An avid freelance and chamber musician, Laura has performed throughout the United States and internationally. As a chamber musician, Dr. Eakman has collaborated with the assistant concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic, Michelle Kim, as well as renowned soloist, Elizabeth Pitcairn. She has worked with the Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company, performs with new music ensembles in Colorado, and is a founding member of the Avant Duo, Kylian Quartet, and Camus Quartet which toured the Netherlands in 2009. She has served as assistant principal violist with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the Lasalle Bank Messiah held at Chicago’s Civic Opera House.
Laura currently teaches group violin classes at Swansea Elementary School as a teaching artist with El Sistema Colorado which serves primarily disadvantaged students in the Denver Area. Dr. Eakman also serves as head of the music department at Colorado Early Colleges, Parker where she instructs college-level Music Appreciation courses and leads the String Ensemble. She has been the primary violin teacher at Lake County Music and Bloomingdale School of Music, and held an adjunct faculty position teaching private violin and viola lessons and coaching chamber music at Hoffman Estates High School and Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Laura received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder where she served as Erika Eckert’s teaching assistant and studied chamber music with members of the Takacs Quartet. Her doctoral thesis, Teaching the Violin with Purpose: strategies designed to foster musical, cognitive, and social development in low-income students, has been a resource for El Sistema sites, and has been adapted to suit the Suzuki philosophy in a forthcoming article in the American Suzuki Journal.
Laura received both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Northern Illinois University in music performance and pedagogy where she studied with Richard Young and Anthony Devroye. Additional studies include private instruction with Roger Chase, Mathias Tacke, and chamber coachings Robert Chen, the Vermeer Quartet, and the Jerusalem Quartet. Dr. Eakman's pedagogy training has included Suzuki registration with Ann Montzka-Smelser as well as classes and workshops with Mimi Zweig of Indiana University and Rebecca Henri of Peabody Conservatory.
“Beautiful Heart; Beautiful Tone” - Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
I whole hearted-ly believe in Dr. Suzuki's core ideal that important character traits may be acquired through learning the violin. The dedication, commitment, persistence, and creativity it takes to play an instrument well, continues to enhance every aspect of a persons' life, long after lessons have ended. Just as necessary: humility, patience, understanding and tolerance can be learned through involvement within a like-minded community, such as group lessons and recitals.
Process Driven Learning
Because we are developing much more than just violin technique, importance must be placed on the process of learning instead of a finish line. Essentially, I want my students to understand, how to learn through tackling the everyday obstacles of learning to play the violin at a high level. By mastering practice techniques such as repetition, problem solving, and experimentation, students are able to gain satisfaction and confidence by overcoming difficult challenges and expressing themselves through music. At the same time enormous effort is placed on allowing the student to keep an open mind by creating a positive and non-judgmental environment.
My goal as a violin and viola teacher is to help my students play their instrument to their highest ability. We establish ideal mental and physical habits from the very first lesson: Posture, remaining tension-free. tone production and left hand organization are stressed. Studies include Suzuki repertoire, exercises, etudes and additional pieces catered to each individual students' needs.
Traditional Private Lessons
One on one, private lessons will take place once a week for 30, 45, or 60 minutes depending on level in my home studio. Posture, technique, and musical selections will be emphasized and tailored to the need of each individual student using a variety of repertoire, etudes, exercises, and scales. Parents are welcome and encouraged to observe. See my teaching philosophy for more information.
Suzuki Private Lessons
Suzuki Lessons are encouraged for students who choose to begin the violin or viola between the ages 4 and 8. Suzuki lessons require that a parent be present for all lessons and practice with their child at home. Ear training, and technique through Suzuki repertoire and review pieces are emphasized. For more information on the Suzuki method visit: Suzukiassociation.org
Coming soon...Group lessons
Group Lessons are an important supplement to private lessons. Meeting and playing music with other students is a fun way to learn as well as great for motivating students to experiment, practice, and advance quickly. Concepts such as music theory and improvisation, sight-reading, and solo performing are presented. Group ensembles will perform at the annual recital with more performance opportunities available.
Short-term and Skype Lessons
I offer short-term and/or Skype lessons for those hoping to improve their technique and musicianship over holiday or summer breaks - or - for those with a performance or audition coming up and hoping to get additional feedback. Recommended for those students who already study regularly with another teacher or at school.
Lessons for Adults
Learning to play an instrument as an adult has proven cognitive and social benefits. Goals for each adult student vary and may include but are not limited to, participating in a community orchestra, rehearsing with a chamber ensemble, private-practice benefits, performing at low-key events such as open-mic nights, practicing with family members. Pacing and repertoire are tailored to the specific goals of each student.
In order to develop any skill, particularly that of a musical instrument, time and regular practice is required. Parents are expected provide support for their child during this process by regularly attending each scheduled lesson, maintaining consistent practice habits for their child and by creating a positive and encouraging learning environment at home. This includes, practicing with their child (upon teacher recommendation), attending and encouraging performances, and not engaging in negative speech about their own or any students’ ability or progress.
student photo gallery
I can't wait to answer any questions that you have - please let me know a little about yourself in the message section or by calling: (815)289-2010.
February, 2017: Laura Eakman, "Burn with the Obligation to Save the World," forthcoming article in American Suzuki Journal
February, 2017: Mei-Mey Segura and Laura Eakman; Center for Musical Arts Recital, Violin and Viola duets, Time TBA
March 3, 2017: Pyxis, Reckon; Boulder House Concert, Beethoven Serenade, 7:30
March 23, 2017: Laura Eakman and Mary Matthews; "El Sistema Teaching: preparing a new generation of music educators" presentation at the Regional College Music Society chapter in New Mexico; View the schedule here: http://www.music.org/pdf/conf/reg/rm/2017schedule.pdf
April 19, 2017: Laura Eakman; El Sistema Presentation; String Pedagogy Class, CU Boulder