Lisa D. Toner

Violin Teacher

Lisa Toner

SAA Member


Seattle, WA

Lisa Toner finds great joy in teaching and learning and is committed to a career based on Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy. She earned a Bachelor’s in violin performance from Western Washington University in 2008, where she performed in the scholarship string quartet. During college, she began teaching private lessons and was immediately hooked. Her interest in teaching and learning led her to graduate school at the University of Washington, where she completed a Master of Educational Psychology. At the same time, she began her Suzuki teacher training with Cathy Lee at the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute. For her masters thesis, she conducted an in-depth three-year research study about teacher-student interaction during violin lessons. Her research has since been published in the American Suzuki Journal. In 2015, she attended Mimi Zweig’s summer pedagogy course at Indiana University. Currently, she is studying to become a certified Alexander Technique teacher under the guidance of Catherine Kettrick and David Mills.

Lisa teaches thirty students from her home studio in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood. She regularly adjudicates for local competitions, teaches at the annual Suzuki Association of Washington State Festival, and was on the faculty for the 2015 Walla Walla Summer Suzuki Institute. She performs with the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra. Lisa is active in her professional community and served for several years as scheduler for both the Seattle Young Artists Festival and the Suzuki Association of Washington State’s fall festival. She has attended the Marrowstone Summer Music Festival, the Heifetz Summer Music Institute, and the Starling-DeLay Symposium for Violin Pedagogy. Her most influential teachers include Joanne Donnellan, Grant Donnellan, Ron Patterson, Margaret Pressley, and Walter Schwede. She has had master classes and coaching sessions with Joseph Silverstein, Carmen Owen, Jennifer Koh, Corey Cerovsek, Karen Iglitzen, and David Updegraff. She was a recipient of the 2013 Joe Cleveland teacher development scholarship.

For more details about Lisa’s teaching approach, please visit