What parents are saying:
"My five year old daughter has been taking violin lessons with Toby for about six months now. Every week when we leave her studio I marvel again at our extreme good luck in finding her (on Yelp no less)! Toby is truly an outstanding teacher. She is such a warm and friendly and inviting person that you feel happy just being around her! She has a real knack for explaining complicated concepts in an easy to understand way and she makes every lesson fun and interesting and yet meaningful and productive. No doubt there are lots of great violinists out there who teach lessons, but Toby is that special kind of teacher who does much more than merely help her students become technically proficient at their instrument. If you're looking for someone who will really "get" your child (no matter their age, temperament or skill level) and nurture them onward while also imparting a real enthusiasm for music, it really, truly is hard to imagine anyone better than Toby. And, as an added bonus, Toby is extremely good at communicating with parents, responding quickly to emails and sending out regular updates. We really can't recommend her enough!!!!" - Michelle L., parent
"My daughter was getting frustrated with her former violin teacher and the pressure to be '"PERFECT " after learning only 2 months. She was ready to quit and then I realized she needed to change teachers. That is where Toby comes in. I searched online for a violin teacher in my area , that has a lot of experience with children , and read all the wonderful reviews online about Toby. I gave Toby a call and she spent a long time chatting with me about her background and teaching style. My daughter has been taking lessons from Toby for almost 2 moths now. We are very pleased , Toby is wonderful with children and a fun teacher!! We are very lucky to have found Toby!!" -Zohraa R., parent
"Toby is an incredible teacher, especially with kids. She managed to make even the first few lessons on learning posture for violin fun for my six year old. We just started with a new teacher because of logistics reasons, but I can now truly appreciate how great Toby was for laying down the foundation, which is so important for beginning violin. She also gets a lot of credit for getting my daughter excited about learning and practicing. If Toby's schedule allows, we would definitely try to go back for monthly lessons with her!" -Karen O., parent
"Toby is absolutely wonderful! My baby and I attended her Lil Ladybugs music class. She is so sweet and welcoming. The class is fun for both the babies and adults. Some of the songs from class are still stuck in my head a few months later! We will definitely sign up again!" - Liz S., parent
"My son just finished up violin summer camp with Toby, and he cannot stop talking about it! Toby is incredibly warm, open, engaging and skilled at what she does with the children. Always positive, encouraging and setting high expectations, Toby really has a special way with kids. My son gained so much enthusiasm for playing the violin, as well as confidence in playing in front of a group and as part of an ensemble. I would recommend her to anyone, and we will most certainly be back with her again for next summer's camp!" - Nell D., parent
"My son takes violin lessons with Toby. Toby is truly amazing. She "gets" kids and makes the lessons age appropriate, and fun while advancing the kids' skills. She models for the kids how the violin should sound - and how to position their body. My son (and I) look forward to the lesson, because Toby is so fun - and so incredibly warm. Really - if she has room in her studio for you - look no further." - L. Sobel, parent
"My 5yr old son started violin with Toby as an absolute beginner and after 7 weeks he is playing 3 pieces already! All I can say is that she is FABULOUS. She keeps the lessons fun and she always shows positive communication. Very creative and flexible as well. I like the tools she uses to keep her students motivated to practice at home. My son can be super active when he is excited but she is really patient and she can get his attention which I find so amazing... My son and I both love everything about her lessons and I would recommend her without hesitation to anyone needing violin class." - Ryoko S., parent
"My 10 year old has been taking lessons with Toby for about 6 months now. She absolutely adores Toby. Toby is always so patient and encouraging to my daughter. She makes the lessons so much fun and easy to do. All her corrections are made so nicely but she really pushes my daughter to try her best. If your child wants to lean violin, I would highly recommend Music With Toby. She is absolutely awesome!" - Robin B., parent
"We enjoy our violin lessons with Toby, and our eight year old LOVES them. Toby is very enthusiastic, patient, knowledgeable AND fun. She paces the lessons very well for the young student, providing lots of variety, but with plenty of substance, too. She's also very good about giving specific instructions for our daily practice. I'm a music teacher, too, so I know how hard it is to balance work with fun, and Toby is VERY good at keeping the young one's interest and enthusiasm while still providing good solid information. We highly recommend Toby!" -Lee S., parent
