“I believe that every student has the potential to learn to play an instrument and develop music skills…creativity, curiosity, and perseverance are the essentials that will help anyone succeed in music study, so we practice them together in lessons.”
• M.M., New England Conservatory
• B.M., New England Conservatory
Born in Los Angeles, California, violinist Rhiannon Banerdt made her solo debut at age 14 with the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Johannesburg, South Africa. Moving to Boston in her teens to attend the Walnut Hill school for performing arts and the New England Conservatory, Rhiannon was finally lured to New York by a new string quartet and to the CUNY Graduate Center for her doctoral studies in performance.
Ms. Banerdt began “taking violin lessons just a few months before my sixth birthday, but I had managed to beg my parents for my own very tiny violin some time before that. Since my older siblings played instruments, I couldn’t wait to get in on the action.” Her early experience makes her “a firm believer not just in the possibility but in the benefits of an early start…I play fun musical games and start with simple step by step routines to build good listening, posture, and practice habits.”
Open to teaching a variety of students at all ages, Rhiannon “want[s] to help students understand how and why things work the way they do so that they can successfully continue learning and solving problems in their practice at home…I love playing and learning violin and it’s important to me that my students enjoy it as well, so we work together to find music and activities that are fun and exciting for them so that the motivation to work hard comes naturally!”
As a teacher, Ms. Banerdt has worked with music education organization Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI where she taught individual lessons and group classes for disadvantaged youth. She was also a member of the violin and viola faculty at the Ip Piano School in Boston from 2010-2015. Rhiannon is an artist member of Music For Food, a nationwide musician-led initiative to fight hunger in local communities.
While an accomplished orchestral musician, Ms. Banerdt’s emphasis is on chamber music, saying, “there is nothing like being inspired, challenged, and supported by colleagues in chamber music. Plus, the repertoire is amazing!” Regarding her own musical tastes, she “confess[es] to being a pretty big classical music nerd. I’ll listen to pretty much everything, from medieval music to lush Romantic masterpieces to wild contemporary microtonal music…My favorite thing is to put together a program that gives listeners variety from a range of different styles.”
Outside of her musical life, Rhiannon is “an avid ping pong player…I bought an old ping pong table and put it in my basement. Now that I live in New York it doesn’t fit in my apartment, so I have to make do with table tennis clubs.”