Elizabeth Oakes began her teaching career as an assistant to Jeffrey Irvine during her undergraduate years at Oberlin Conservatory. Since that time, she has built a national reputation as a teacher. Currently on the faculty at the University of Iowa, Ms. Oakes serves as both a viola and chamber music instructor. She is a passionate advocate for her students and is committed to having them reach their highest potentials. Ms. Oakes’s summer teaching engagements have included Interlochen Arts Academy, The Great Wall Festival in Beijing, China, Austin Chamber Music Center and the South Carolina Governor’s School. Her students have received fellowships to Aspen, won concerto competitions and have been accepted into prestigious graduate programs. She also maintains a private teaching studio as well in Iowa City and works regularly with adult amateurs.

Teaching Philosophy: My ultimate goal is to help my students to become the best players and musicians that they can. I approach this in many ways with a strong emphasis on helping students to truly listen to themselves and problem solve. My background in performance and chamber music is always intertwined with my instruction. While I work on technical issues, I am always motivated by a musical concept. I feel it is important to approach instruction from all angles – musical, technical, theoretical, and historical. This is all in the service of creating a performance that is expressive and communicative to an audience. I strive to foster curiosity and thought in my students and I do this by asking lots of questions, encouraging them to play for many people and seeking out opportunities for them to grow as players and artists. As someone who grew up in a house full of teachers, I find nothing more rewarding than watching someone grow and learn.