"Toby is an AMAZING violin teacher. My 10 yr old was frustrated with her violin class at school and wanted to quit. Before allowing her to quit I thought we should try a private lesson. My online search led me to Music with Toby. Going into the first trial lesson my daughter was open, but apprehensive. My daughter wouldn't stop playing for 45 minutes after Toby left! We've continued lessons and I'm always impressed with how supportive, clear and fun Toby is with my hard-to-focus child. I highly recommend Music with Toby." -Kimberly P., parent
"Toby provided my 5 year-old with the perfect introduction to violin and to music overall. She was gentle and made learning fun, but serious and set high expectations, which helped him get accustomed to the rigors inherent in learning an instrument and musical theory. Her approach was flexible based on my 5 year-old's interests and attention span, reflecting a marriage between her musical talent and years of experience teaching children. Our family thoroughly enjoyed our time with Toby!" -Jennifer L., parent
"Toby is a wonderful teacher! Our daughter is happy and engaged, and she is encouraged to practice and to enjoy making music every step of the way. Toby understands that every student learns differently and at their own pace. She works with each where they are, encourages them to work toward their own goals, and celebrates with them when they move forward! Thank you Toby, for Dottie, the fish pond, your skill and your joyous enthusiasm!" -L.S., parent
"Toby is a natural teacher, especially for new or discouraged students. Her violin lessons were full of encouragement and straightforward advice, and the practice expectations were clear and appropriate. My daughter still appreciates how Toby was always smiling! Seven years after her first lesson, my daughter greets her violin as a precious friend every day, and I am sure it is from the initial love of music and musicianship that Toby taught in those early lessons. My daughter and I would recommend Toby as a violin teacher to anyone!" -Jenna S., parent
"Toby is simply amazing with children. As a protective mother, I can say honestly say there is no one else I would trust more with my child. I actually learn a lot through her watching her interact with my daughter. As an experience and conscientious music teacher, she engages effortlessly with my 2-year old daughter. I love seeing how my daughter's imagination being ignited through playing music, art and play. I recommend her without reservation. If I could give her 6 stars I would!" -Jen L., parent
"Our son is sensitive and easily frustrated. Toby has a wonderful way of encouraging him and getting him to try new things. She is very creative when it comes to motivating her students. She has a great balance in emphasizing the technical aspects while making the lessons fun. Our son has made great progress in just a few months. He enjoys playing and practicing more than ever before." -Jennifer W., parent
"Our 9-year old has been taking violin lessons with Toby for about a year now, and I can't say enough good things about her!
My daughter is counting the days until we see Toby next, and has not once complained about practicing, she is so very motivated. Toby makes everyone feel welcome right away, and through establishing a wonderful relationship with the children while teaching the big picture and the details, she manages to bring out the best in them. My daughter has made great progress, I love listening to her & going to Toby.
Toby also does fantastic violin & arts summer camps, to put it in my daughter's words "EVEN better than the lessons, because I get to do more!" - Yvonne B., parent
"Toby is a wonderful violin and voice instructor.. She is very talented and her enthusiasm for music is infectious. Our 6 year old daughter has learned so much because of Toby's patience, kindness and teaching abilities. We highly recommend her." -David M., parent
What students are saying:
'I have always envied my friends who have beautiful singing voices and wanted to get voice lessons to improve my singing and learn to use my voice with the proper technique. But this was something that I didn't have the courage to do for fear that the lessons would become one of those things I hate to go to because I'd feel extremely pressured by the teacher to become a professional or to be perfect. My goal was just to have a prettier voice, not to be a professional opera singer. My work schedule for the next four months would be more flexible so I decided that this would be my opportunity to get in a few lessons to learn the fundamentals. I decided to look up on Yelp to see if there were any private voice teachers in the area and found many that were either too expensive or were intended for those who aspired to be professional singers and make it big. The only one I found that seemed to have the option to 'learn for fun' was Music with Toby. After visiting Toby's website, I was convinced that it was worth a try to contact her and find out about pricing and if she could meet my need. I was very impressed that she responded within 24 hours (even though it was a weekend) and her email was very organized (which I love!) and filled with clear detailed information.
Another issue I had was that I am moving after my 4 months of work ends so I can only do a short term of lessons. Most music schools or teachers prefer to take 'serious' and 'committed' music students for long-term lessons (or at least that was my concept) but Toby was well prepared to offer me a variety of prepaid lesson options (at a discount too!) for my short term availability. They were reasonably priced and she also offered a free trial lesson to see if we're a good match before I make a decision. I did not feel pressured in any way at all.
