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Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
You decide what we learn--we can start with learning to read and play from a book for steady, foreseeable progress and goals, or simply start with the chords of your favorite songs from the radio--we can even learn tab--or all three! In our first lesson, we will discuss what your personal goals are for the mandolin and formulate a plan for your individual success, based on the type of music YOU want to learn.

Students describe me as patient, fun, and encouraging, and as your mandolin teacher, you can expect me to work with you from where you are, and with subjects and curriculum that match what you are interested in learning. *Please check my availability before signing up, as my time slots are quickly filling up!* I look forward to meeting you! Call Take Lessons today to sign up!
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Rachel teaches



Rachel passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Rachel delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 2+ and special needs

Teaching since:
September 2002

I have played and studied music for 30 years, performing internationally and appearing with groups on local and national radio and television, and have had the good fortune to share the stage and even record with some very talented individuals!

As for teaching, I've taught hundreds of students over almost 20 years, and over that time, I can say I've learned that what can make or break a student's success is whether or not they enjoy their teacher and the work they are doing.

I love helping my students learn to read and play, discover their own love of music, and conquer their fears of performing. I've been described by students as encouraging and fun, and my teaching style is warm, positive, and relaxed. I have worked with many students, including some with learning disabilities, physical limitations, PTSD, and just plain ol' stage fright! I work with you to play the music you enjoy and set your own goals, and I look forward to helping you reach them... It's what I love about what I do.

I began my violin studies at age 9, with my public school string program. I continued through high school and into college, playing and singing with auditioned district ensembles, school musicals, and chamber choirs, coming in as runner up in my high school's concerto competition, landing a full-tuition scholarship, and performing twice in Carnegie Hall. I studied opera, vocal pedagogy, and passed my piano proficiency exam from the advanced class.

In 2003, I earned my violin performance degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and soon after, joined the Kansas City-based Celtic folk group, Tullamore. I have enjoyed 13 seasons with this lauded regional group, playing countless esteemed Celtic festivals across the country and embarking on five international tours of Ireland and Scotland, as well as a Caribbean cruise hosted for our fans. Our sixth international tour is scheduled for 2019 in Scotland.

In 2014, I relocated to Hampton, Virginia, where I auditioned for the Hampton Roads Philharmonic, and currently play as a first violinist.

From 2015-2018, I had the joy of fiddling and singing with Brackish Water Jamboree, an award-winning Americana band, featured on NPR's Blue Plate Special and Out of the Box series with Paul Shugrue, and host of the NorFOLK Festival.

Throughout this time, I have enjoyed teaching a full and enriching music studio of students: hosting recitals, open mics, and ensemble rehearsals, and watching students achieve goals they didn't know were even possible. I continue to teach online via Skype, Zoom, and TakeLessons Classroom, and I look forward to working with you to accomplish your own musical aspirations!

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First Violinist
Aug 2015 - Present
Hampton Roads Philharmonic

I currently play in the first violin section of this great local orchestra in Hampton Roads. Established in 2012, this up and coming premiere orchestra has already played with a number of talented soloists, bringing quality symphony arrangements to the Hampton Roads area by focusing on full-length programming, challenging repertoire, and community enrichment. As the orchestra in residence at Ft. Monroe, the Hampton Roads Philharmonic is proud to continue the long-standing musical tradition of Ft. Monroe by bringing concerts to the historic Post Theater on site.

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Freelance Recording Studio Musician
Jul 2006 - Present
Chapman Recording Studios, Element Recording, Dragonship Studios, etc.

I have recorded on many occasions with many artists in Kansas City and Hampton Roads at Chapman Studios, Element Recording Studios, and others, both as a vocalist and violinist. Such works include styles from R&B to country, and artists including Grant Wish, Sara Morgan, Willis White, Mikal Shapiro, Vi Tran, Maria the Mexican, Joel Kraft, and many more.

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Aug 2002 - Present
Private Studio

I have been teaching my own students since college, and have had hundreds of students throughout my career. I have also taught in established Kansas City music studios, including Meyer Music, Heartland Music, and Blues to Bach, as well as The Music Post here in Hampton Roads. I have worked with students with all learning abilities, including advanced students as well as students with learning challenges and special needs, including physical impairments, autism, ADHD, PTSD, dyslexia, selective mutism, and Aspergers.

