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Colleen Tolva

Vancouver, WA 98686 (map)


Lessons Offered

Organ, Piano, Violin, Music

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio


About Me

I am a music teacher and love it! I have always had a love of music and it has been an important part of my entire life.
I am married and have five children and twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. (Really I'm not that old!)
I love children, animals, nature, art, genealogy, photography, people of all cultures, and going for rides in the country with my husband.
I was the President of the Society of Washington Artist for two years and have painted many landscape and religious scenes.
My church, family, friends and country are the most important things to me along with my students.
Being a care-giver and comforting those in nursing homes has also been an important part of my life.
I have taught piano, violin, and organ for 49 years and also have directed many choirs. 
One of my favorite quotes about music comes from Plato:
"Music is a moral law. It is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, which nevertheless is passionate, dazzling and of eternal form."

My Musical Education Background

I started my music lessons at the age of eight and studied privately for nine years on both piano and violin. In high school I was awarded the "the most talented girl in my senior class. I spent many hours each day in orchestra playing my violin and directing concerts. I was the accompaniment on the piano for choral, madrigals, dixieland band, dance band and solo competition. I also played alto saxophone and glockenspiels in marching band. I attended the University of Oregon and performed with the U of O Symphony. I also played in the Mesa, Arizona Symphony and was the concert mistress for the Salt Lake Opera Theatre Orchestra. I was a professional accompanist for a publishing company and tryout accompanist for opera singers.
I also play professionally for weddings, funerals and receptions.
As the founder/conductor of The Northwest LDS Symphony (Northwest Symphonic Pops orchestra) I directed for ten years. The orchestra continues on after 29
I am a choir director and have directed many choir performances for special events for my church, including directing a choir for the Dedication of the Portland Oregon Temple.
I arranged a hymn for full choir and orchestra which performed in front of 10,000 people in the Portland, Oregon, Civic Stadium, which received standing ovations.
I have written children's songs, organ and piano pieces and choral music, all of which have been used to uplift and bring joy to others.
I have been the accompanist and concert mistress for the Peanut Gallery Theatre Co.
Also, I have been a "Pit" orchestra conductor for play productions.
In Bountiful, Utah I was a substitue music teacher for the Davies County School District. I have been teaching piano and violin for 49 years.

Genres and Subjects Taught

I believe in teaching my students to understand the need for foundational instruction, which includes music theory, music appreciation, expression and technique. Ear training is important, recognition of intervals, major and minor scales, style of playing, sight reading, and so forth is all stressed.
I can be diversified in using many different instruction books; but prefer to use the following:
John Thompson series because it is progressive and carefully chosen and written to advance the student to the next level of learning.
John Schuam Finger Power series of exercising also having progressive levels.
Hanon, Czerny, and a variety of study material gives the student a wide range of musical tools for dexterity and technique.
Having an understanding of the composers and appreciation for their individual contributions to students is fun to teach and part of my training.
In teaching my violin students I like to use a variety of teaching methods including Wolfhardt, Maza, Hans Sitt, and many others. Lessons include foundation of music, correct posture and technique and early learning of the scales. There are so many beautiful pieces of music written for the violin which I introduce to my students as they progress in their ability.
Workshops and recitals are provided throughout the year to gain confidence and performance skills and competition.
Classical, romantic, baroque, contemporary, blues, and a variety of styles is taught.

Lesson Rates

My tuition fees are as follows:

A 30 minute weekly lesson monthly rate $92.00

A 45 minute weekly lesson monthly rate $105.00

An hour weekly lesson monthly rate $135.00

Ages / Skill Levels Taught


All ages (5 and up) and all levels including beginners, intermediate, and advanced.

One time I was able to teach a 95 year old man with arthritic fingers to play with both hands and he learned little songs, a few scales and chords.
An unusual opportunity came one time when I taught a very determined two and half year old violin lessons, many of which revolved around temper tantrums! This little girl continued on with lessons for years in Japan.

My Certifications and Awards

Certified teacher for VIP Rainbow Strings Modern Music Method (Dr. Laurence Lyon)

Superior rating awards in State Solo and Ensemble Competition in Wisconsin and Oregon

My Musical Influences

Tchaikovsky, Algar, Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Grieg, Mendelssohn, Lizst, John Philip Sousa, Suppe', Schumann, Johann Strauss, Sibelius,
Dvorak, Scott Joplin, Rogers and Hammerstein, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey bands.


