Learn about our strings instructors below.

You can register for lessons here.

Lael Caldwell

Lael, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, is an accomplished cellist and pianist. She served as the accompanist for the Grosse Point Conservatory for many years. She has studied cello with Mario De Fury and Julia Tanner and improvisation with John Pell. She can be seen in an Alan Jackson video with her cello, and has played at the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry.

Lessons Offered: Cello and Piano

Sarah Cote







Sarah Cote has been on the Faculty of Belmont University since 2003. She performs as a member of the Belmont Camerata and has performed as a recitalist and also as a soloist with the university orchestra and the Choral ensembles. Ms. Cote also teaches Suzuki violin and viola through the Belmont Academy, and teaches string Pedagogy of the violin and viola.

Before moving to Nashville, Ms. Cote was a member of the San Antonio Symphony for 17 years. In San Antonio, Ms. Cote was a frequent performer on the Musicopia chamber series and was a frequent guest performer with other chamber groups. She was also an active member of the San Antonio Symphony’s Music Advancement Program for inner city children, serving as an instructor and a member of the steering committee.

Sarah Cote has been a member of the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival since 1995 and performs as a member of the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra and the Eastern Chamber players. She enjoys teaching viola students from around the world and runs a morning “viola boot camp”.

Ms. Cote has also played with the Nashville Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony, and performed at the Piccolo Spoleto, Fontana, Blowing Rock, Aspen, and Garth Newell summer festivals. Ms. Cote also performs as a Baroque violist with Music City Baroque and with Belmont faculty as a member of Early Music City. Ms Cote has also performed as a member of the Stones River chamber ensemble and the Tippecanoe Chamber Society. In addition, Ms Cote was a guest artist on the American Viola Society Facebook page in 2019 and has performed and lectured at the American Viola Society Festival.

Ms. Cote holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Indiana University. She did postgraduate work as a special student at Oberlin Conservatory. Her viola teachers include Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsay-Irvine, Patricia McCarty, Karen Tuttle, and Mimi Zweig. In addition, she did orchestral studies with Lynne Ramsay-Irvine, Patricia McCarty, Ellen Rose, Joseph DePasquale, Leonard Davis, Thomas Dumm, and Josef Gingold. She studied Baroque violin and viola with Marilyn MacDonald and Simon Standage.

Sarah Cote studied string pedagogy with Carol Dallinger and Mimi Zweig. She has registered Suzuki violin training to book 10 and Music Mind Games level 1 training.

Lessons Offered: Suzuki Violin/Viola

Caroline Farmer







Caroline Farmer is the Assistant Supervisor of Music and Media at the Lila D. Bunch Library here at Belmont University. She received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a Master of Music from Appalachian State University. Caroline has worked as a staff member for the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras and Cannon Music Camp, where she conducted ensemble rehearsals, led sectionals, and taught private lessons. Ms. Farmer also served as the Concertmaster of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra and a section violinist for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Caroline Farmer teaches private lessons and performs for local events in and around Nashville.

Lessons Offered: Violin

Anna Lisa Hoepfinger

Anna Lisa is excited about the Suzuki Program at Belmont Academy, joining teachers Sarah Coté and Ian Robinson.  Being part of a larger teaching community by combining recitals and classes offers many rewards.  She loves how this approach at Belmont builds success.

Anna Lisa is a tutti first violinist in the Nashville Symphony (since 2002).  She has also been in the Eastwood Ensemble Chamber Music Group and has joined other members of the Nashville Symphony to teach and perform in ensembles in the schools throughout Nashville.

She co-founded a Suzuki Violin Program in the Nashville Symphony’s “One Note One Neighborhood” partnership through the W.O. Smith School (2009-2015).  Anna Lisa has also served on the board of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association (2009-2020).  She taught Suzuki violin in Franklin at the former Franklin Suzuki School and at the East Nashville Center for the Creative Arts.  She studied Suzuki violin as a child with Carol Dallinger at the University of Evansville.

Her Suzuki training includes courses with Edward Kreitman, author of “Teaching from the Balance Point”, Michele Higa George, Joanne Melvin (Book 1), Rebecca Sandrok (Book 2), Ronda Cole (Suzuki Books 3, 4 and Overview Books 1-6), Nancy Jackson (Book 5), Linda Fiore (Books 6 and 7), Alice Joy Lewis (Technical Skills across Suzuki Rep Bks. 1 – 6), and Carol Dallinger (Book 8).