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Fiddler/Backup Vocalist
Dec 2015 - Mar 2018
Brackish Water Jamboree Band

Brackish Water Jamboree is Hampton Roads' most recent award-winning Americana band, featuring banjo, fiddle, dobro, upright bass, and washboard, with some harmonica thrown in for good measure. Multi-part vocal harmonies round out the foot-stompin' sound of a good, old-fashioned jamboree. We've played venues all over Virginia and from Kansas City and Knoxville to the D.C. area, including being featured on NPR's Blue Plate Special and Out of the Box series. We've also had the pleasure of playing many festivals in the area, including hosting the NorFOLK Festival in Hampton Roads.

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Lead vocalist/Fiddler
Mar 2005 - Jan 2018

Five international tours of Ireland and Scotland, four recorded albums, and over a decade's worth of Irish pubs and Celtic festivals from West Virginia to Texas to Sacramento make up the experience I have had with this hard-working American/Celtic folk group from the Midwest. I sang lead, as well as three-part backup, and gleaned invaluable experience both with written arrangements and improvised tunes and fiddling. I also have had the good fortune to get to share the stage and session circle with many other exceptional musicians from all over the world, including We Banjo 3, Mickey MacConnell, Brian McNeil, the Tannahill Weavers, the Elders, John Taylor, Ed Miller, Jed Marum, and many, many more.

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First Soprano
Aug 2000 - May 2002
UNL Chamber Choir

I sang high first soprano with this high-level auditioned chamber choir my sophomore and junior years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In winter of 2001, we performed a concert tour of New York City, culminating in a performance at Carnegie Hall.


Bachelor's in Music--Violin Performance
Aug 1999 - Dec 2003
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Limited Proficiency


Substitute Teaching Certification
Jul 2014
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Substitute Teaching Certification/License
Jul 2014
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education


Best Americana Band 2018
Feb 2018
VEER Magazine
Best Americana Band 2017
Feb 2017
VEER Magazine


Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.
Nov 2014

The Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc. is the not-for-profit organization officially licensed to support, guide, and promote Suzuki education in North, Central, and South America. The SAA was founded in 1972 and currently has about 8,000 members.

American String Teachers Association
Sep 2000

The American String Teachers Association, founded more than 60 years ago, is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping them to develop and refine their careers. ASTA's members range from budding student teachers to artist-status performers. The organization provides a vast array of services, including instrument insurance, an award-winning scholarly journal, discounts on publications and resources, annual professional development opportunities, and access to collegial network of colleagues throughout the string profession.

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Photos & Videos

Tullamore, the internationally-touring band I have played with since 2004, performing on our 2011 tour of Ireland.

With the old timey/bluegrass band I play with, Brackish Water Jamboree!
A short documentary on Brackish Water Jamboree, the band with which I play violin and sing backup vocals.
One of my second-year students at our January recital, 2014.
First Chair Fiddlers' Kansas City winter recital, January 2014.

High fives are a staple in my studio.

Playing on stage with Tullamore at the Kansas City Irish Festival, 2013.

Playing some beginner jazz guitar and singing the standard, The Girl From Ipanema.
Rachel playing with Brackish Water Jamboree at the first annual NorFOLK Festival
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39 Reviews

Write a Review
Michael M. Oct 18, 2018
Piano · In studio

Rachel was very helpful during my time with her. She was patient and engaged with my learning.

Autumn S. Sep 18, 2018
Violin · Online

Rebecca M. Sep 17, 2018
Classical Guitar · Online

Caroline Aug 1, 2018
Fiddle · Online

Love Rachel - I'm an adult learner with no musical background. I can tell a difference after each lesson. We always have a good time - she's very patient and encouraging!

Hadassah S. Jul 5, 2018
Mandolin · Online

Rachel has been very sweet and patient with me in working on the mandolin. She listened and was willing to work with me in my personal goals, and is exactly what I needed as far as inspiration and motivation! Thank you!

Mike E. Jun 7, 2018
Violin · Online

My son took lessons with Rachel mostly online and sometimes in person. She was excellent at challenging him and letting him persue his interest in music, not just a book of lessons that sound "babyish". He learned some music theory, proper technique, form, and the fundamentals for lifelong playing. Few instructors can inspire a kid to want to sit in front of a webcam but Rachel can. She is an excellent instructor for all age levels.

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shanti K. May 23, 2018
Violin · Online

This lesson was amazing!!!!
Lessons with Rachel is really fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

Rebecca M. Mar 7, 2018
Classical Guitar · Online

Rebecca M. Mar 2, 2018
Classical Guitar · Online

Rachel was very helpful and knowledgeable. She made me feel very comfortable and I learned a lot my first lesson! I can't wait for the next one!

Russ Jan 12, 2018
Ear Training · Online

Rachel is an excellent teacher!

