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Violin Lessons in Oakland: for Everyone, Everywhere & Online

Update: I am currently offering online instruction via Google Duo or Zoom, teaching violin, viola and music theory, as well as in-person and backyard lessons. 


The art of learning how to play the violin should be a joyous journey that brings confidence to the student with the accomplishment of each milestone. My primary objective as a teacher is to provide a positive, encouraging experience which fosters a love of music in each and every student who enters my studio. Whether you are looking for music lessons for an inquisitive toddler whose first word was "v'lin" or seeking violin lessons for adults to enjoy in your retirement, I will welcome you with enthusiasm.


I don't adhere to any one method or pedagogical approach; rather, I prefer to play a creative role, following the desires of each student and allowing them to choose their musical path as they establish the technical fundamentals that bring their goals within reach. Much of my teaching style is experientially based, working with the talents and limitations of each individual, modeled very much on parenting techniques I have used with my own children. My home studio is conveniently located in the Redwood Heights neighborhood of Oakland, just off I-580 and highway 13, and my students come from all over the Bay Area and/or take online lessons. I also serve on the instrumental faculty of the Oakland School for the Arts.


Please use the contact form to inquire about specifics regarding scheduling, rates or questions about my teaching style. I would be delighted to tell you more about what it's like to study the violin with me.

What My Students Say About Me:

"Ilana has been a great teacher and working with her over the past few months I've been able to refresh most of my playing abilities after a 12-year hiatus (plus learn to play new musical styles and music theory concepts as well). She is very patient, flexible and pushes you to continue improving your playing without making it a stressful experience. I highly recommend Ilana if you are looking to get back into playing violin or are a first-time student!"... I.S., adult 


Ilana is very friendly.  And she doesn't rush you when you're learning. She lets us choose our own songs.  Lessons are fun and she makes them interesting, and sometimes she's funny.  I recommend Ilana as a teacher."... E.C., age 8


"My 8 year-old daughter has been studying violin/viola with Ilana Thomas for two years.  Ilana is an experienced professional musician, but she is also a wonderful teacher.  My daughter loves her lessons.  Ilana is skilled at teaching techniques and musicianship while still making the experience fun.  My daughter is energetic and playful, and lIlana is able to meet her where she's at and yet help her stay focused on learning and engaging fully with the music.  My daughter has learned a tremendous amount and can now play more complicated pieces.  And, just recently, I started taking violin lessons from Ilana and I'm enjoying my lessons and learning a lot.  I recommend Ilana highly for both children and adults."... V.C., adult


"Ilana has been my teacher for years now, and I couldn’t be happier! It’s always a very open lesson; there is always room for a discussion about what piece I will play next, and that has given me the opportunity to explore many different styles and genres of music. She is very easygoing and willing to work at the pace that each student needs, along with giving very helpful advice for both short-term problems (like how to play with a band-aid) and long term problems (e.g. wrist pain caused by tension from concentration). She is an excellent teacher, and I give her nothing but praise!" ...K.S., age 18


“One of the things I love about Ilana as a teacher is her flexibility of song choices. When we are picking out a new song for me to play, she plays me a few different song options, and I can pick which one is my favorite. Plus, with her I’ve played a huge range of music (which I love) from classical, to fiddle music, to pop and Christmas songs.” ...E.S., age 15


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