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 inspiring support available to them right from their very first lesson.


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

My early teachers were nice, kind people - but frankly the instruction wasn't the greatest. So 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 expression for a long time.

I was eventually able to overcome these challenges, enter and graduate from the conservatory, and build a successful career. But this journey 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 inter-related.  Even while still 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, though my London Philharmonic performing and touring schedule was very intense, I continued to both take and give lessons when I could, because I wanted to continue 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.

My students benefit from what I'm learning through my own daily practice, and my continued growth as a musician. Meanwhile, I learn so much from them! Their need for clear and helpful direction at their own level challenges me to understand and explain more clearly. They inspire me to keep reaching for more in both my practicing/performing and my teaching - and so the cycle continues.

On its 10th anniversary in 2007, Wayland Violin Studio became Wayland School of Music. I invited other instructors to join me and we expanded - but the mission didn't change.

I knew I needed 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. This is at the heart of our hiring policy: 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 our foundation, and creates what we call the "Wayland School of Music Difference": nurturing students from the very first lesson with outstanding teaching by inspiring professional musicians, and helping and challenging them to discover their own inner musician.

Our vision is that this Wayland School of Music Difference should result, yes, in our students playing their instruments better, and with greater ease - but not only that. We aim also to give them confidence in their own 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.