Kat Dec 7, 2017
Piano · Online

Autumn S. Dec 5, 2017
Violin · Online

Earl D. Dec 2, 2017
Violin · In studio

Rachael is patient, thorough in explaining what and how to accomplish the notes of the exercise or song you are working on. She is a great listener. Really enjoyed working with her and look forward to each new lesson.

Earl Nov 13, 2017
Fiddle ·

Rachel was awesome. She listened to what I was saying and he knew exactly what to help me with the first time I began to play for her. She is very patient and got me going in the right direction. Can’t wait for my next lesson.

Courtney Oct 19, 2017
Mandolin · Online

Rachael is great at student-directed teaching. We followed the curriculum but Rachael was also able to branch out and go "off-script" and still teach very effectively too.

Courtney Sep 7, 2017
Mandolin · Online

Rachael gives some of the best technical and most practical instruction I've ever received. She's patient and consistently focused and fun during my lessons! I am making better progress with Rachael than I have with previous instructors in Mandolin too.

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Caroline Mar 29, 2017
Acoustic Guitar · In studio

Rachel's level of patience with our son is commendable! His skill level has developed noticeably especially these past 6 months and the skill of reading music and playing guitar are both maturing and making it all the more fun to watch his confidence grow.

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Jamie B. Nov 7, 2016
Viola · Online

Rachel is very patient and kind. She explains methods clearly and is good at setting goals. The only reason I am leaving is for in person lessons. If she lived near me I would stay with her! I am an adult who has started back to viola after years of not playing.

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Lena Oct 26, 2016
Violin · Online

Rachel is an amazing violin teacher!

Jennifer B. Jun 19, 2016
Violin · Online

Rachel is a excellent teacher. I love have her as my instructor.
She is very patience with me and when I have a question or don't understand something, she will take her time to explain it and to be sure that I finally understand.

Charlotte Jun 14, 2016
Classical Guitar · In studio

My daughter has just completed a full semester of classical guitar lessons with Rachel. During these lessons, Rachel has demonstrated an amazing ability to teach classical guitar. She keeps the classes packed with informative technique and musical insight. Rachel's winsome approach to the technicalities of the instrument and her sincerity in communication guarantees a fantastic learning experience. As a result my daughter has made great progress since beginning and is excited to continue learning and improving.

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Henry M. May 2, 2016
Piano · In studio

Rachel has a great manner with young children. She is very positive and is creative about handling children's mistakes. She has a good grasp of Suzuki method and implements it well. She is patient and fun.

Dennis Apr 30, 2016
Guitar · Online

Rachel is a very patient and knowledgeable instructor. She knows lots of tips to help the beginner accomplish things and acquire skills more easily. She has a wonderful personality and obviously loves what she's doing, and that comes across in her lessons. I feel very fortunate that I have her as a guitar teacher. Thanks Rachel!

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Kaya Apr 29, 2016
Violin · In home

Rachel is a great teacher. She makes both adults & kids feel very relaxed and safe to learn. She creates unique lessons for each student based on their interests, learning style and challenges. My son got rewards for practicing, got to learn songs that he was excited about (Star Wars theme!) and had performing opportunities that challenged and excited him. I highly recommend her.

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Steve Apr 29, 2016
Singing · In studio

I take both guitar and singing lesson with Rachel in her studio. She is taking me a musical journey I did not know I could take; I could not imagine taking this journey with anyone else. Rachel is patient, articulate, passionate, and kind. She is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed. Rachel’s love of teaching and music shines through. Her passion motivates me to do better. She performs locally in many genres; meaning she keeps her musical skills honed. I have seen her perform several times and she makes me proud to call her my teacher. If you are thinking about taking any of the lessons that Rachel offers, go ahead and give her a try, you won’t regret it.

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Rick Apr 29, 2016
Violin · In studio

Rachel enjoys sharing her passion for music with others. She takes the time to get to know her students in order to understand how to help them be successful. She is knowledgeable, caring, and pleasant. Highly recommend.

Pedro E. Apr 28, 2016
Violin · In studio

We have nothing but great things to say about Rachel. My daughter (7) absolutely loves going to her lessons every week and it's really fun to see her learn so much each class. Rachel is amazing with both her own musical skills as well as how she interacts with the kiddos and all of her students. We would definitely recommend Rachel to anyone who was thinking about taking lessons!!

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Althea D. Oct 2, 2015
Violin · In home

Rachel is very personable, understanding, and I enjoyed my lesson. I am looking forward to the remaining lessons.

