Oona Grady began her teaching career as a teenager when she co-organized and taught an Irish music camp for her cousins and siblings one summer.  It was a grand experiment not without it's pitfalls (imagine trying to teach seven unruly students who you're related to!), but she learned a lot and ultimately deemed it a success.  Since that auspicious beginning, she has always considered teaching to be part of her work as a musician.

While studying music at college in Ireland, she taught group classes for the Midleton and Douglas Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) branches, as well as private lessons.  Once back in Ithaca, she had the opportunity to study the Suzuki Method of teaching violin with Carrie Reuning-Hummel, and began applying the philosophical and theoretical concepts of Suzuki to all of her teaching.

During her five years post-college back in Ithaca, she developed a private violin/fiddle lesson studio, where she specialized both in Suzuki violin and Irish traditional music.  Relocated to Saratoga Springs in 2015, she runs an ever evolving private lesson, group class, and workshop studio (online lessons are available over Zoom, Skype and FaceTime), is one of the founding faculty of the Caffe Lena School of Music, and is in demand both as a Suzuki teacher and an Irish music specialist.

Whatever the type of music she is teaching, she goes about it with a positive and infectious style, with the goal of instilling a love of music in all of her students.



Join Oona's Lesson Studio

private lessons + group classes + recitals

Oona draws on her extensive experience studying fiddle music and absorbing the philosophies of the Suzuki Method to create a peronolized curriculum for each student.

While studying Irish tunes and/or classical repertoire, we will also explore technique & posture, practice skills, and more.

Winter/Spring 2021 classes will take place on Zoom or a similar online learning platform.

The program includes weekly private lessons, monthly all-studio group classes, and recitals.

Please get in touch for rates and availability.


Troubadour in Training Camp

An excellent foundation for playing music with others and with an audience for intermediate folk musicians 8-15 years old.

Troubadour in Training Camp is three hour camp that meets Monday - Friday June 28 - July 2nd from noon-3PM. The Camp is open to intermediate level students who've either been taking lessons through the Caffe Lena School of Music or by permission from a school instructor. 

In five fun, musical days students develop a solid foundation for playing music with others and for an audience. They learn a way of preparing and a performance ethic that will benefit them in all walks of life. 

Each day begins with a group warm-up followed by skill-building sessions that are essential for all students regardless of the instrument they play. After a short refreshment break, students work individually or in small groups and duos to develop their repertoire through effective practice sessions with guidance from experienced coaches. 

Led by Program Coordinator Vivian Nesbitt, and Music School instructors Oona Grady and James Gascoyne, the week will culminate with a sharing of songs and tunes the students have prepared for an audience of friends and family! 

For those in need, the Matt McCabe Scholarship Fund is available with help to cover registration fees and loaner instruments. Ask Vivian for details on applying: musicschool@caffelena.org

Completion of this camp makes each musician eligible to participate in the Caffe Lena Lobby Troubadour Program. On select evenings before a show in the legendary venue, Lobby Troubadours play a 30-minute set in the foyer of 47 Phila Street providing a welcoming vibe for audience members as they arrive. Those who have done the Troubadour in Training may sign up to share a set with one of their family, a friend from class or one of their instructors! Ask Vivian for details musicschool@caffelena.org 

Skills that students develop and integrate: 

Collaboration and ensemble work



Ability to focus and bring complex activities together into a cohesive offering

Self confidence 

Communication skills

An understanding of performing music as a form of giving and doing service

How to give and receive constructive feedback



In the summer of 2020 the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) launched their Online Learning Library, a treasure trove of video lessons and activities designed to help everyone stay creative at home.  One section of their offerings is called Instrument Beginnings, and they invited Oona to create a series of videos to introduce the basic skills and techniques needed to play the violin and viola.  Check them out below!


Oona Grady is a great teacher!  She is trained as a classical violinist and as a fiddler so she is able to teach a student who is interested in both.  This has made her a really good match for my teenage daughter.   She is knowledgable and supportive.  She is dependable and encourages students to take on a challenge.  My daughter has studied with her for 4 years, first in person and then on Skype.  It has been positive experience all around!
--Jane B., parent and violinist

I enjoyed playing classical duets with Oona for 5 years!
--Maya J., age 13

Oona's talent and patience is hard to match.  She taught my son for 4 years, beginning when he was age 6.  Oona has made a lasting impression on us both, and has helped my child acquire the skills he will need to carry on to the next level of musician-hood! 
--Jane C., parent and fiddle player


My daughter Izzy has really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Oona.  She says Oona is fun but also holds her accountable for some of the things she doesn't remember to think about; like positioning of her fingers or bow hold.  She started with Oona not knowing much about Irish music and has come to really enjoy playing it.  She has also enjoyed learning Suzuki with Oona and enjoyed playing together with Oona during lessons.  We were all (Izzy and our family) sad when Oona moved away as she was a great mentor and teacher for Izzy as she learned new skills and grew in her confidence when playing. 
--Beth L., parent

I am pleased to have a chance to make a statement in support of Oona as she tries to establish herself in a new area of New York State.  I have played Trad. Irish music on my fiddle for about 30 years.  I've taken lessons here and there, usually one shot deals and was terrible about practicing.  Last fall I decided to get serious and started going to Ithaca for lessons with Oona.  

While I was very nervous and self conscious, she immediately set me at ease with her lovely personality and superb skills as both a player and an instructor.  A few months into my lessons with her, she asked me if I wanted to be in a recital featuring her students, all of whom were 16 or younger, aside from me. The thought terrified me and I initially declined.  After a few more lessons I felt myself improving and gathered up my courage and said okay.  So, at the age of 58, I took part in my first recital!  It was great, even though I think I was way more nervous than even the littlest fiddler.  I loved watching her interact with the kids...her guidance was firm, but with a calm demeanor.  At that recital the tunes were Irish, but she had one student performing a long, complicated Classical piece and Oona played with her.  I was blown away by their duet.  In the 7 months I went to Oona for lessons I feel I made more progress than in the previous decade. 

We laughed much together and she helped me build my confidence as a player.  I miss her and truly hope folks in the Saratoga Springs area quickly realize what a gifted instructor and performer they have in their midst! 

Best of luck to you Oona! 
--Deb P., Preble, NY