Testimonials


Weddings and Events


"I highly recommend Laurel Thomsen for your special event. She is a joy to work with and brings the highest level of talent and professionalism to her art. I contacted Laurel after reading reviews and recommendations and looking over her impressive repertoire. As music has always been very important to my family I wanted that reflected in my wedding ceremony with a large prelude and postlude. Laurel immediately responded to all my emails and phone calls and provided great suggestions and recommendations for the musical arrangement. I was interested in having a violin/cello duo and Laurel made all the arrangements with the cellist and provided a completely stress-free experience. Payment was so easy through PayPal. On wedding day she took care of setup and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. The level of musical ability and performance that Laurel provides is a must-have addition to any wedding or event. She knows the music and knows how it should be performed. We had a beautiful wedding and Laurel’s music was a wonderful part that we will always remember."

~James Kervern

Groom



“Wow! You guys were so amazing! You helped make our wedding unique, personal, and so joyful! Everyone was so pleased to hear your arrangements and I felt so lucky to have you there playing for us! I will cherish the memory forever!”

~ Rachel & John

Bride and Groom



“Laurel is certainly the most talented musician that I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. She was very flexible, traveled a significant distance, and underwent some 'country' road conditions that a lot of people would not have dealt with. She did this all for my wife's birthday, and I, as well as everyone listening, are very grateful. She is also kind, gracious, easy to talk with, and also is genteel without being remotely ostentatious. I would highly recommend her for any event, especially those that involve time-honored, classic pieces that still 'echo' down through the centuries.  Thank you Laurel.”

~ Mark Schroeder

client who booked music for a birthday celebration



“Laurel and Dan are an amazing duo! The music was above and beyond what our event called for. Both Laurel and Dan played instruments, and had incredible vocals. They are knowledgeable about a wide range of music. I would definitely book them again and recommend them to others!”

~ Jennifer S.

client who booked music for St. Patrick’s Day



“I want to extend a huge THANK YOU for such beautiful ceremony music! Walking down the aisle to “Oceans” was absolutely amazing and I really appreciate you and Dan taking the time to learn the piece. We also appreciated that you were prompt and responsive, flexible, and provided an expansive repertoire along with suggestions for our wedding. We received many compliments on the beautiful ceremony music!

~ Jaime Lockhart

Bride



“Thank you so much for your contribution to Kathryn and Andy's wedding.  The Quartet was wonderful.  I loved the singer’s voice too. I  really appreciated the music and I wish you all the best in your career.”

~Kimberly Lowe

Step-mother of Bride



“Laurel Thomsen was truly amazing! She is beautiful, so very talented and such a joy! We couldn't have asked for more! She played so beautifully before, during and after our wedding. We highly recommend her to anyone and can't thank her enough for helping to make our wedding a dream come true.”

~ L. Lester

Bride



“As the father of the bride, I knew that my daughter's expectations were going to be high. She had planned every little detail of her wedding meticulously - every detail that is, except the music for the wedding ceremony. She knew she wanted it to be simple, yet elegant. Non-traditional, yet still capable of evoking a traditional feel befitting such an ethereal occasion. Having found Laurel Thomsen online and recommending her to my daughter based upon nothing more than a "feeling" derived from reading her profile, I must admit to tempering my own expectations. I can now say unequivocally that the experience was nothing less than perfect! Professional and confident throughout the process, I believe Laurel's performance exceed every hope we could have had. Her music provided a seamless and intuitively poignant thread that helped weave everything else into a truly awesome moment in time. I am glad we made the choice to place our trust in Laurel. The results were "pitch perfect".”

~George Osborne

Father of the Bride



“Laurel and her guitarist, Dan, provided exceptional music to our event. I felt this was the best entertainment for the evening. We will certainly have them back for future events. Five Stars”

~ Todd C

client who booked music for St. Patrick’s Day  



"Laurel Thomsen’s music added so much beauty to our beach wedding.  As I walked down the aisle I could hear the violin mixed in with the sound of the waves and the ocean breeze. It made the moment magical. Thank you so much for helping to make my wedding unique and truly unforgettable. You are awesome!  Thank You!"

~Lynn Naves

Bride



"Laurel Thomsen was an essential part of our wedding celebration.  She was a pleasure to work with from beginning to end and really went out of her way to make sure that her music fit with our overall vision, including arranging an accompanying musician.  She is so talented and all of our guests were amazed that we had someone of her caliber providing music for our wedding. We were truly lucky to have her and would recommend her for any wedding, or party for that matter- from a small garden get-together to a formal gala!"

-Lauren and Eli Lessard

Bride and Groom



“Thank you, Laurel Thomsen, for the beautiful music! Your gift made our day even more special.”

