SW Mill St Cir
Portland, OR, 97201
United States

Heather Mastel-Lipson is a violinist based in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Heather is a member of the Portland Opera, an avid educator and a freelance musician.

Teaching Philosophy

Photo credit, Mario Diaz

Photo credit, Mario Diaz

I find that teaching always proves to be a mutually enriching experience between teacher and students. As a teacher, I have made it my goal to pass along the expertise of my former teachers and mentors as they are the people from whom I have learned the most. I strive to make teaching a constant project of finding what works best for each individual student while that student discovers his/her own learning style. I was trained from a young age through the Suzuki method and Waldorf education, and I work to incorporate their pedagogies of learning by doing and playing through imitation. I find that some students respond best to descriptions and visualizations of an idea. Others respond best to imitation and repetition. However the student may learn, I work to create an environment in which students can integrate my techniques, exercises and interpretations simply as tools to find his/her own musical voice.


While I believe that regimented, technical practice, diligence in practicing scales and etudes, and a steady, consistent approach to practice are vital, it is my goal to always keep a student's love for music at the forefront the learning process. I realize that each of my students has differing backgrounds and goals. Whether I am teaching a future concert violinist, a grade school teacher, or a doctor, I approach each student with the intent of providing a quality that will bring that student to his/her highest playing ability. I also believe that the better a student plays the instrument and the more that student is able to express himself/herself musically, the better that student will be at any job. Music, though beautiful in it's own right, serves as a transferable expression of human potential. As skilled musicians, students are better equipped for future endeavors contributing to a more whole, peaceful society. I help my students discover music as a bridge to their spirituality and a medium for personal growth. Such exploration leads to students discovering what is already right there waiting to happen. Music facilitates a better future for our world.


Music making serves many purposes and I make it my job to help students be the best musicians they can be. I facilitate team building through group learning, such as studio and scale classes, which provides a way for students to help themselves in a group setting. Learning from peers, whether it is in a studio class, orchestra, or playing chamber music builds the greatest set of life skills, while still keeping that love for music at the forefront of the experience. Ultimately, whether I am teaching a private violin lesson, coaching a chamber music group, leading an orchestra sectional or listening to excerpts, it is all about great music making. I believe that a specific approach to polished technical facility, including physical body awareness and knowledge of the greater context of the music, is crucial to violin playing. This technical facility provides the most satisfying mastery of good intonation, rhythm, tone, and the best set of skills which can express one's full musical palate.