breanna thornton





 With her vivacious adventurous spirit, Breanna contributes to the music community as a violinist, pedagogue, and conductor-educator. Her enthusiasm especially shines when she is guiding orchestra players from the podium or explaining a new concept her student inquired about in their private lesson. She is sincere and dedicated, and expects excellent quality from herself and her students.  

 Early in life, Breanna began teaching violin and has developed her aptitude as an educator through pedagogical studies. She is indebted to many instructors, including Robert Gillespie. Breanna is also teacher certified under the Suzuki Association of the Americas and grew up in this musical system as a young child. She has taught violin for ten years, teaching students in Thailand, Chile, Nebraska, Ohio, Iowa, Tennessee and now Bermuda. Going to Thailand as a student missionary where she taught violin and viola and served as an administrative assistant for Peace Music Academy greatly influenced her professional musical path.  In 2019-20, she also participated in the Global Leaders Program  which annually trains fifty musicians from around the world in business and entrepreneurial skills especially for social-impact music projects. As a part of that, she taught in a string workshop in Arica and Iquique, Chile with other string musicians from Brazil, Bolivia, the USA, and Japan. 

As she teaches, Breanna’s methodical mindset is evident in a very systematic and sequential approach, and  she is beginning to contribute to the field of string pedagogy. She is especially interested in collaborating with and promoting music students and composers in Latin America. Currently, she is developing a new sequenced beginner violin book of arrangements of children’s folk songs from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba with aims of publishing.  This year, her manuscript “Strategies for Teaching Spiccato” was also published in the American String Teacher journal. As a performer,  Breanna plays a wide range of repertoire, purposefully incorporating contemporary pieces, Latin American pieces, or works by other  under-represented classical composers. 

Breanna has received conducting coaching from William Jones, Robert Gillespie, David Becker, and Laurie Minner, and for the present, seeks to apply these skills as an educator. She has conducted several pieces with youth orchestras in activities at the Ohio State University, Dalí Quartet International Music Festival, and Encuentro Internacional de Instrumentos de Cuerdas in Iquique and Arica, Chile. During her doctorate program, she had the opportunity to conduct the University of Iowa chamber orchestra. Summer 2019 she was accepted as a fellow to the Conducting Institute of South Carolina, and won a University of Iowa Summer Research Award for funding to participate. 

 Currently, Breanna is a doctoral candidate in violin performance and pedagogy with a secondary area in conducting at the University of Iowa. She holds an MA in string pedagogy and MM in violin performance from the Ohio State University and a BS in music performance from Southern Adventist University.