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.
LEARN WITH OONA
YOUTH SUMMER CAMPS at the CAFFE LENA SCHOOL OF MUSIC
INSTRUMENT BEGINNINGS at the SPAC LEARNING LIBRARY
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!
--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