I really enjoyed all my lessons with Toby! She has great personality with a lot of positive energy. She gives very good descriptions and very visual explanations on how to control my voice and root of breath. She is very flexible and adapts very well to all different types of people and different music styles. She also makes you feel very comfortable and at home and makes sure that you inform her whenever anything is uncomfortable. She makes me laugh so much with all her jokes too! Extremely hospitable! :) Oh, she also tries her best to accommodate your schedule and sets up a time that works for both you and her.
Another reason why I really wanted to work with Toby was because she has a very credible background in violin and voice. I checked out her videos on YouTube too and she is super talented and I can tell she really knows what she's doing and understands the techniques thoroughly.
Overall, if I didn't have to move soon, I would continue to take voice lessons with Toby. I received a lot of help from her and I definitely recommend that anyone interested in improving in violin or voice should at least try out a trial lesson with her! :)" - Liz S., adult voice student
"Camp rocked! It's very exciting in the mornings before I go. Toby is very flexible when I cooperate. Violin lessons are very fun and exciting. She never messes up with tuning! She has a lot of good ideas with learning in a fun way." -Ella, age 8
"On a recent trip to San Francisco, I found myself with extra time on my hands. What better way to whittle away the hours, I thought, than with a little self-improvement? Lucky for me, a close friend recommended Toby's voice lessons. To say they did not disappoint does this lesson a disservice. I took voice lessons for a semester in college, so had some experience tuning my pipes, but Toby really elevated my thinking about how to sing. And made it fun. All in an hour!
Are you looking for an impossibly talented teacher who will provide improbable oodles of fun? That is a rhetorical question. Of course you are. Seek no further." - Andrea H., adult student
"Violin is really nice; it's really fun at the same time. It's not like she's pushing us way too hard. It's also really relaxing at some times. And sometimes she can give really good feedback. The recitals are always fun. The beginning pieces are actually really easy and they help you get into the mode, and once you get into the harder pieces she helps you polish them, and they sound awesome at the end. Playing violin sometimes helps me relax. It's one of my favorite things to do." - Ethan, age 10
"I adore Toby. I decided to pick up the violin as an adult, which can be challenging. I've improved so much with Toby. She is incredibly patient and creative with her teaching style. It's apparent that she cares about keeping lessons engaging--she knows how to craft lessons in a way that leaves me feeling fulfilled, while still hitting the fundamentals that I need to learn. She's also FUN! Quick laugh, super kind, and so so supportive of my desire to learn." - Jenna, adult student
"Lessons with Toby are fun! You will learn lots of songs and you'll get trips to the treasure chest-- which is awesome. The stuff in the treasure chest is great." - A.T., 6 years old
"Violin is amazing! Amazing for music." - Leo, age 5
"I have been dying to learn to play the violin, and had previously been to two different teachers that just were not the right fit for me... I found Toby on Yelp and could not be more thrilled!
The minute I met her, her energy made me feel right at home. Not only was she patient and kind but she made me feel extraordinarily confident going into my first lesson. I was even able to make a decent sound by the time I left. I cannot wait to see her again...
Thank you so much Toby for your time and your guidance :)" - L.B., adult student
"Toby is a wonderful teacher. She is funny, enthusiastic and makes it fun. I highly recommend violin with Toby!" -Y.E., adult student
"It's really fun. I like trying new songs and new scales. During a lesson, the best thing is learning the new songs and they go really super fast. She's a very good teacher!" -Noga, age 6
"I think it's very fun [the camp]. I liked all the art projects. I think it was a fun experience learning how to play with other violinists." -Willa, age 8
"I feel happy when i come to my lessons. Toby helps me not crack the egg. I learn violin songs and I like it. I like going to the treasure chest." - Z., age 5
"Singing lessons with Toby have been such an amazing find for me!!
Back in my high school days, I used to be a regular drama club diva, and recently found myself wanting to re-connect with the theatrical side of myself...and luckily, a friend recommended Toby's incredible services to me!
Toby's upbeat style and engaging personality put me at ease right away, and helped me slide right back into my singing days in no time - which was very valuable to me, as it can be intimidating to re-visit an old skill!
A lesson with Toby includes so many different components - breathing exercises, vocal warm ups, and working on musical pieces - you're able to put your WHOLE BODY into a vocal lesson with Toby, making it a very holistic experience, in fact. Toby's teaching is also informed by The Alexander Technique, which I found very interesting - it has some similarities to yogic/body awareness techniques, which really resonated with me as an individual .
I cannot recommend Toby enough! She is an outstanding instructor - one meeting with her and you'll be hooked!" - Shannon R., adult student