Private Instrument Lessons

Private Instrument Lessons

Private Instrument Lessons are an important factor in the greater success of the school’s strings and orchestra program. Individual lessons focus on the intricate technical elements of playing an instrument. A progressive curriculum tailored to each individual student is implemented by the lesson teacher. The one-on-one attention—with focus on details of playing, note reading, and musicianship—enables the student to enhance the school’s string program, making it a life-forming experience.

Students can take private lessons on or off campus. We offer private, individual lessons in Claver Castle to help families by providing  a safe, convenient, and professional environment—which ensures continuity and an integrated approach to the greater BWS strings program.

We offer 28 lessons per year between 3:15 p.m and 6 p.m.


All students are expected to practice 20 minutes at least 5 times per week. Private lessons do not count as practice.

Make-up Lessons

Parents are expected call the school 24 hours in advance if a student cannot make a lesson. Each student is entitled to one makeup lesson per year for an excused absence. No makeup lesson will be offered with less than 24 hours notice. All missed lessons due to the teacher’s absence will be made up.

Safe Space Before Lessons

We offer a safe, supervised space to accommodate students who are waiting for their lesson in the Library. The cost is $165 to enroll for the year.

Tuition Assistance

Families in Tier 1 and 2 will receive tuition assistance for lessons.


Please contact Out of School Time Coordinator Amy Sherman.

About the Teachers

Sarah Goldfeather — Violin

Sarah is a Minnesota-born, Brooklyn-based violinist and vocalist whose diverse activities range from solo, orchestral and chamber music to performing with indie, folk, and bluegrass groups.

An honors graduate of Vassar College, Ms. Goldfeather has performed as orchestral musician with the Trinity Wall St Novus Orchestra, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, the New York Repertory Orchestra, the Northern Dutchess County Orchestra, and the Vassar College Orchestra (where she was concertmaster for 3 years). Ms. Goldfeather is also active as a chamber musician and has performed throughout the US and Europe, most recently featured at the IES Abroad Music Program in Vienna, at Killington Music Festival, at the Artaria Chamber Music School, and the Madeline Island Music Center. As a soloist, Ms. Goldfeather has been twice featured with the Vassar Orchestra, performing the Lalo Symphony Espagnole and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Ms. Goldfeather has received scholarships from Vassar College and the Eastern Music Festival.

As a bluegrass, folk , and rock musician, Ms. Goldfeather is the violinist and vocalist for her own self-titled band, the New York-based Great Dog Almighty, the New York-based Mixtape Cover Band, and the Northfield, MN based Sideporch Trio. She has performed with the Atlantic Theater Company as has recorded music for Meredith Fierke and the upcoming film Welcome to Harlem.

In addition to her active performing life, Ms. Goldfeather has taught violin and music history at Vassar College, assisted research with the International Gustav Mahler Society in Vienna, and maintains an active private violin studio.

Trevor New — Viola & Violin

Trevor began his studies on the viola when he was 9 years old in Salem Oregon with Stephen Nelson.

As an undergraduate in Portland, Oregon, Trevor was the Oregon Laurel Scholar and studied with Joel Belgique. Trevor completed his Masters degree as a Walgreen scholar at the University of Michigan where he studied privately with Yizhak Schotten on viola and Dennis Wilson in jazz performance. He has participated in master classes with the Paris Piano Trio, the Tokyo String Quartet, the KLR Trio, Paul Neubauer, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Philharmonia Quartet, and many others.

Trevor has extensive experience in both ensemble and solo work. He was a finalist in the 2010 University of Michigan concerto competition.

In January 2014 he premiered the Josh Henderson Viola concerto with the Chelsea Symphony of New York and October of 2011 Trevor performed his transcription of the Elgar Cello Concerto transcribed for viola. The following year he recorded and played Feist’s Metals album in a sold out show at Radio City Music Hall, recorded a solo on Joseph Daley’s Portraits and Virtues Album, and in 2012 played the CD release of FUN’s hit album, “Some Nights”. His latest work on various hip-hop, indie, and solo projects as a producer/writer and performer will be released starting in September of 2014.

