Greg Allison

Greg A.

Portland, OR

Lesson Details

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Greg teaches



Greg delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 4+ and special needs

Teaching since:
January 2007

Music is the universal language that, when tapped into, illuminates the joys of life and shows us how to open the doors of opportunity. When we study and play music, we are cultivating our curiosity and wonder of the world and are gaining a confidence to be expressive, creative, entrepreneurial, and playful. When we feel music, we feel love.

The study of stringed instruments in particular is one of tremendous depth. The violin plays a vital role in a great number of music traditions across the globe and every time we play, we connect, we celebrate, and we contribute to that vibrating string community. I have been playing for 20 years and teaching private and group lessons for seven and I would love to show you or your child the wonders of playing music.

My passion for teaching is as strong as my desire for personal musical growth. I believe that a one-on-one teacher to student relationship is the best way for the student to grow not only in the subject being taught, but emotionally as well. It is my goal for every one of my students to learn some life lesson or become acquainted with a non-musical philosophy through the study of music. From my personal life-long study of music I have learned about the importance of listening, dedication, compassion, respect, and of teaching oneself, and if I am able to pass on just a fraction of this experiential knowledge, then the student has found success.

I have a style, structure, and discipline of teaching that has been passed onto me from my great teachers. There are core values that I maintain like ear training, good technique, playing etudes and scales, and reading music, but every student learns differently and develops their own way of learning and playing the instrument. I balance my curriculum with your own style and your approach to learning. We work on repertoire that you want to learn, and I will help you set your own achievable goals. If you want strictly classical lessons, we can do that. If you want to learn classical techniques and fundamentals, but play American fiddle repertoire, we can do that. I have experience playing in many, many styles such as jazz, rock, country, Americana, and various world fiddle traditions, and my experience at Berklee (the world's premier popular music school) has shown me how versatile our instrument can be. Although I am not certified, I use the Suzuki method with books and repertoire. I teach a lot of improvisation and although I emphasize learning by ear, I do place much importance on reading.

I teach from my comfortable and charming pet and smoke free home studio near Mt. Tabor.

A little more about me from my professional bio:

Greg A. is a multi-instrumentalist and teacher who performs in a wide variety of styles and genres. He has used his classical violin training as a springboard for learning about improvising, jazz, world music traditions. His studies on the mandolin landed him a four-year scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied Composition. He was a founding member of the ME/2 Orchestra, a nationally-recognized full orchestra based in Burlington, VT created for people with mental disabilities and those who support them. He also performed in the traditional middle eastern music ensemble Grup Anwar, and has travelled to Scotland with the Vermont theater troupe Spielpalast Cabaret. He currently lives in Portland, OR where he maintains a studio of violin, viola and mandolin students both at his home studio and with Keys to Life Music School and the Northwest Chinese Academy. He performs regularly with Three for Silver, Down Home Music, the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra, Cascade Chamber Orchestra and various local jazz, classical, and folk ensembles.

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Three For Silver
Jun 2013 - Present

This is the project where I am currently spending much of my time. A trio of bass, violin, and accordion with beautiful vocals spread out across the ranges, the band has an original sound that evokes cinematic images of the vast landscapes of the old world, and dark smokey jazz night clubs. Check out the for audio and video. Or check out the videos below!

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Strings, Voice, Piano Teacher
Jan 2013 - Present
Private Music School

I teach private lessons to kids age 4 to 10 with a music school. I was the strings teacher at the Chinese Academy for a year and a half, during which time I taught individual and group lessons to violinists, violists, and cellists. I also teach private piano and voice lessons through the school and participate in the biannual school recitals.

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Aug 2011 - Jul 2012

Principal violinist and founding member of the Burlington, VT based community orchestra for individuals with mental illness and those who support them. From the website:

"Me2/ (“me, too”) serves as a model organization where people with and without mental illnesses work together in an environment where acceptance is an expectation, patience is encouraged, and supporting each other is a priority. Our flagship ensemble, Me2/Orchestra–Burlington, is a non-auditioned orchestra that rehearses weekly and performs 3-4 times annually in traditional concert venues, inside correctional and rehabilitation facilities, and for mental health events."

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Sales, Artistic Consultant, Violin Teacher
Feb 2010 - Jun 2011
Vermont Violins

At the largest violin shop in Vermont, I worked with students, teachers, and fellow violinists to help them find the instrument for them. I did basic set up work in the shop for the violins, violas, cellos, and basses in our rental program.


Classical Carnatic (South Indian) Violin
Mar 2014 - Present
Rasika School of Indian Arts
B.M. Composition, Principal Instrument: Mandolin
Sep 2006 - Dec 2009
Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA


4-year scholarship
Jun 2006
Berklee College of Music

Photos & Videos

Dark Eyes! with Down Home Music.
swingin' with Down Home Music!
A video interview and performance from my band, Three for Silver (I'm the one in purple playing the violin).
Recording in the studio.

Playing on the street in Santa Cruz.

An artist's rendering of my performance

Playing at a wedding in Vermont.

Warming up for a gig at the Adrift Hotel

Three for Silver on opening night at our 2014 Al's Den residency.
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6 Reviews

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Ted G. Aug 17, 2016
Fiddle · In studio

My first violin lesson in 53 years! Went great. Just the right pace. Looking forward to the next lesson and advancing beyond 'mississippi hot dog'!

Leah Apr 14, 2016
Mandolin · In studio

Greg is very knowledgeable and a great teacher. He was tremendously helpful in explaining how to string my mandolin. After one lesson I felt energized and motivated to keep learning!

Erin C. Mar 7, 2016
Fiddle · In home

As a complete beginner, I was thankful to have Greg teaching me the basics of violin technique. He was organized and clear in his teaching style. I am excited for the next lesson!

Jenniffer H. Feb 4, 2015
Violin · In home

Greg is a very dedicated teacher and has really helped my son grow in his understanding and love of his instrument and music in general. He's very knowledgeable and patient and seems happy to accommodate us when changes need to happen. :)

Kent B. Sep 9, 2014
Fiddle · In studio

Greg has been my fiddle teacher for a year now. His patience and expert guidance have helped to increase my confidence and skill level. We move logically and painlessly back and forth between new music and technique. I'm now at the point that I am beginning to see how it all works and, thus, to be able to figure out some tunes just by hearing them. Pretty exciting. I look forward to our weekly sessions.

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Kent B. Mar 6, 2014

Top-Notch Fiddle Teacher

Greg is himself a top-notch musician, but, more to the point here, he's a top-notch teacher. He's easy going and positive, but he keeps you moving along and he's clear and constructive when bumps in the road occur (as they frequently do in my case). I think I have made a lot of progress in a relatively short time, especially since I'm in my 60s and haven't touched a fiddle since I was a pre-teen. I recommend Greg highly.

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