Marissa Ferro

Viola, Violin Teacher

Marissa Ferro


Ankeny, IA
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Marissa Ferro began her musical studies on the violin at the age of three. Her mother had taken her to a student violin recital, and after hearing them play, Marissa said “I want to do that!” Marissa then began violin lessons with Toyo Lang, a Suzuki violin teacher in Minneapolis, MN. She started playing the viola at age 10 as a chamber and string orchestra musician (while violin remained her primary solo instrument), and later performed a solo recital on both instruments at the age of 16. After high school, she decided to focus on Viola Performance, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, and continued her graduate studies at the University of Southern California. Before moving to Johnston, IA, Marissa enjoyed teaching both violin and viola to students of all ages and abilities in the Palos Verdes Peninsula (just south of Los Angeles), Denver, Boulder, and Minneapolis metro. She had the privilege of doing her Suzuki teacher training with William Starr in Boulder, CO. Marissa now teaches in the Des Moines area, as well as at her home studio in Johnston, using both Suzuki and traditional methods. In addition to her private studio, she has over 12 years of experience teaching small and large group string classes and ensembles in public and private schools. Marissa’s extensive performing experience includes solo appearances with orchestras, principal viola positions, chamber music recitals and competitions, and solo recitals. A prize-winner in numerous competitions, she was also a fellowship recipient of the Aspen Music Festival. Marissa’s principal teachers and chamber music coaches have included Korey Konkol, Donald McInnes, Ralph Fielding, Heidi Castleman, Cheryl Minor Stewart, Lydia Artymiw, Peter Howard, and Jorja Fleezanis.

“I really enjoy teaching my violin & viola students and love when they get excited about what they’re playing…always look for the lightbulb moments!”
-Marissa Ferro

“We want to thank you for being such a loving and patient violin teacher. You were able to keep our son interested in playing for the past three years. We appreciate all your help!!”
-Parents of 8 yr. old violin student

“Throughout the 4 years I was with you, your lessons were always productive and helpful in some way. With your help, I definitely feel that I have improved not only as a viola player but also as a musician. Thank you!”
-14 yr. old viola student

“Ms. Ferro was my daughter’s teacher for 4 1/2 years, during her transition from Elementary to Middle to High School. During these formative years, Ms. Ferro helped her move from Violin to Viola as her primary instrument. At all times, Ms. Ferro was a wonderful teacher: supportive, focused on detail and technique. She has a wonderful manner with young and older students, and is encouraging while also expecting a high level of dedication. It was especially helpful that she was so adept at teaching both the violin and the viola, so that my daughter could easily make the transition.”
-Parent of 14 yr. old violin/viola student