Trevor recently returned from a country-wide tour in Japan with the Balkan Chamber Orchestra and performed in Carnegie Hall for “Black Stars of the Great White Way Reunion” under the direction of Chapman Roberts and David Alan Bunn, and with Ben Vereen, the Original cast of Dreamgirls, and many others.

Maya Bennardo — Viola & Violin

Maya is a Brooklyn-based violinist and teacher. Maya is passionate about opening the dialogue between composers and performers, and she works tirelessly to promote and perform the music of today. She was a 2014 and 2015 Fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute at MASS MoCA and a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra founded by Pierre Boulez. She regularly performs with New York ensembles such as Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, Ensemble Mise-En, and andPlay, the violin/viola duo of which she is a co-founder. Maya holds degrees from New York University (MM) and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM) where she studied with Gregory Fulkerson. Maya also enjoys a rich teaching life working with students from four years old to adult. Apart from teaching at the Brooklyn Waldorf School she also works as a teaching fellow with Midori and Friends, at Brooklyn Music School, and in her private studio.

 Shanda Wooley — Cello

Shanda was raised in Montana and began piano studies at age 5. Switching to cello in high school, she received her Bachelor of Music Performance from University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, magna cum laude. She is an active recitalist and freelancer in NYC, and is principal cellist of the New York Repertory Orchestra. She has performed chamber music with diverse groups – from rock bands to the Artemis Ensemble – at Merkin Concert Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Symphony Space, Riverside Church and Manchester Music Festival. Ms. Wooley also teaches at Third Street Music School Settlement and The Nightingale-Bamford School.

Mark Humburg — Cello

Born in New York City, Mark Humburg started playing the cello at the age of 5. He attended LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, winning the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Young Artists Competition. He holds a performance degree from Mannes, the New School for Music, where he studied with Wolfram Koessel and Fred Sherry. In addition to Duo Cellissimo, his current ensembles include Duo Ocado, performing with guitarist Matthew Kaplan.

Mark shares his passion for performance and chamber music with a dedication to teaching. He is faculty at the Brooklyn Waldorf School, the Harlem School of Music, Suzuki on the Island, and the Brooklyn College Preparatory Center.

An avid performer, Mark has played in major venues across the US, as well as overseas in Germany, Holland and China. He plays on a Knopf cello made in 1900.

Aakash Mittal — Flute & Clarinet

Hailed as “A fiery alto saxophonist and prolific composer” by the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Aakash Mittal is sculpting a dynamic voice that embraces American and Indian traditions. His self-released album, Videsh, was regarded as, “point[ing] toward new possibilities in improvised music.” (Denver Post) As a composer and improviser, Mittal employs colorful dissonances, meditative silences, and angular rhythms expressing environments and spaces ranging from the American west to the dense streets of Kolkata.

Mittal has performed nationally at such venues as The Dakota (Minneapolis), The Cultural Center of Chicago, The Blue Room, (Kansas City) and Dazzle Jazz Club (Denver). Internationally, Aakash Mittal has led a quartet at the Congo Square Jazz Festival in Kolkata, India. As a sideman, Mittal as performed in Kolkata with world- renowned percussionist Pandit Tanmoy Bose’s Taal Tantra, and with the creative music ensemble Kendraka. In 2012 Mittal toured Mexico with Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana. Other collaborations include PI Recordings artist Amir Elsaffar, avant- garde poet Bhanu Kapil, Yells at Eels with Dennis Gonzalez, and Joining Hands with bharatnatyam dancer Anjal Chande.

As a composer, Aakash Mittal has written extensively for jazz quartet composing over fifty new works. Other commissions include, Urban Raga (2011), Transitions (2011), andQuestions of Identity (2012) for the Playground Ensemble; Octet on Raga Yaman (2009) for the Ethos West Chamber Orchestra. In 2012 Mittal wrote Meditation for Pictures on Silence saxophone and harp duo. American University Creative Ensemble commissioned the work Pooja, in 2013. As a leader, Mittal has self-released four recordings, Possible Beginnings, Videsh, Thumbs Up EP, and Ocean to rave reviews.

Aakash Mittal’s awards and honors include the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music (2012) and the Herb Albert/ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award (2013). Aakash Mittal is a 2013 American Institute of Indian Studies Creative and Performing Arts Fellow.