Sierra Strings is a violin academy based in Sonora, California. Sierra Strings provides private lessons and group classes for violin and fiddle students of all ages and ability levels. We believe in providing students with a strong technical foundation, so that they may creatively explore their music. We heavily emphasize music theory, music history and critical listening skills because we strive to provide students with a complete music education.
Director and teacher Makena Clark has performed in many different places across the globe, including the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, and a tour of Italy with the Suzuki School of Northern California. She recently performed in Germany and Prague with the CSU Long Beach Chamber Orchestra.
At University of the Pacific, Makena was concertmaster of University Symphony Orchestra, performed with many successful chamber groups and gave two solo recitals of her own. While pursuing her Masters degree, Makena performed with many orchestral and chamber ensembles at CSU Long Beach. While in Southern California, she successfully auditioned as a section violinist for the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Chamber Orchestra, as well as the the American Youth Symphony. She holds a violin contract with the Reno Philharmonic, and enjoys performing with a variety of orchestras throughout California’s Central Valley.
Makena is extremely passionate about teaching and advocating for the arts. Throughout undergrad, she was an instructor for Harmony Stockton, an El Sistema inspired music program, and taught a successful string orchestra at Kohl Elementary School in Stockton. She has also taught at the Santa Monica Conservatory of Music, and served as the director and lead teacher for El Segundo Seaside Strings, an after school strings program for more than 75 students. She has enjoyed teaching for Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s Summer Music Institute in Idaho. She has also maintained private violin, viola and cello studios in both Stockton and Long Beach.
Since childhood, she dreamed of returning to the Sierra Nevada mountains to open a music school. Makena opened Sierra Strings, in Downtown Sonora, in the summer of 2019. She currently has 50 students enrolled.
Makena studied with Dr. Moni Simeonov at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, where she completed her Masters of Music in violin performance. Ms. Clark completed her Bachelors of Music in violin performance at University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Igor Veligan. Her former teachers have included Dr. Ann Miller, Mr. Brook Moes, Dr. Warren van Bronkorst, and Maestro Eugene Stoia.
When Makena is not teaching or performing, you can find her hiking, backpacking or skiing in the beautiful Sierra Nevada with her adorable pup, Summit!