Sign Up for our Newsletter
Se Us on YouTube
Find Us on Facebook
String Teacher Workshops


Highly qualified artist faculty provide musical instruction based on the methods and philosophies of Mimi Zweig, Shinichi Suzuki and Paul Rolland. The faculty works as a team, interacting with students to provide continuity in instruction as student needs change. The special training, experience and expertise of this outstanding faculty in the musical education of young people results in students playing with technical ease and musical sensitivity.

David Anderson, violin
David Anderson String Academy faculty since 1991.  Mr. Anderson was a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra first violin section from 1976 – 2014.  He studied with Daniel Majeske, former concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, and at the Cleveland Institute of Music with David Cerone.  His chamber music teachers include Josef Gingold, Mischa Schneider and the Guarneri Quartet.  In recognition of his support and activities with the arts, Mr. Anderson received a distinguished membership as a Friend of the Arts from the Milwaukee Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota International Fraternity.Contact Mr. Anderson: davidanderson@stringacademyofwisconsin.org
Heather Barker, violin
Heather Barker Since 2019, Heather Barker is excited to continue teaching Viola and Violin at the String Academy of Wisconsin. Heather found her love of teaching through leading group classes and individual lessons in Violin and Viola at Baylor High School and in an El Sistema-based program in Chattanooga. Graduating in 2020 with a Masters degree in String Pedagogy from UWM, Heather has applied the principles of Suzuki, Rolland, Zweig, and others in her teaching. She was a member of the UW-Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and is a free-lance musician performing at churches and other venues. Heather hopes to continue bringing the joy and beauty of music to audiences and students.
Darcy Drexler, violin (Director)
Darcy Drexler String Academy Faculty since 1990: Violinist Darcy Drexler is Director of the String Academy  and leads the Master of Music in String Pedagogy degree program at UW-Milwaukee, where she teaches string pedagogy courses in violin and viola. She is an active musician and teacher, giving masterclasses and string pedagogy workshops throughout the United States and in Brazil.  She is director of the popular Teaching the Violin to Children workshop which takes place each July in Milwaukee. Her students are playing in symphony orchestras and teaching throughout the U.S.   She has been a member of the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, Hawthorne Quartet,  Illinois Symphony, the Killington (VT) Music Festival, and has played with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Wisconsin Philharmonic, and the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.   She has previously taught at the Indiana University Summer String Academy, Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and Illinois Wesleyan University Pre-College. Ms. Drexler graduated with honors from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelors in Violin Performance. And she received a her Masters of Music degree in violin performance(with honors) from the University of Illinois –Urbana.Contact Ms. Drexler:  ddrexler@uwm.edu
Jamie Hofman, viola, violin
Jamie Hofman String Academy faculty since 2007. Jamie Hofman, a Milwaukee native, is a SAW alum where he studied with James Pryzgocki and Mimi Zweig. He earned a B.M. in viola and violin performance, in addition to a Performer Diploma in viola at Indiana University. His major teachers there included Atar Arad, Jerry Horner and Mimi Zweig. He has been a prize winner in the Chicago Viola Society Solo competition, and concerto competitions sponsored by the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and Milwaukee Catholic Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Hofman has been a member of the Louisville Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville String Quartet, and is principal violist of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra.  He has served on the faculty at the University of Louisville, Campbellsville University, and currently Carroll University. He has performed extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and is on faculty at the Eastern Music Festival during the summers.
Contact Mr. Hofman: jamiehofman@stringacademyofwisconsin.org


Robin Tharp, office administration
Robin Tharp Robin Tharp earned a Master’s degree in leadership from Concordia University, and is a former college basketball player and coach at Belmont Abbey College. A native of South Carolina, she moved to the Milwaukee area in 2012 as a result of her husband’s job relocation. She has worked in office management at both Vanderbilt University and Tennessee State University. Robin studied piano as a youth and she has one daughter who currently plays violin in the String Academy.Contact Mrs. Tharp: rytharp@uwm.edu

Past Faculty

The String Academy is tremendously grateful and indebted to all of the faculty who have served as faculty in the past. They have built and shaped this institution, and influenced countless student’s lives.

  • Mimi Zweig, violin, viola founder 1990-1996
  • Jim Przygocki, violin/viola 1990-1993
  • Sherry Sinift, violin 1990-1993
  • Julie Hochman, cello 1990-1992
  • Sara Edgerton, cello 1990-1991
  • Trischa (Seaman) Loebl, cello 1991-2006
  • Jim Olsen, violin, viola 1990-2000
  • Toshi Olsen, violin, viola 1997-2006
  • Wei-Tsun Chang, violin 1993-1994
  • David Becker, violin/viola from 1990-1994
  • Seanie Chang, violin/viola 1993-1994
  • Michael Fitzpatrick, cello 1993-1994
  • Erica Lessie, cello 1994-1995
  • David Bebe, cello 2002-2006
  • Elizabeth (Betsy) Pabon, violin 1994-2003
  • Dinorah Marquez, violin 1998-2000
  • Susan Dominguez, violin 1995-1998
  • Wendy Warner, cello 2006-2008
  • Alana Dustcello 2008-2012
  • Jessicca Williams, violin 2004-2012
  • Scott Cookcello 1996-2014
  • Peter Vickeryviolin 2012-2015
  • Heidi Knudsenoffice administrator 2000-2016
  • Kathrine Brooks, violin 1990-2016
  • Stefan Kartman, cello 2015-2018
  • Jichen Li, cello 2016-2018
  • Kira Makeever, violin 2017-2019