Dawson White teaches college level Viola, Chamber Music and Entrepreneurship for Musicians at the University of St. Thomas in Houston and a studio of pre-college violists through the UST Music Preparatory School. Previously, he was Adjunct Professor of Viola & Chamber Music at Sam Houston State University where he performed in the Kolonneh Quartet, faculty string quartet in residence.
A multitude of playing and teaching styles have shaped Dawson's musicianship. He worked with Wayne Brooks of the Houston Symphony through doctoral studies at the University of Houston before winning a viola position with the Houston Grand Opera. He earned his Masters of Music in Viola Performance from Rice University with Ivo van der Werff and a Bachelors of Music in Viola Performance from Kathy Steely at Baylor University. Also noteworthy are substantial pedagogical contributions from Helen Callus, Joan DerHovsepian and Ruth Morrow through lessons, masterclasses and orchestral excerpt classes.
A typical student of Mr. White can be found practicing scales, etudes, solo literature and a wide range of technical exercises. Each of these components help craft a well-rounded player that is technically proficient but deeply musical. Mr. White is also an advocate of focused and efficient practice and helps students achieve this goal in each lesson by providing advice for ways to practice and ideas on how to schedule practice sessions into busy lives.
Unique among string pedagogues, Dawson White has integrated mindfulness and breathing into viola playing to foster heightened focus and authentic playing. His students are often encouraged to engage in meditative breathing exercises with the viola, engaging a sense of awareness that helps to identify common technical and music issues. He regularly address the topics of the ‘thinking’ and ‘awareness’ brain, and how the synergy between the two is the optimal mental state for performance.
Dawson’s students can be found in undergraduate and graduate programs at Juilliard, Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin, Manhattan School of Music, MIT, Florida State University, University of Oregon, and Baylor University among others. His younger students have earned seats in top middle and high school orchestras, Texas All-Region and All-State Orchestras, Houston Youth Symphony, Virtuosi of Houston, Tanglewood Institute, Heifetz Institute, Interlochen and the American Festival for the Arts.
Mr. White is frequently invited to adjudicate music competitions such as the Music Teachers National Association Competition, Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest at UT Austin, Houston Civic Symphony Young Artist Competition, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Concerto Competition among others.
Dawson’s mission as an educator is to promote a love for viola playing through a supportive and trusting environment while expecting a very high performance level. It is through this mission that he hopes each student will achieve excellence in a truly remarkable and rewarding art form.
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