Joan M. Aug 11, 2015
Mandolin · Online

Patient but direct about areas of focus for the next lesson.

Sofi V. Aug 4, 2015
Guitar · In home

Rachel is a very good teacher she males sure you feel relaxed and comfortable during lessons. She always answers any questions I have in a clear and easy to understand way. I would definitely recommend her to others.

Susie May 31, 2015
Acoustic Guitar · In home

Good instructor I enjoyed my first lesson looking forward to the next lesson.

Jeff B. Mar 30, 2015
Mandolin · Online

I had a wonderful experience taking online mandolin lessons from Rachel. She was fun, easy to work with, and incredibly patient. I plan on learning the violin in the near future and will definitely use her again!

Shawna L. Mar 10, 2015
Music Theory · Online

I have been taking theory lessons from Rachel for several months now to help learn the guitar. Learning theory can be very complex and quite a daunting task for a new music student. What I really appreciate is Rachel's patience and ability to try different approaches with me if a certain method doesn't quite resonate. She communicates and asks questions about the material she's going over to ensure that I'm comprehending what she's teaching. Another aspect that I'm very appreciative of is that Rachel gives me small, bite sized "chunks" of information that is easier to digest so that I'm not overwhelmed with learning too much at once. I intend to continue my musical journey with Rachel and also take on vocal lessons with Rachel as time permits. Her personality is very warm and personable and her commitment to helping others pursue their music goals really shines through. I consider Rachel to be a very well rounded musician and a master at her craft. I admire her musicianship and hope to attain her level of confidence and abilities as I pursue my own musical journey!!!

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Sams E. Mar 9, 2015
Viola · Online

I have always wanted to learn to play the viola but time has always been a fickle mistress with me so the viola I bought in late 2014 barely got played because of nursing school. I had an online violin lesson with Taylor Davis to support her new album and it gave me the idea to start taking lessons through skype. I spent my time looking through all the instructors on takelessons and chose Rachel because she plays the five string violin, which helps her understand both worlds and what can cross to violas and what can't. I took the plunge and signed up for lessons with her and it was one of the best decisions I've made.

Rachel is very knowledgeable and willing to work around a schedule, she's very quick to praise you when you get something right and also quick to correct to prevent bad habits from forming. Due to my inability to take lessons in real life I chose to take lessons from her but now that I am taking lessons from her I don't think I'd change to an in person instructor if I had the option.

Thank you Rachel for taking on someone who loves classical music and no idea how to play and starting me on the journey of one day playing the Walton viola concerto and the Vieuxtemps viola sonata.

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K N. Mar 2, 2015
Acoustic Guitar · In studio

When I was fifteen, I was pretty much the poster child for awkward teen girl. I saw one of Rachel's flyers by pure chance, and with my mother's urging, I got in contact with Rachel. My first song choice was a pretty lofty aim of one of Evanescence's songs and I definitely didn't have the skill or knowledge of music theory to play it straight away, but that never mattered to Rachel.

What mattered to Rachel was that I follow my dream of learning to play guitar, and that I have fun while doing it. But lessons with Rachel weren't just about learning to play guitar. They were about life and learning to believe in yourself and I can not recommend her enough.

You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't do lessons with Rachel. She has some serious skills, and even if she weren't one of the most talented people I know (seriously - google her band, Tullamore!), I'd have to say that everyone needs someone like Rachel in their life.

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Richard H. Feb 13, 2015
Singing · In studio

Excellent teaching ability, she teaches in a well paced style based on student's level of effort, and isn't afraid to push the student along when they are ready for more challenges. Highly recommended.

Annette G. Feb 13, 2015
Mandolin · Online

Rachel's enthusiasm for music is contagious and helps keep my ten-year old interested and focused.

The combination of experience, humor and seriousness that Rachel imbues in each lesson ensures that practice expectations are met and that progress is made.

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James D. Jan 12, 2015
Violin · Online

I always wanted to learn to play an instrument and started taking lessons both in person and over Skype with Rachel after finding her website. I could not be happier with the job she has done teaching someone like me with no previous musical knowledge. Lessons are always entertaining, Rachel is very encouraging and supportive but pushes you to constantly improve. She has also been very professional and flexible with lessons and availability. Could not be more pleased.

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William G. Nov 5, 2014
Piano · In studio

I have always wanted to learn to play the piano. I am 68 now so it’s about time. I saw Rachel’s ad and decided to give it a try. She is very knowledgeable and the lessons are actually fun and the time goes by quickly. I am glad that I called her. I like taking lessons from someone who performs.

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