Violin, Viola, Cello Teachers

Tara Weaver


TRAINING: Violin, Viola, Cello
Bachelor of Arts: Education, Violin Performance: WWU, Indiana University School of Music​

Tara Kaiyala Weaver brings nearly 30 years of teaching, coaching and playing experience to EMS, with a special ability to inspire and grow students of any age and ability.  Tara began violin at just 18 months old, was performing by age 3, and was in intensive chamber and orchestral studies soon after.  Having moved back to the Pacific Northwest in 2016 to live near her children, Mrs. Weaver spent the past twelve years as Violin Faculty at Pipestone School of Music in Twisp, WA.  Tara was Conductor of the Pipestone Youth Orchestra for 7 years, Conductor of the Pipestone Orchestra for 4 years, facilitated the music scholarship program and yearly summer music camps, led the Tamarack String Quartet, performed regular recitals, soloed multiple times with both orchestras in Okanogan County and is a composer with a performance project in the works on-line.  Tara has premiered several of her pieces and won numerous awards and performance competitions including 1st place at the WA state solo & ensemble competition, and 2nd place at the Seattle Young Artist competition. Formerly, Tara was a member of the Pipestone Orchestra, Okanogan Valley Orchestra, Wenatchee Valley Symphony and Everett Philharmonic, and is a current member of Whatcom Symphony and Chamber Orchestra as well as Starry Night Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and String Quartet.  Mrs. Weaver has been the Viola Coach for the Fidalgo Youth Symphony for 2 years, and is Faculty at Sounds of Summer Music Festival.  She continues to teach violin, viola and cello in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Aya Chen


TRAINING: Cello, Piano

Master Degree: Cello Performance, University of Missouri-Columbia

Bachelor of Music: National Pingtung University of Education


Chiao-Yen "Aya" Chen has had a lifetime involvement with music, cello, and piano. Ms. Chen grew up in Pingtung, Taiwan. In junior high and high school, she was selected for the Music Gifted Program. Her focus has been cello and piano performance. 

Ms. Chen has a Bachelor of Music from the National Pingtung University of Education. Her major was cello performance with a minor in piano performance. After finishing college, Ms. Chen went to America for graduate study at the University of Missouri, on full scholarship. There she continued her studies in cello performance and music education. In 2014, Ms. Chen got her Master degree from University of Missouri-Columbia with the outstanding cello student award. 

Ms. Chen has several music related awards, including First Prize in the Seidof Music Competition in Kaohsing, Taiwan and Second Prize in the National Student Music Competition in Pingtung, Taiwan. Ms. Chen has been performing publicly since 2001. Ms. Chen attended the Yellow Springs Chamber Orchestra and Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. She also played in the University of Missouri String Quartet.

Ms. Chen's teaching experience is wide and diverse. She has taught cello, music theory, and music history at an indigenous elementary school in Taiwan. She also taught piano and worked as an accompanist at Benmidji State University and the Headwaters School of Music and Art in Minnesota. She has taught students with a wide range of experience of all ages, from as young as kids aged 3 to adult. 

Ms. Chen is enthusiastic about teaching students with any level of experience and is able to offer lessons for cello, piano, music theory and music history in both English and Mandarin. 

陳老師在台灣屏東市出生長大。陳老師5歲的時候開始學鋼琴, 12歲開始學大提琴。 陳老師國 中時考上國立中正國中音樂班, 並曾到加拿大麥基爾大學參加音樂營,與麥基爾大學交響樂團合 作演出。 陳老師高中考上屏東女中音樂班, 並在2006年參加希朵夫音樂比賽, 拿下音樂班組大 提琴第一名。 同年陳老師考上國立屏東教育大學。 2007年, 陳老師參加全國學生音樂比賽, 拿 下音樂系組大提琴第二名。 2010年, 陳老師以優秀第一名成績畢業。 隨後陳老師得到密蘇里 大學全額獎學金, 並於2011年時來到美國攻讀研究所。 在攻讀研究所的期間, 陳老師被選進密 蘇里大學弦樂四重奏, 並多次公開演出。 2014年, 陳老師畢業於密蘇里大學並獲得最優秀大提 琴學生獎。 陳老師畢業後, 回到台灣, 曾任教於原住民小學, 教受大提琴、 樂理、 聽寫。 2015 年, 陳老師回到美國, 曾參加過Yellow Springs室內樂樂團。 2017年搬到明尼蘇達州, 任教於 Bemidji State University, 教受鋼琴和幫聲樂組學生班奏。 陳老師的演奏經驗長達20多年, 也教 過各個年齡層的學生, 從最小的3歲到成人學生都有教學經驗。 陳老師教授鋼琴、大提琴、樂 理, 英語和中文雙語教學。

Yelena Nelson


TRAINING: Violin, Viola

Bachelor’s Degree: Violin Performance and Pedagogy from Sergei Rachmaninov Conservatory, Rostov-on-Don, Russia


Yelena Nelson has more than twenty years of teaching experience. Yelena’s passion for classical violin began when she started taking lessons at the age of nine. Yelena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from Sergei Rachmaninov Conservatory in Rostov-on-Don, Russia where she studied with Professor Alexander Mileikovsky. Upon graduating from the Conservatory, Yelena performed with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Rostov-on-Don Philharmonic for fifteen years, and after moving to the US in 2000, she joined the first violin section of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. Since then, Yelena has assisted teaching music at local public schools, including Ferndale High School and Fairhaven Middle School. She is also a long time member of the Whatcom Choral Sinfonia and the Chamber Choral Orchestra. In 2000 Yelena founded her private studio and continues to share her love of music by teaching violin and viola to everyone from beginner to advanced. During her lessons, Yelena guides her students’ development through continuously supporting their growing talents and individuality. Yelena teaches in Whatcom County.