My teaching philosophy is centered upon an individualized approach, which takes into consideration the unique interests, goals, and learning style of each student. This approach is also intimately linked to my interest and research in Self-determination theory. More specifically, what this means to me is that I always strive to support my students’ natural tendencies towards growth and development by providing a learning environment which supports their sense of autonomy (feeling that they fully endorse and want to take charge of their own learning), competence (feeling a sense of growth and effectiveness in their skills on the instrument) and relatedness (feeling a sense of belonging and acceptance). In terms of goal setting, I guide my students to set their own short-term and long-term goals and based on their level, interests, and needs, I offer direction in terms of refining and specifying those goals. I judge progress based on how well my students meet their own self-endorsed goals.

From a practical standpoint, I believe that an understanding of the big picture as well as day-to-day work is crucial. My approach to lessons and practice is simple and clear, and is designed to provide a structure, within which students can feel a tangible sense of progress and can learn how to practice effectively. Routine and repetition instill this confidence, but are best approached also with a feeling of exploration. Thus, the structure I aim to provide is both stepwise and clear yet has room for flexibility, discovery, and play.

 Buffalo String Works newsletter (5/17) 

Buffalo String Works newsletter (5/17) 


Finally, I believe that in addition to physical practice, performing well on an instrument involves psychological preparation. Therefore, I work to teach my students skills rooted in the social psychological literature of arousal reappraisal, which helps them to positively and adaptively frame to their advantage, the physiological changes that happen to the body during performance. Ultimately, it is my goal as a teacher to give my students the musical, technical, and psychological tools they need to continue to teach themselves, and to inspire their own artistry and individuality far into the future.

Currently I have a studio of students ranging from 5 years old all the way to 70 years old. Please visit my C.V. and outreach listings below to learn more about my specific teaching experience and about the group programs that I offer.  

Hanna Hurwitz - CV

Outreach Program Offerings