Teaching Philosophy

For the past twelve years, since I returned to the New York Metropolitan area, I have worked with hundreds of students in various capacities, and from various backgrounds. My students have included private students as young as five, and into their sixties, with a significant portion of students in between. The classes I have taught and private teaching studio are usually quite diverse and have been open to students regardless of their race, religion, sexual identity, or orientation, and I have worked with students regardless of their financial needs, especially if they are willing to put in their best efforts. 

I have been working to diversify the repertoire that I am performing as a soloist and chamber musician, or as an orchestral director. I try to program women and LGBTQ identifying composers, as well as African American, Latin American, and Asian composers whenever possible, and encourage my students to explore composers outside of the traditional (often implying white and male) canon as much as possible. My philosophy is to help bring light to under-represented works and composers, to help enlighten my students and our audiences.

The work that is accomplished with our students has a profound impact on their future. Several of my students have been near the top of their class, others struggle to get by, and endure personal challenges. For some of these students, their weekly lessons became one of the few stable events in their lives. For others, particularly during this pandemic, our lessons have been a source of continuity, at a time when so much is out of the ordinary.  

I believe that it is crucial to connect to each student, whether they are a beginner who has barely started playing their instrument, or an advanced student that has been studying for over a decade. One method of teaching will not work for each student, and I constantly fine-tune my approach, tailoring it for each individual. I teach all of my students with an artist model in mind, where I envision what each student might be capable of, if they reach their fullest potential. I do not teach with the expectation that all of my students will become professional musicians or music teachers, although many of my students are pursuing that route.  

It is crucial that I give my students a solid foundation as a violist or violinist that will help to ground them as they start their careers. This is regardless of their major— it is imperative whether they are preparing for a career in music education, performance, music therapy, film scoring, an academic track, or even a non-musical career. The repertoire and etudes that I assign are meant to nurture them and provide them with a solid set of skills that will aid them on their journey. It is our responsibility to give our students the skill sets that they need to have confidence in themselves, to become leaders of our society in the twenty-first century, to find their unique locus in the world.


Programs

Below is a living curation of the current and former programs I have participated in.

Current

Former


Teaching Programs and Experience

Primary and Secondary Teaching

ELS/Juilliard. New York, NY
Music Theory Instructor for English language learners

2016

Saint Francis Preparatory School. Fresh Meadows, NY
Faculty: Director, String Orchestra

2013-15

PS 115Q, the Glen Oaks School. Glen Oaks, NY
Director for after school string program sponsored by Saint Francis Preparatory school, teaching violin, viola, and cello

2013-15

Kellenberg Memorial High School. Uniondale, NY
Viola and Violin Faculty, Grades 6-12, Accompanist

2008-13

Southampton Cultural Center. Southampton, NY
Instructor on Viola, Violin & Piano

2008-11

The Ross School. East Hampton, NY
String Faculty, Grades 5-8, Guest Conductor

2009-10

Long Island School of the Arts. Shirley, NY
Viola, Violin, and Piano Faculty

2008-10

Long Island Conservatory. Albertson, NY
Viola Faculty

2008-10


Higher Education Teaching

2012-present

Queensborough Community College. Bayside, NY
Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow

2015-17

Eastman School of Music. Rochester, NY
Lead Teaching Assistant, Freshman Colloquium Class

Fall 2006-07


Music Festivals and Chamber Music Coaching

NYU Summer Strings, New York, NY
Music Artist Faculty

2022 – Present

2022 – Present

Mountain Springs Chamber Music Festival, Salt Lake City, UT
Chamber Music Coach, Co-Assistant Director

2018–2021

Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. Manhasset, NY
Lower Strings Orchestra Coach

2015–2021

2020

LIU Post Chamber Music Festival. Brookville, NY
Faculty, Conductor, chamber music coach

Summer 2013

Southampton String Festival. Southampton, NY
Co-Director of String Festival at the Southampton Cultural Center. Served as Viola Faculty, Conductor, Chamber Music Coach, Teaching Assistant, Intro to Music

Summer 2011

Classical Strings. Freeport, NY
Violist and Teaching Artist in resident chamber ensemble in public schools

