self-expression for some time.

I was eventually able to overcome these challenges, to enter and graduate from the conservatory, and to build a successful career. But this all made me intensely aware of the importance of the "right start", the right kind of expert guidance and encouragement from the very beginning, in order to build a firm foundation and fully enjoy playing at any level.

Because of these early experiences, my teaching and performing lives have always been intertwined.  Even as a conservatory student I found that my own process of learning and discovery not only helped me - it also helped me to help others.

Later, although my performing and touring schedule with the London Philharmonic was very intense, I continued to both take and give lessons when possible, wanting always to keep growing professionally.

When I came to Boston on sabbatical, then married and moved to Wayland in preparation for raising a family, I was finally able to create a better balance between teaching and performing.

As a teacher, I learn constantly from helping my students. They benefit from what I'm learning through my own daily practice, and my continued growth as a musician. Meanwhile, I benefit from their need for clear and helpful direction at their own level. In this way they inspire me to keep reaching for more in both my practicing/performing and my teaching - and so the cycle continues.

After 10 years of teaching in Wayland, my vision grew. In 2007 I invited instructors of other instruments to join me, and on its 10th anniversary Wayland Violin Studio became Wayland School of Music.

We expanded - but the mission didn't change. I searched for colleagues with a similar level of expertise and passion, who would bring their own enthusiasm for teaching and learning, and a high level of musical skill, to our students. I believe that all our children deserve to be taught by musicians who have already achieved success, and are still teaching because they truly want - and love! - to do so.

This commitment to our mission is at the foundation of our hiring policy, and it leads to what we call the "Wayland School of Music Difference": nurturing students from the start with outstanding teaching from inspiring professional musicians; and encouraging and challenging them to discover their own musical voice.

Our vision is that this “Wayland School of Music Difference” should not just result in our students playing their instruments better, and with greater ease. It should also give them confidence in their musical voice, an avenue for self-expression, a deeper understanding of their inner strengths, and - no matter how long they carry on playing their instruments - a life-long enjoyment and appreciation of music.

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