Dr. Mary Harrah
Viola, Violin Teacher
I have maintained a private violin and viola studio for 18 years, teaching students of all ages throughout the greater Phoenix area. I am also Instructor of Viola at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Previously, I taught both elementary and high school strings for eleven years in the public schools. I have been influenced by the pedagogical methods of Paul Rolland, Shinichi Suzuki, Demetrius Dounis, and Karen Tuttle, among others. I am a Suzuki registered teacher through Book 4.
My students have participated in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony orchestras, the Phoenix Youth Symphony orchestras, the Arizona All-Regional orchestras, and the Arizona All-State orchestra. They have gone on to study music performance, music education, and music therapy at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University, and are currently working as performing musicians, classroom music teachers, and music therapists throughout the greater Phoenix area. My students have also gone on to study and work in a wide variety of non-music fields, including theater, doctoral studies in anthropology, the medical field, education, studio art, history, and basketball analytics.
I am also an active freelance musician as well as being a dedicated teacher. I have performed frequently as a substitute musician with the Phoenix Symphony and Arizona Opera since 2005. I have also performed with the Tucson Symphony, Flagstaff Symphony, and West Valley Symphony. I have been a member of the Brevard Music Center Festival Orchestra, and the National Orchestral Institute orchestra, as well as being a participant at the Musicorda Summer String Festival for two summers.
I earned both the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees as a student of William Magers at Arizona State University. My past teachers include Ed Gazouleas, Michelle LaCourse, and Carol Rodland. My BA, in History and Russian, was earned from Wellesley College. Pursuing my interest in Russian, I have taught Russian at the high school level, and at Arizona State University. In 2014, I was a Fulbright-Hays scholar in Moscow, Russia, as part of a program for teachers of Russian. (My project focused on the lives of musicians in Moscow today.) I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, for three years, where I studied music, worked for the St. Petersburg Times, and became fluent in Russian.
When not teaching or performing, I enjoy hiking with my dog, running, and practicing yoga. I serve on the board of Arizona Road Racers, a Phoenix-area running club. I also enjoy reading, cooking, going to concerts, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.