About Violin Teacher

About Marnie Thies, Twin Cities Violin Instructor

I have been teaching violin for 19 years.

My interest in the violin began when my kindergarten class studied the letter ‘v’ and my teacher’s son played the violin. My teacher asked if anybody wanted to learn to play the violin and I raised my hand.  Shortly after this, I began violin lessons.

To read about what I offer as a violin teacher to children and adults, see Why Take Suzuki Violin Lessons From Me?

Violin Teacher Mary West & Me

Violin Teacher Marnie Thies in Minneapolis - St Paul mn

Marnie Thies

Suzuki Violin Teacher

Twin Cities, MN

During my high school years, I studied with the legendary Mary West. Mary West was the emeritus professor of violin at the University of Minnesota, and had a 50-year violin teaching career. The biggest impression Mary made on me was that no aspect of violin technique should be neglected. I stress proper technique for my students in all stages of study.

My Violin Teaching Method

It should be noted that I am not the typical Suzuki violin teacher because I introduce note reading as soon as the student is ready. It is rewarding for the student when they learn a piece by reading music without the aid of a teacher. Being able to play from sheet music helps the student progress at a faster rate. In a youth orchestra audition, students are asked to sight read. For this reason, I like to incorporate note reading in each lesson as part of the students’ music education. During my early study of the violin, I had developed a faulty technique which took years to correct. For that reason I highly stress proper technique for my students in all stages of study. The Suzuki method of teaching does an excellent job of developing a student’s ear. Learning to play the violin without sheet music can be rewarding to a beginning student because they can play music they have heard. Other genres of music, such as the fiddle piece, Misty Moonlight Waltz, can be played by ear. A chief component of the Suzuki method is parental involvement. I have observed that when student’s parents, both musical and non-musical, coach their child’s practice at home, musical progress is greater. In a typical lesson, I demonstrate to both students and parents how to practice and what technical aspect should be practiced at home. Knowing how to practice is an important part of a violin student’s music education so they can reap the rewards of practicing.

My Teaching Philosophy

My interest in teaching the violin began during my first year of graduate school while pursuing my Masters Degree in Violin Performance from DePaul University. I believe that studying music teaches work ethic, persistence and discipline which can help students be successful in life. 

I have taught using the Suzuki method since 2002. From 2005 through 2019, I have traveled to the Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, Wisconsin to refine my teaching skills and get new ideas for teaching. In particular, I look for various ways to teach the same thing. This is important because students learn differently. I like the challenge of finding the optimal teaching tools for every student.

I enjoy working with students five years of age and older as well as adults.

Master’s Degree

Violin Performance,

DePaul University, Chicago, June 2004

Studied with Professor Joseph

Genualdi and Ilya Kaler

Bachelor’s Degree

Violin Performance,

University of Wisconsin,

Madison, December 2001

Studied with Professor Vartan


Private Violin Lessons

Professor Emeritus Mary West, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

MacPhail Center for Music, 4 years Sue Anderson, 8 years

Suzuki Teacher Trained in the following books:

  • Books 1-3 with Ed Kreitman and Nancy Lokken
  • Book 2 with Ann Montzka-Smelser
  • Books 4-5 with Nancy Lokken
  • Books 4-5 with Nancy Jackson
  • Book 6 with Alice Joy Lewis
  • Book 7 with Nancy Jackson, Ann Montza-Smelser and Carol Dallinger
  • Book 8 With Nancy Jackson
  • Books 9-10 with Carol Dallinger and Ann Montza-Smelser

Supplementary Training: Violin Development of Technique and Musicianship Across the Suzuki Repertoire, Violin Before the Mozarts, Development of Violin Bowing Technique in Twinkles to Eccles and Developing Tone Color Throughout the Repertoire for Violin with Alice Joy Lewis and Overview of Bach Violin Sonatas and Partitas with Brian Lewis


Hamline Preparatory School of Music
Adjunct Instructor of Violin
December, 2005 – May, 2007

National Federation of Music Clubs Competition Judge
2006, 2007, 2008

MacPhail Center for Music
Assistant Instructor

Minnesota Sinfonia
Substitute member

MacPhail String Academy
Intern, 2005

New World Symphony
Substitute member, 2002-2004

Chicago Public School
Coached students for Music House Inc., 2003-2004

Chicago Civic Orchestra
Scholar, regular member, 2002-2003 season

DePaul University Symphony Orchestra
2 years

LaSalle Bank MusiCorps, 2002-2003 season

Chicago Youth Orchestra Elementary and Junior High School
Coach for Students

National Orchestra Institute
NOI-3 years

Participated in master classes with Elizabeth Adkins, Richard Roberts, Herbert Greenberg and William Preucil

DePaul University Symphony Orchestra
2 years

DePaul University
Chamber Music
2 years

DePaul Univesity
Baroque Ensemble
2 quarters

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chamber Orchestra
4 years

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Philomusica Chamber Orchestra
2 years

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
1-1/2 years

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chamber Music
2 years


First Place Winner
Freshman Music Competition sponsored by Sigma Alpha Iota
The international music organization for women in music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison