Jennifer O'Konski

Violin Teacher

Jennifer O’Konski


Wilmington, NC
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Jen (Sarkela) O’Konski began studying violin with the Suzuki method at age 3 with Holly Smardo in Kansas City. After her family moved to Minnesota and later Chicago, she continued her studies with Mark Zinger at DePaul University while playing in the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra and associated chamber music program. She studied at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before transferring to the State University of New York at Purchase where she was a student of Laurie Smukler, completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance.

During graduate studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, Jen had a two year internship with world renowned Suzuki pedagogue William Starr, completing her Suzuki Teacher Training in books one through ten. She has also completed additional Suzuki Teacher Training courses with Carrie Reuning-Hummel at Ithaca College. Jen continues to pursue professional development opportunities through attending Suzuki conferences and workshops. She has also explored and studied different genres of music including jazz violin and various fiddle styles. Jen has performed with numerous orchestras in the Denver/Boulder area in addition to being a member of the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra from 2007-2017.

Jen has been teaching using the Suzuki method since 1998. In addition to maintaining a successful private studio she has taught at workshops and festivals in Colorado, Washington, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois and Pennsylvania. She loves the philosophy that every child can learn to play music, and that she is able to help facilitate that process.

Jen began teaching Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) music classes for infants and toddlers with Suzuki Strings of Denver in 2015 before becoming a faculty member at Hope Academy of Music and the Arts in Pittsburgh, PA. She continues to find joy in helping parents foster communication skills and strengthen relationships with their children through these interactive, musical experiences.

Jen is passionate about health and wellness, and completed her yoga teacher training certification in 2013. She recently moved to Wilmington, NC with her husband and is excited to create community with new students, colleagues and friends.