Erica Shirts

Violin, Viola Teacher, Administrator

Erica Shirts

SAA Member


Durham, NC

Erica Shirts is the Director of the Duke University String School. If you are interested in your child joining the program, please visit the DUSS website HERE.

Following DUSS founder Dorothy Kitchen’s 48 year tenure as Director, Erica was appointed as the second Director of the Duke University String School at the age of 27. Erica began violin at age 5. After receiving pedagogical training from Mimi Zweig as well as Suzuki certification, Erica joined the faculty of the world-renowned String Academy at Indiana University where she had a thriving studio focused on correct technique and beautiful tone within a judgement-free atmosphere.

Erica, a native of Utah, is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Fayetteville Symphony in North Carolina and is also active in the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Opera, and regularly plays violin and viola with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. In the past, Erica has performed as Principal Second Violin of the Indiana University orchestras and as a member of the Lansing Symphony in Michigan. Erica has enjoyed working with conductors such as Grand Llewellyn, David Effron, Cliff Colnot, Carl St. Clair, Andrea Quinn, Timothy Muffitt and Kenneth Kiesler. She also regularly plays chamber music on the violin, as well as the viola.

After receiving her Bachelors of Music at the University of Michigan, Erica gained a Masters in Music as well as a Performer Diploma from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She has primarily studied violin with Mimi Zweig, Aaron Berofsky and Gerald Elias, as well as Quartet studies with the Pacifica Quartet and Orchestral studies with Jorja Fleezanis and Steven Shipps. She is also the founder of, a database of teachers who have received pedagogical training from Mimi Zweig.

A note from Erica:

Violin Playing involves physical understanding, mental focus, and emotional involvement. Correct technique and beautiful tone are important from day one. And while developing a good ear is crucial, music theory and note reading are also key in the development of young musicians. My training in the Suzuki method alongside extensive training with Mimi Zweig at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music helped form my approach to violin teaching. I am also influenced by the teaching methods of pedagogues Ivan Galamian, Paul Rolland and many others. Please visit my website to learn more about my teaching methods, and feel free to message me if you have any additional questions!