2009–10


Masterclass Teaching

March 2021

Valdosta State University (online)
Valdosta, GA

March 2021

February 2021

Skidmore College (online)
Saratoga Springs, NY

October 2020

July 2018

P.S. 222, Katherine R. Snyder School
Brooklyn, NY

November 2017

The College of New Jersey
Ewing, NJ

July 2017

University of Delaware
Newark, DE

April 2015

Richmondville-Cobleskill School District
Cobleskill, NY

February 2015

University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

October 2014

Primrose International Viola Competition and Festival
Los Angeles, CA

June 2014


Testimonials

“Greg Williams is one of the most hardworking, passionate, and caring teachers I have had the privilege to work with. His knowledge on string studies is evident based on his ability to clearly explain, discuss, and demonstrate string techniques and skills. Greg has displayed his talent on violin and viola through performances with quartets, community orchestras, and solo recitals.

While studying viola with Greg in college, he would always care about how I was doing first and foremost which always meant a lot to me mentally.

Greg always puts the care for his students as the most important which makes him a wonderful teacher. Greg is a dedicated, supportive, and welcoming teacher that any student would be grateful to have and study under.”

Holly Grabowski, Queens College, CUNY, Class of 2020

“Our son Ryan has studied with a few private music teachers since he began playing the viola in 4th grade. Last year as Ryan entered 9th grade, we sought out Dr. Williams after he was recommended to us by Ryan’s music teacher in school. From the first moment he entered our home, we knew that he had found the right fit.

Dr. Williams has a very impressive resume, but that is not what stood out for us. It is his compassion, energy insight, and humility that makes him distinct. His passion for teaching has taken Ryan’s music skills to a higher level and has fostered a respect for his time with the viola that we have not seen before. Dr. Williams is an immensely gifted musician with vast knowledge, but he has taken the time to get to know Ryan’s level of skill and has nurtured that accordingly. He is never disparaging and always encouraging.

From the very beginning, he has made a concerted effort to connect his students with one another, whether it be by inviting them to one of his concerts or by linking them through online studio classes. This has brought a sense of community for Ryan and speaks volumes of Dr. Williams dedication to his students. His encouragement, flexibility, patience, and professionalism are consummate.

We cannot recommend Dr. Williams enough to other families that are looking for their child to take the next vital step in their musical journey.”

Jasleen Giannitelli, Parent

I’ve studied with Greg for all of my undergraduate career thus far at Queens College, and as I’ve just concluded my sophomore year, and I really feel like I’ve made significant progress as a violist under Greg’s private instruction. Prior to college, I was a rather shy and unconfident violist. Now, after working with Greg for the past two years, I really feel my own distinct sound is finally manifesting; some of the things that seemed arduous in the past, like playing up in higher positions or reading treble clef fluently, I don’t even think twice about now. Learning from Greg has really expanded my overall technical abilities, which has allowed my own musicianship and tone to finally emerge.

I think all of my progress is thanks to Greg’s remarkable teaching style, as he establishes the perfect balance between setting high (yet realistic) expectations and creating an encouraging, stimulating environment that enables each student to meet these expectations. After working with Greg in any setting (individual lesson, studio class, etc.) you can be sure to leave with being able to realize what you did well that week, what you can further improve upon the next week, and of course, some kind of cheesy pun that you’ll think about later that day and laugh about.

Katelyn Sullivan, Queens College, CUNY, Class of 2022

We are so lucky to have someone like Gregory teach how to play viola to our daughter. Ever since Gregory started giving private lessons the difference the quality is music she produced was palpable. Gregory is not only a great viola player but also an equally great teacher of the ways of the instrument. He is patient with his students and knows how to nudge them in the right direction to become better musicians, with the right amount of knowledge, dedication, and love of the art of music.

Penpa Tsering, Parent

We waited and consider ourselves very lucky to have found a teacher as talented as Dr. Gregory Williams for our 9 year old son, he now always looks forward to his classes. My son was never so motivated to play his viola until he began his lessons with Dr. Williams. He now looks forward to playing his viola; enjoys the music; and is so so thankful for all the over and above opportunities and experiences that Dr. Williams brought for him to the table.

My younger son who was always undecided on what instrument to play has also made up his mind and looks forward to beginning his lessons with Dr. Williams soon.

I would recommend Dr. Gregory Williams in a heartbeat.

Monisha Ahuja, Parent