Service Area


Student Reviews




Vancouver, WA

Colleen Tolva is my piano teacher. I'm in my 60's and hadn't taken music lessons or played much since elementary school. She's been my teacher now for two years, and I've learned a great deal from her. She's an excellent teacher and expects her students to do their very best and to feel the mood of the music as well as to master the technique.




Vancouver, WA

Our daughter started taking lessons from Mrs Tolva when she was 7 and we are so pleased with her progress in just 18 months. Mrs Tolva incorporates the right amount of firm expectation, patient guidance and uplifting encouragement. It's clear she loves what she does and genuinely cares for her students. I highly recommend Mrs Tolva.




Camas, WA

My 8 year old daughter has been taking piano lessons from Colleen Tolva. We have found Mrs. Tolva to be an incredible teacher and an amazing person. She teaches with love and is so knowledgeable and passionate about music. We drive from all the way from Camas to Hazel Del for our lessons-that's how good she is!




Vancouver, WA

I've had piano lessons off and on for the past seven years but I've only been with Colleen Tolva for the past 3 and a half months. Even in this fairly short amount of time I've noticed that she has helped me greatly with timing and expression and finger strength. She is always cheerful and willing to assist me when I come to her with a specific problem. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She is fantastic at helping me explore different forms of music with pieces that are challenging at the same time being attainable and enjoyable. I would recommend her to anyone who has a passion to learn and experience music.




Vancouver, WA

I am a student of Colleen Tolva. I've been taking violin lessons from her for almost a year now and her teaching style is great! Colleen works step by step on my hand position, bowing, head position, confidence, and of course, all the in's and out's of music. She teaches me a t a steady pace which enables me to go back and review to get even better understanding and complex idea of what I need to focus on. And I know that Colleen does the same with all her other students, and I always look forward to another workshop or recital to see what they have prepared. She encourages everyone and that makes us all perform even better.




Vancouver, WA

My daughter, Zoe, had lessons for 2 years by two different piano teachers before she began with Mrs. Colleen Tolva. On her first lesson, the difference was obvious. Colleen taught her to connect her notes and she immediately sounded 100% better! Her progress with Mrs. Tolva was rapid due to thorough teaching and Colleen's encouragement. Now my youngest is also taking lessons. I highly recommend Colleen Tolva to anyone interested in achieving excellence as a pianist or violinist.




Vancouver, WA

My son is taking violin lessons from Colleen Tolva. Colleen is very professional as a teacher and has high expectations of her students. She clearly outlines what she expects them to practice each day and works with them to develop good habits. At the same time, she has a very caring and friendly manner to which her students respond. I would highly recommend Colleen Tolva as a violin teacher.




Vancouver, WA

I am Cora's father and am very pleased to recommend Colleen Tolva as an outstanding, experienced music teacher. Mrs. Tolva has taught my daughter beginning violin for more than one year with excellent progress. Mrs. Tolva provides a thorough foundation in music theory, music appreciation and expression, as well as correct posture and technique. She is particularly remarkable in working with children, gently but firmly instilling a sense of enthusiasm and dedication. Mrs. Tolva is always positive, cheerful, creative, and a delight to work with. I wholeheartedly recommend her as a most admirable teacher for anyone wishing to study violin or piano.




Vancouver, WA

Colleen Tolva is a very good teacher because she helps me play the music I love while teaching me the basics to help me progress. She rewards us for having a good lesson which is another motivation for getting my lesson done.




Vancouver, WA

Colleen Tolva has been my violin and piano teacher for 6 years. Learning from her has been a unique experience. Other than being my teacher she cares about me and is my friend. She lets me have a say in what I want to play; but she also makes sure it will be challenging for me. She also puts me in books I don't like; but I know it will be good for me and help me grow as a musician. I would refer her to anyone that loves music and wants to excel.




Hermiston, OR

I have known Colleen for many years. She is one of the most caring, loving person I have ever meant. Her music skills are extremely high, and I would highly recommend her to any potential student.


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