~ Linda and Chris

Brides



“Thank you so much for your music. It contributed so much to the beauty of a most memorable day. Like all those who spoke so well of your performance, I too offer my personal compliments which you so richly deserve.”

~J. N.

Father of the Bride



“Thank you Laurel for the beautiful music to begin our event. I've also enjoyed listening to your CD.”

~T. D.

Gallery Owner


“I cannot explain how amazing this woman is! She really did a great job playing for my fiancée and I on our special day. She is very professional and my God this was all a surprise for my lady and the way she slowly played her violin towards where we were seated was just awesome. Everything went so smoothly. I will definitely recommend her and hire her again on any special events. Again thank you Laurel god bless you!

~ Ivan B.

client who booked music for a surprise engagement proposal



“Thanks for all your efforts in playing for our ceremony! Even through the unexpected Jade Fest you found the beach and sounded wonderful! You're an excellent musician, thanks again!!”

~Heidi Potton

Bride



“Laurel, thank you so much. We greatly appreciate the quality service you provided.  I especially loved the “Lonely Shepherd.” You played it just how I imagined.  Everyone talked to me about how wonderful your music was. You were just amazing, and full of talent. I am so glad you played for our special day.”

~Jessica Grote

Bride


“Our guests loved Laurel and Dave's time with us. They were easy to work with, and without ever meeting me or coming to previous events, knew exactly the music style we wanted from my not so great description of what I was hoping for. Worth every penny to book these local musicians. Was the perfect compliment to a farm to table dinner in the vineyard. Thank you, Laurel!”

~ Katie O.

client who booked music for a farm-to-table event



“Your music was gorgeous! All of our guests commented on how beautiful it was. THANK YOU so much for your wonderful performance at our wedding. We loved it.”  

~A. & J. L.

Bride & Groom



“Thank you Laurel Thomsen for your beautiful violin playing! I heard your music while I was getting dressed with all the women and of course during the wedding ceremony. It was lovely and it really provided us with such great memories - beautiful music on a beautiful, sunny, blue, warm Carmel day in August. You were a real pleasure to work with and we appreciate your time and energy. We are so glad you were able to share with us on our special day! Thank you!

~J. A. Hansen

Bride


“Laurel played at an artist's open studio at our home. She played a wide variety of styles and was very warm and accommodating to requests for particular songs or genres. She even sang one of her original songs at the end. A most enjoyable evening!”

~ Earl V.

client who booked music for an artist’s open studio event




“Laurel Thomsen did a fantastic job for our wedding. We contacted her rather late and she was quick to respond with helpful suggestions for music. The violin was a perfect addition to our outdoor setting. Thank you Laurel for a great job!”

~ J. Comerford

Mother of the Bride



“Laurel played violin for our outdoor wedding in Woodside, CA. She was prompt and professional with our email correspondence leading up to the event. She helped us pick our processional songs and also helped decide what would be the best instrument combo -- we ended up going with violin and guitar and it was the perfect choice. Laurel prepared a special song that wasn't on their repertoire list for me to walk down the aisle to, and even in all the emotions of the moment, I thought, "Wow, that's exactly what I wanted to hear." They also played during our cocktail hour. I was off taking pictures, but I could hear the sweet violin and punchy guitar floating across the lawn beautifully. Their sound and song choices were EXACTLY the vibe I wanted to set. Everyone absolutely adored them. My only regret is not having the opportunity to meet them and thank them in person. Thank you Laurel and Dan for being everything we hoped for and more. You are incredibly talented and made this picky bride's wedding music dreams come true.”

~ Aurora C.

Bride



“We had Laurel and her guitar partner play for my daughters wedding ceremony. The music was beautiful. Many guests commented on how wonderfully they played. The music variety was wonderful as well. They were also very accommodating with the change in locations. We would absolutely recommend her.”

~ S. Lauer

Mother of the Bride


House concerts and public performances



Read host reviews from the Dan and Laurel guestbook:

http://www.concertsinyourhome.com/artists/recommendations.html?uid=DanFrechetteLaurelThomsen


“Making beautiful music together, this duo lit up the MayFest stage…a remarkable singing voice…a match made in heaven.”

-Dennis Taylor,

The Monterey Herald


“I walked to the back [of Monterey Live] and caught the tail end of a song being performed with tremendous conviction and beauty. ...to my near disbelief I was experiencing this performance by these two women who played piano and violin as one sang something about oblivion. When the song was over I tried to say a few hellos, but all that came out was stuff like  "Holy Shit" and "Did you hear that?" ...I [was] on [set] break [and had to] get back to the [Mucky] Duck". As [my band] tuned up to start our next set, I tried to tell my band what I had just witnessed. We had to play, but I couldn't stay in the moment. I was too busy thinking that I hadn't been part of an original [music] scene since the early days of the black box, but one was indeed happening RIGHT NOW! I haven't had a chance to see [Sahra Baker and Laurel Thomsen] since, but you two were truly stunning that night and I'm glad to finally be able to tell you now that I've put the pieces together.”

