Violin and Viola Lessons

Private lessons by Ilse Wells Mann

Since 1973, I have been giving private violin and viola lessons to hundreds of students in the Triangle area.

Philosophy of Teaching

I believe in teaching the violin/viola according to the age appropriate needs of the student. In using my own methods and many different materials, I try to develop the student’s skills levels while following his/her musical interests. Before beginning lessons, I meet with the student and his family to access current playing level and individual needs.

It is important that the student and teacher have a good working relationship. In lessons, I try to give the student a sense of personal competency, fluency, and technical skills in playing, a solid foundation in rhythm and pitch, and the joy of creating music. Learning to play a string instrument is a long term project; playing the violin or viola involves many levels of physical skill, intricate coordination, intellectual function, and emotional subtleties in exploring the language of music.


During high school I commuted to Cincinnati to study viola with Peter Kamnitzer of the LaSalle String Quartet. I received Bachelor and Master degrees in viola performance from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati.

While in graduate school I took enough music history and musicology classes to have a masters in musicology.

My private teachers included:

  • Mary Lane (Columbus Symphony)
  • Sheldon Sanov (Ohio Wesleyan University)
  • Francis Tursi (Eastman)
  • Walter Trampler (Juilliard)
  • Jean Fournier (Paris Conservatoire)
  • Peter Kamnitzer (CCM)

I studied chamber music with the members of the LaSalle String Quartet, Victor Gottlieb (UCLA/Aspen Music School), Martin Lovett (Amadeus String Quartet), and Enrico Mainardi (Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.)

I continued my studies during the summer at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, the Aspen Music School and Festival in Colorado, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

Mini Bio and Professional Experience

Although I was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, I grew up in the college town of Delaware, Ohio. I lived in Sackville, New Brunswick, Toronto, Canada and Superior, Wisconsin before moving to Raleigh in 1973. Tom and I have three children and two grandchildren.

Since 1973, I have been giving private violin and viola lessons in the Triangle area. Previously I taught at Mt. Alison university in Sackville, New Brunswick, at the William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada, and at the Cloquet Junior High School in Cloquet, Minnesota. In Raleigh, I founded the strings program at Ravenscroft and the Suzuki program at Meredith College. In 1983, I began the Raleigh Preparatory String Orchestra, later to be renamed the Raleigh Children’s Orchestra. I have made all the arrangements that the children of RCO play and designed RCO to meet the specific ensemble needs of the elementary aged string student. Although teaching has been my primary career, I have performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Duluth Philharmonic, the Winston-Salem Symphony, and the NC Symphony (as an extra). While in Canada I recorded chamber music for the BBC.