Cynthia Tolson

Cynthia T.

Pasadena, CA
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Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Profile-location-home Student's Home
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Whether you are just a beginner, preparing for your NYSSMA or college auditions, or an adult looking to learn a new instrument, I have experience and will help you every step of the way!

For child beginners I use Alfred d'Auberge Piano Course, any other students will have a first lesson where we will determine where to start and what to work with!

About Cynthia T.

A native of Long Island, New York, Cynthia quickly demonstrated an inclination toward music, beginning piano lessons at the age of three. At an early age she began performing recitals on Long Island and in New York City as a classical pianist. She studied with Joshua Kant, Victoria Mushkatkol, and Christina Dahl. Formal training on this instrument until the age of 17 provided her with a deep understanding of harmony and informs her writing for strings today. She then gravitated toward the violin at the age of 8 and gradually grew more interested in the timbres available from bowed instruments. She attended the New York All-State Orchestra at the age of 15 and was awarded a Bright Lights Scholarship to attend Stony Brook University for her undergraduate degree.

As an undergraduate at Stony Brook, she was admitted into the graduate violin studio, studying with Jennifer Frautschi, Arnaud Sussmann, and Joanna Kaczorowska. She received additional instruction from Philip Setzer as well as chamber coachings with the Emerson String Quartet and the Calidore String Quartet. Cynthia followed this interest in chamber music by gaining a fellowship in the Graduate String Quartet at UMass Amherst, founding Katfem during her first year. Katfem now performs alongside singer -songwriters and bands, and continues to perform works from the classical chamber repertoire.

Cynthia is a passionate instructor and operated her own piano and violin studio on Long Island, teaching over 30 students. She is available to teach students of any age and level remotely as well as in-studio in the Los Angeles area.


Write a Review
13 Reviews
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Very patient! My 8 y/o daughter is learning at a nice pace.

Posted Jul 22, 2016
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My daughter came home excited to start learning, so we are off to a good start.

Posted Jul 1, 2016
Laura K.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Very good

Posted Mar 4, 2016
Michael Q.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My first lesson with Cynthia went very well. I found her to be very professional and patient. I'm looking forward to my next lesson.

Posted Jan 23, 2016
Brianna E.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Cynthia is awesome! Very patient and professional!

Posted Nov 11, 2015
Michael M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I had my first lesson last week... It went very well, and i am looking forward to my next one!

Posted Sep 28, 2015
Andrea Ross
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

After just a few lessons, my 9 year old daughter has learned so much from Cynthia. Cynthia's detail oriented and fun way of teaching allows my daughter to learn quickly and happily. Cynthia is a great match for young students.

Posted Aug 20, 2015
Toni D.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

My kids and I love Cynthia's approach to teaching. She believes it is important to get the basics down. Cynthia does this while keeping the lessons fun and interesting. She has a great attitude and personality. Both my kids think she's cool.

Posted Jul 3, 2015
Julia G.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

First lesson went very well. My daughter was excited and Cynthia kept her interested and engaged. I like her style of asking my daughter questions to ensure that Julia was absorbing the information. Thanks Cynthia. Looking forward to next week!!!!

Posted Apr 14, 2015
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Cynthia is an amazing teacher! My daughter has only had three lessons so far, but she is learning so much and is still excited to learn more. Cynthia makes her work while not expecting more than what my child is capable of. She's very patient and makes the lessons easy to understand. She is also pretty flexible with her schedule (as much as possible) and will try to work with you if something comes up. My daughter will definitely continue her lessons with Cynthia.

Posted Mar 24, 2015
Jon S.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have played a number of gigs with Cynthia, and as a colleague I can say she has an incredible amount of both professionalism and proficiency in her field. Her piano and violin skills are something that you do not find much in the music education scene anymore. She is a rare find, and I would highly recommend for anyone looking for a dedicated and talented teacher to go with Cynthia.

Posted Jan 8, 2015
Kristen C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Cynthia is very nice and patient with my 7 year old daughter. She is always prompt and professional. My daughter has already learned so much after a few weeks under Cynthia's instruction.

Posted Sep 17, 2014
Luke R.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Very easy going. compassionate, motivating. Ideal instructor.

Posted Jul 28, 2014

Photos & Videos

3 Photos & Videos


Piano Teacher
Sep 2011 - Jan 2015

Piano Studio for Kids / Private Teaching

The piano studio for kids offers private piano lessons for children ages 5 and up. As a teacher here I have learned how to work with any type of student and bring them to their highest potential! Whether it's preparing for NYSSMA or a college audition I make sure that they are ready and confident. Teaching privately has given me the opportunity to completely personalize my lessons for each student and make sure that they achieve any and all goals that they have set out to

Teachers Assistant in the Undergraduate Biochemistry Lab
Aug 2011 - Jan 2012

SUNY Stony Brook

As a junior at Stony Brook University, I taught a laboratory course in biochemistry. This involved preparing and testing procedures for each experiment, and then leading each laboratory group through these procedures on the days of the classes. As the teacher's assistant I was also required to relay all exam scores and results of each lab to the professor, as well as make sure that all equipment was accounted for and taken care of.

Musical Director
Mar 2010 - Dec 2011

Stony Brook Pipettes Acapella

The Stony Brook Pipettes is the only all female acapella group at Stony Brook University. I was elected as the Musical Director of the group in my second semester as a member. As musical director, I was required to hold board meetings to discuss rehearsals, events, and gigs, as well as put together arrangements and coordinate auditions and placement. In my year and a half as musical director, the Pipettes were placed in multiple invitationals and competitions, and performed at over a hundred on campus events. Being a part of this club was like being part of a family, and being able to have such a large role in it was one of the most enjoyable things I was a part of while in college.

Musical Director/Accompanist
Aug 2007 - Mar 2009

YMCA Boulton Center

Worked as the Musical Director and piano accompanist for a children's program at the community arts center. Rehearsed weekly with the children to prepare all of the numbers, and choreographed the performance as well as arranged piano accompaniment for all of the pieces. This was the first job I had where I was working with children, and it's what led me to want to start teaching music as well as other subjects.


MM Violin Performance
Aug 2017 - May 2019

UMass Amherst

B.A. , Music Performance
Oct 2013 - May 2017

SUNY Stony Brook

Double Major in Biochemistry and Psychology, Minor in Music
Aug 2009 - Dec 2011

SUNY Stony Brook



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


Certificate in Music Theory
May 2019

UMass Amherst


Esther Kaminoff Scholarship in Music
May 2016

Stony Brook University Music Department

Dean's List
Dec 2009

SUNY Stony Brook

Member of Women in Science and Engineering
Aug 2009

SUNY Stony Brook

All State Violinist
Dec 2008


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