Shanon Michelle Garcia is a creative, innovative, and dynamic violin teacher who is constantly looking for the most optimal ways to teach and produce students who have a variety of relevant musical skills and repertoire, and most of all to inspire them to love music and find their own unique voices.
Shanon grew up in a musical family in Ventura County and played the violin from a young age. Her earliest experiences of violin included contest-style fiddling and the Suzuki Method. In fourth grade, Shanon also began Suzuki piano lessons, and by the end of high school went through the advanced level of the Music Teacher’s Association of California Certificate of Merit program.
As a teenager, orchestral music became her passion, and she played in multiple community and youth orchestras throughout middle school and high school. At the age of 16 she entered the Applied Music program at Moorpark College, then continued to study violin at California State University, Northridge.
Due to severe performance anxiety and disillusionment with the rigid and competitive environment of the academic music world, Shanon stopped playing violin for 6 years. During this time, she still kept music in her life by teaching piano and dabbling with mandolin, including playing with the 100-year-old Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra.
After several years of working with children with autism as a behavior therapist, Shanon decided life was too short to not be playing the violin, and after 5 weeks of intense practice, crashed the CSUN entrance auditions by waiting in the hallway several hours until they let her play. She was accepted back into the program and received her BM in Violin Performance a year and a half later. Shanon also worked on a MM in Violin Performance program at CSUN, during which she also played viola and took part in a several jazz classes due to her growing interest in jazz and improvisational music.
While teaching, Shanon tried many reputable teaching methods, always feeling frustrated that no matter what pedagogy she used, her students weren’t grasping the music as quickly or comprehensively as she knew they were able, and often didn’t keep their initial enthusiasm. She was also working on solving the mystery of why some musicians could easily harmonize, improvise, and compose, while others could play nothing without sheet music, despite decades of music training.
Her journey to answer these questions took her to Napa, Dallas, and New York City where she studied the O’Connor Violin Method and the Musikgarten Keyboard Method. While those courses were very informative, it was in Delaware where she found the answers with the Gordon Institute of Music Development. Since then, Shanon has developed a unique program influenced by Edwin E. Gordon’s Music Learning Theory and her other training and experiences, presented in a creative and personal way.