My son joined Daniela's studio when he was 5 1/2 years old. Over the next 3 years, his ability to play the violin and his love of music blossomed under her guidance. We could not have asked for a more patient and loving teacher.
I have seen Daniela work with kids of all ages, and what I've loved about her teaching style is that it is very individualized and organic. She takes the time to get to know each child well and strives to figure out what motivates them, modifying her lesson plans and her approach accordingly. She makes sure that her lessons are always challenging but never overwhelming, which is so important, especially during the first couple of years that a child is learning to play an instrument.
As any parent that has worked with Daniela knows, her commitment to her kids extends well beyond the walls of her studio. She takes the time to follow up with her kids and parents outside of lessons and always makes herself available to discuss any concerns or answer questions. As a parent, I'll always appreciate all the guidance that she provided me over the years and everything that I learned from her about music and the Suzuki philosophy. What we will always remember and appreciate most though is the openness and enthusiasm with which she supported and encouraged our son to pursue his musical interests and goals.
Thank you Daniela!
Honestly, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Daniela. I began taking violin lessons from her in the third grade. Although I let everyone know who cared to listen, and even those who didn’t (read: my parents and Daniela), that I hated the violin and the practicing that came with it, she never deemed me a lost cause. She challenged me as a student and as a musician all the way up through high school. Even after I had graduated to a new teacher my senior year, she still gave me lessons and feedback to help guide me through the college audition process. Without her excellent skills as a teacher who doesn’t take nonsense from her students and never stops believing in them (even when they don’t practice), I never would have gotten almost $20,000 in scholarship money for musical merit alone to go to a private university halfway across the country.
From Daniela, I not only learned how to play the violin, but I also learned skills of self-discipline, time management, and collaboration that translate to all aspects of my life. I am still using the skills she taught me in my academic and professional careers, and because of her I always remind my violin students not to crack the egg when they shift.
- Mariela Lemus
Hamline University St. Paul, Minessota
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, December 2015
When I look back on my violin lessons with Daniela, I have nothing but positive memories. I still remember going through the Suzuki method books and getting stickers for the songs that I had successfully played and memorized. I was lucky to be able to begin taking violin lessons at a young age. Although I was not the most diligent student (and often had to be told to practice more haha), I really did enjoy playing the violin! It increased my appreciation for music and gave me another way to express myself. I recently picked up the violin again after having not played it for a of couple years and was surprised at how much I still remembered! Hopefully, this will be a skill that stays with me for many years to come.
I am currently in graduate school at Tufts University School of Medicine studying to become a Physician Assistant. I will be graduating in 2018. I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Duke University in 2015.
I studied with Daniela starting in the second grade until my junior year of high school. Daniela inspired me at a very young age to do well in my lessons and work hard, something that showed early on in my achievement of never receiving a “red star” in my Suzuki studies, as well as wanting her to teach me vibrato and advanced pieces much earlier than necessary. She always held me to a high standard, the bar ever rising as I grew older and matured as a musician, and she did not tolerate students coming unprepared for lessons, forgetting music and, especially, giving attitude in lessons. Though I was a stubborn, headstrong student, Daniela always kept me grounded, showing me how I could always be a better musician and showing me that you are never “done” with a piece of music—something that is more relevant to me now more than ever now that I have my own violin studio and teach the same Suzuki pieces I would have never dreamed of revisiting. Daniela prepared me for (RIMEA) All-State Music Festival auditions, music camp, recitals, moving on to study with new teachers and, ultimately, she prepared me to be successful as a music student in college. This spring I will be graduating from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in music performance. Without the foundation of ear training, theory, and discipline I received from Daniela, I wouldn’t be the violinist or violin teacher that I am today. I even try to incorporate as many of her teaching methods into my own lessons now, even the small things like reminding my students to clip their nails.
Daniela Gongora is an exemplary educator specializing in violin and viola instruction and string ensemble coaching. Her vast knowledge of both traditional and Suzuki pedagogies allow her to deliver comprehensive music instruction for all ages. Additionally, she remains active in her own professional performance arenas, thereby rendering her an effective role model for students. And continued professional development keeps her on the cutting edge of best practices for string pedagogy. Daniela is a gifted educator who offers academic rigor coupled with a quick smile, infectious laugh, and genuine nurturance. Her students are truly motivated to learn.
I speak from experience. Through Daniela’s expertise in the Suzuki method, my daughters developed aural acuity and proper playing technique from the very beginning of their private study. Gradually, Daniela introduced musical notation and helped each develop strong sight reading skills as they progressed through the years. She was not only their first string teacher, but also a mentor and advocate for them. Due to her expert instruction and guidance, my daughters were well prepared over the years to audition for and gain entry into various performance ensembles as well as achieve competitive music scholarships. We are forever grateful.
-Dr. Kimberly Cotter