Columbia College Chicago

Meet the Faculty

Tamara Gonzalez

Violin, Viola, Suzuki Violin & Viola
Suzuki Program Manager

Mrs. Gonzalez began her musical studies at the age of four in the Washington DC area. She was enrolled in her local Suzuki violin program as well as in the DC Youth Orchestra Program. At age nine, Tamara moved to Puerto Rico with her family and began studying at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music Preparatory Program, and was placed in the Advanced Orchestra. At age 11, Tamara was admitted into the FOSJA summer festival and continued participating for the following six summers.

During her time living in Puerto Rico, Tamara studied with Jaime Medina, and served as Concertmaster for the Advanced Orchestra for two years. In 1999, at the age of 15, Tamara graduated early from the Preparatory Program and began studying in the P.R. Conservatory of Music ,with Henry Hutchinson. In the summer of 1999, Tamara attended Interlochen Arts Camp for the first time and was a member of WYSO. She also began her viola studies at Interlochen that summer and continued to attend Interlochen through the summer of 2001, when she was awarded the Emerson Scholar for Puerto Rico. Also in 2001, Mrs. Gonzalez won first place at the Puerto Rico Conservatory Concerto Competition and first place at the FOSJA Concerto Competition. In the fall of 2001, Tamara began her studies at DePaul University with Joseph Genualdi and later with Robert Waters. She served as Concertmaster for the DePaul Chamber Orchestra through-out her time at DePaul and graduated in 2005 with a BM in Violin Performance. Tamara returned to DePaul and in 2010 obtained an M.M with Honors in Violin Performance, studying with Olga Kaler.

Tamara Gonzalez enjoys an active career as a free-lance violinist and violin/viola instructor in the Chicago area. She has taught at DePaul Community Music, Smiling Strings, Music Institute of Chicago and in the fall of 2011 will serve as Coordinator and Department Head of the Suzuki Department for Sherwood Community Music School. She has received Suzuki Teacher Training through Suzuki Book 5, and will continue her training in the fall of 2011. She has had success instructing Suzuki students as young three years old, as well as working on advanced concerti with her high school students at Lane Technical High School, and Vernon Hills High School. Tamara is an active performer, and has played as a member of the Sphinx Festival Orchestra, Chicago Classical Symphony, Rockford Symphony and the Chicago Sinfonietta. She looks forward to performing various solo and chamber recitals in the 2011-2012 season.

Mrs. Gonzalez resides in the Ravenswood neighborhood in Chicago, with her husband Joseph Kosowski, whom she married in September of 2010. 


Where did you receive your education? I received an M.M. in violin performance with honors from DePaul University, 2010

What is your hometown? San Juan, PR

What is your preferred age to teach? I really enjoy working with children as young as 3 years old. They have so much energy and curiosity. I also love working with advanced High School aged students, guiding them through the incredible wealth of violin repertoire.

What is your preferred student level to teach? I enjoy working with all levels.

How long have you been at Sherwood? Since 2009.

What do you want to impart to your students through your teaching? I want to train independent learners, who enjoy the process of music exploration. I hope that through my positive reinforcement and high standards of execution, they grow a healthy self esteem and enjoy the learning process.

Are there specific methods/ techniques that you use in your teaching that may be important to share with new students? I believe that involving parents in the learning process is key to success, especially when working with younger students.  Also, I have found that teaching the student how to practice and having them practice something for me in the lesson is a big part of being an efficient and successful teacher.  It is the only way to make sure that a student has really understood the teaching point.

What do you most enjoy about teaching? I love guiding my students to that "aha" moment, when something they've been struggling with finally clicks.

Describe your musical pursuits outside of Sherwood. I am on faculty at Music Institute of Chicago and maintain a home studio of students. I perform regularly with Chicago Sinfonietta, Rockford Symphony and Illinois Symphony orchestras. I am also a free-lance violinist and violist.

What is your earliest musical experience or best musical memory? I always loved playing with my youth orchestra at Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, and performing in chamber groups with my older sister who is a violinist, and my younger brother who is a cellist.

Please describe one of your favorite teachers or mentors. My primary teacher in Puerto Rico, Jaime Medina, was more than a teacher to me. He was like a mentor and a grandfather, all rolled into one.

Who is your favorite composer or what is your favorite musical period? I have a hard time choosing a favorite composer or musical period, but I love playing the Bach unaccompanied works for violin and viola.

About you: I love cooking almost as much as I love making and teaching music.