James Westerfield

James W.

Nashville, TN

About James W.

James teaches: Ages 5 and up
Teaching since: March 2001
Last sign in: 3 days ago


A versatile musician and teacher, Nashville-born musician James is dedicated to music through education, performance and personal growth. James has a diverse background in the musical arts. He has served as violinist and principal violist in many orchestras and ensembles. As a vocalist, James has sung in opera, oratorio, master-classes and recitals as a countertenor soloist. He has served as director of the Clarksville Youth Orchestra at Austin Peay State University and currently serves as the Director of Music Ministries and choirs for a local Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. He maintains a private studio in Nashville, TN and is on the faculty of the Allegro School of Music.

James has studied with many experts in vocal science and pedagogy and has had the wonderful opportunity to study with Linda Ferrara, D. Lance Respess, Richard Miller, world-class early music expert Nancy Zylstra and twentieth-century vocal music expert Sharon Mabry. He has had masterclasses with the Metropolitan Opera's Bodo Igesz, Metropolitan Opera Singers Daniel Taylor, Jennifer Lane (with whom he still studies), French-diction coach Elvia Pucinelli, vocal pedagogue Richard Miller, and Thomas King, director of the AIMS Gratz program. As a violinist and violist, James has studied with music-education specialist Sara Johnson, Francis Elliot, Nashville Recording-Artist Randall Olson, and concert violinist Stefan Petrescu.

As an educator, he has served on the faculties of the Cumberland Arts Institute, W.O. Smith School of Music, Murfreesboro City School System, School of the Arts at Austin Peay State University, Allegro School of Music and the East Nashville School of Music. He has taught hundreds of students in various formats ranging from one-on-one studio settings to entire youth symphony orchestras and choirs. He has been active as an adjudicator, participant, and member of various competitions and education-related conventions. He also maintains membership with various educational organizations such as the American String Teacher's Association, Music Educator'€™s National Conference, and Early Music America.

In addition to working with and coaching Grammy award-winning and nominated artists, Mr. W's students have auditioned, been selected and have performed in the Tennessee Mid-State and All-State Choir (principal positions) and Orchestra Festivals (violin and cello, in addition to being members of the Curb Youth Orchestra and Philharmonia at the Blair School of Music.

His students have also performed in several professional and amateur performances across the Southeast. They have also gone on to major in music earning tens of thousands of dollars in scholarships from prestigious conservatories and colleges across the country. Many of his students have become professional musicians across many genres, educators themselves, or satisfied amateur hobbyists.

*** Lesson Details ***
As a teacher many have described my style as nurturing-but-firm. When I see a student's potential, I make sure that student can attain it. I expect a willingness to learn, a desire to succeed, and a want for excellence. In return, I offer the tools to get the student there!

I know that not every student benefits best from only one method. As such, I employ a variety of teaching tools and methods to best suit each student. Strings students can expect to see a little bit of traditional training, a little bit of Suzuki and little bit of contemporary training. Voice students can see some Sieber vocalizes, some Vaccai, classical, jazz, and musical theater training built on an old-world teaching technique. It's all about giving the student the tools to do whatever he/she wants with his/her music of choice!

On your first lesson, I'll go over the materials needed, what you need to work on, and the very basics so you can immediately get to enjoying your new craft. In a few months, you'll be confident making new music or making better music. Within a year, you should be well prepared for one of my studio recitals!

*** Studio Equipment ***
I have a commercial music teaching studio used solely for the purposes of teaching. In the studio there is a piano, my music library, photo copier, computer, audio equipment, stereo, music stands, standing mirror, and various teaching tools. There is a waiting area for parents, siblings and other visitors.

*** Specialties ***
Voice: All Genres -- child-adult, all levels (beginning through advanced).
Violin: All Styles -- all levels (beginning through advanced).
Viola: All Styles -- all levels (beginning through advanced).
Cello: All Styles -- beginning through intermediate.

Photos and Videos


Music Minister
Oct 2013 - Present
Mt. Sharon Presbyterian Church

Owner and Founder
Mar 2008 - Present
Studio J Music Studios

Runs and operates a music learning studio specializing in high-quality music education.


Degrees in Vocal Performance, Vocal Pedagogy and Viola Performance
Aug 2000 - May 2008

Languages Spoken

Professional Proficiency

7 Reviews on James W.

Write a Review
Larry Mar 26, 2017
· Cello · In studio
James has been a wonderful teacher. He has greatly helped me advance in my beginning cello skills by carefully observing, demonstrating as needed, then showing me the things I can do to improve. He does this in such a manner that instead of feeling discouraged, I am even more motivated to improve. I am learning cello as an adult simply for the fun of trying something new. My wife, who played flute on scholarship through college and some professionally has noticed, and commented, on the improvement. In summary, I highly recommend James for both adults and for kids. He just has a great knack for teaching.
Dwight T. May 1, 2016
· Opera Voice · In home
The best instructor I ever had he is very very good at what he does
Madison Jan 10, 2016
· Violin · In studio
James was great. He realized very quickly my daughter was nervous and took the time to help her calm down before continuing with the lesson.
Alex Dec 15, 2015
· Violin · In studio
Great instructor. James' teaching technique is very motivational and fun!
Kathryn Sep 24, 2015
· Piano · In studio
James was very patient with my daughter and found ways to motivate her to practice. He always commented on how she did and encouraged her when she was discouraged. He made the lessons fun, and I didn't have trouble getting her to go to the lessons, even when she hadn't practiced much.
Malia K. Sep 23, 2015
· Singing · In studio
James is a great instructor. He not only knows how to get the most out of my voice but also, as a vocologist, he educates me about the voice and how the voice works, ensuring that I keep my voice healthy.

He knows I am just taking lessons for fun and lets me sing whatever songs I want. He's encouraging and supportive and I feel completely comfortable while at practice. Also, I leave feeling more relaxed and open!
Tim D. Sep 23, 2015
· Fiddle · In studio
James is a terrific instructor. He tailors his teaching method and style to the needs of the student. He is patient and can target trouble spots to help the student to excel.
James Westerfield
James W.

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