Anna Lisa has a Master’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Performance from Oberlin Conservatory. She studied Violin Performance with Paul Kantor, Roland Vamos and Almita Vamos.

Lessons Offered: Suzuki Violin

Carrie Kimbrough

Nashville native Carrie Kimbrough is the Director of Belmont Academy—the pre-college and community music program at Belmont University’s School of Music. She received both her B.M. in classical violin performance and her M.M in violin pedagogy (with an emphasis in early music) from Belmont University. Her Master’s thesis was titled Teaching with Style: Baroque Music for Modern Players Learning through the Suzuki Method.

Carrie teaches traditional violin lessons at Belmont Academy, and her students also regularly participate in Mid-State Orchestras, area youth orchestras (including the Curb Youth Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Reparatory Orchestra and Ethos Youth Ensembles) various school/church programs and summer camps in and around Nashville. In addition to teaching private lessons, Carrie also enjoys teaching music theory and music history classes at Belmont Academy and is the Director of two of Belmont’s Summer Music Camps—String Crossings Camp and the Preparatory Piano Camp. Carrie delights in sharing her love of music with students at all ages and stages.

An avid early music enthusiast, Carrie performs regularly with Music City Baroque, an early music ensemble in Nashville, TN. She is also currently serving as secretary on the Music City Baroque Board.

Lessons Offered: Violin

Ian Robinson

Ian Robinson started Suzuki cello at age four because his parents said he was “too much trouble and needed something to do.”  Now he is a cellist and teacher in Nashville, TN.  Ian went to Indiana University, where he was the last student of the legendary cellist Janos Starker.  He went to grad school at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he received degrees in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy.  Passionate about teaching, he is the Suzuki cello instructor at Belmont, and has a private studio in Franklin.

Ian frequently works as a studio musician, and has played on over 75 major projects for companies like Netflix, Disney, Amazon, EA Games, Bungie and Major League Soccer.  He plays bass and mandolin as well, and has performed in many genres, from jazz big band to hard rock to country. Outside of music, he enjoys hiking and board games, and collecting too many potted plants.

Lessons Offered: Suzuki Cello and Bass

Steven Schumann

Steven Schumann is a cellist and teacher living in Nashville TN where he performs both live and in the studio, in addition to attending Belmont Academy as a graduate student. Steven is an award-winning session musician, being featured in a wide variety of genres such as Americana, pop, and jazz.

Steven graduated from Marshall University where he received degrees in both cello performance and music education. In addition to his classical training, Steven has developed a specialty in improvisation and Americana genres on the cello as a performer and teacher.

Lessons Offered: Cello

Elisabeth Small

Elisabeth Small is Assistant Professor of Violin and Coordinator of Strings at the Belmont University School Music. Ms. Small teaches at Belmont’s summer String Crossings Camp for high school students that include classical, jazz, rock and bluegrass styles. She received Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard School where her principal teacher was Dorothy DeLay. Other teachers and mentors include Samuel Applebaum, Felix Galimir, and Nathan Milstein.

Ms. Small has served on the faculties of Interlochen Arts Camp, Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, Tennessee Technological University, and Tennessee State University. Her clinics and workshops for American String Teachers Association National Conference, Tennessee American String Teachers Association and the Tennessee Music Education Association have focused on developing methodology to manage musculoskeletal injury through tension-free playing. She has led many master classes, including the Dresden Hochschule fur Musik and the Tianjin Conservatory, China.

Ms. Small served as Associate Concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for two years.  She has appeared as soloist with many orchestras including the National, Atlanta and Nashville Symphony Orchestras. As a recitalist she has performed in major cities in the United States, Canada and Germany. She has collaborated in chamber music performances at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, the Symphony Space in New York City, for the Lincoln Center Institute and at the Aspen, Teton and Banff festivals. Most recently she performed with Belmont Camerata at the 2012 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charleston, S.C. Ms. Small’s recording of duo works by Loewe and Rontgen with pianist Alan Mandel can be heard on the Premiere Records label and her performances on public radio have been broadcast throughout the United States. She also records commercially with the Nashville String Machine.

Ms. Small served as past president of Tennessee ASTA. Her former students are members of professional orchestras and string quartets and hold teaching positions at institutions from elementary through university level. They have achieved distinction in the commercial music industry and demonstrate stylistic versatility on stages worldwide.

Lessons Offered: Violin