~Dave Phillips,

musician, recording engineer



“That was cosmic...”

~David Stafford

host of KKUP Friday Folk-Off


“Excellent Band! Such a great show, you'll be glad you went to see them play. The music is wonderful, especially the outstanding performance by Laurel Thomsen, and the vocals are amazing! If you like Cat Stevens this is the band for you.”

~Lori

fan, about Peace Train


“ At a performance in Santa Cruz during July 2008, Peace Train received two standing ovations lasting for several minutes each. The response to hearing these classic songs performed in concert is outstanding.”

~David Bean

fan, about Peace Train

Podcast


See https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/violin-geek-podcast/id374305295


Recordings



"...beautiful rapport...judicious violin...Frechette and Thomsen maintain absolute harmony while jumping from genre to genre...fascinating undertones and range...phenomenal guitar playing...prodigious players (with) songwriting that sets them apart..." 

- Penguins Eggs

about “Between the Rain”


“The waltz tune is as good as it gets...and the other musicians on that record were so tasteful it hurt."

~Patrick C.

fan, about Laurel’s EP “Light & Shadow”


“Downloaded you new album and the music is breathtaking. The vocals, the harmony, and the artistry of guitar and violin are the absolute best. My only joyous complaint is that every time I listen to "Why Do Angles Fly" I get emotional and can't hold back the tears. Also, I usually listen to the music while I am at the health club and the very peppy violin song on the album causes me to almost double my normal pace on the elliptical machine so you and Dan are unknowingly contributing to both my mental and physical health. I would love to see you guys in concert around the Atlanta/Athens GA area. Keep the excellent music flowing.”

~Bob Mauney

about “Dan and Laurel”


I LOVE this CD. I love Shannon’s voice and I love Laurels violin and viola. I'm Irish and have heard Irish Music all my life, these two women know how to put it out there with the lilt and loveliness that it deserves.”

~Katheleen P. Oliver

fan

about the Sweetfire CD, “Sweetfire”


“One of the CD’s best tracks is the opener, “Sea of Cortez.” It’s a catchy acoustic folk song buoyed by violin courtesy of Laurel Thomsen.”

~Stuart Thornton

columnist for the Monterey Herald

writing about the Rose Merrill CD, “Driving Home”


“The singer has a great voice, and the violinist sounds beautiful. If you like Irish folk music than you'll surely like this. ‘Carrick Fergus’ is my favorite.”

~ James Weinstein

fan

about the Sweetfire CD, “Sweetfire”


“This a beautiful album. The vocals are excellent, and the violin takes me away to a different world. I could listen to this album for hours and let it transport me away. If you like celtic music, you’ll love this album.”

~anonymous

fan

about the Sweetfire CD, “Sweetfire”



Studio Work


“Melodic, tuneful, soaring, emotional, rumpus, and fun! These are just a few of the ways that Laurel Thomsen helped to sculpt and lift every song she played on. Her deft touch and ear added to the meaning and meaningfulness of every song. Laurel Thomsen has a gift for music. I highly recommend Laurel for any musical project that you even think might sound good with violin, viola, or fiddle.”

~Kevin Michael Smith

singer-songwriter


“Laurel Thomsen is one of the best session players I’ve worked with. She works out great parts, comes prepared, and her playing is very consistent, making it easy to find usable takes. Her vocals and violin/viola blend fabulously in the mix. She has a great ear for arranging and blending, and it’s been a great help to have her there when listening back to mixes, helping choose the best performances, and making the job of the producer easier.  Laurel is creative, relaxed, open to new ideas, and really has a gift for creating memorable performances. ”

~Dan Frechette
singer-songwriter

www.danfrechette.com



Teaching



“As an adult student returning to playing after 30 years, I feel fortunate to have found Laurel. She is an exceptional teacher. She is knowledgeable, patient and insightful. My level of playing has improved in a short amount of time under her guidance. She identifies my challenges and offers specific strategies to improve my technique. In addition, Laurel has expanded my awareness and my ability to interpret the music, beyond the notes on the page. She creates an atmosphere of encouragement and support.  I, also, appreciate her willingness to teach via Skype. I am looking forward to continuing to realize great results that outstanding teaching can bring. Laurel is the best!”

~ Kathy

adult viola student


"I can't at present have Skype lessons with Laurel because my broadband connection isn't fast enough, so I decided to try her system of teaching by video exchange. I was a bit doubtful about this at first, because I had previously tried video exchange study on a well-known website where the responses tended to be quite slow and where they didn't always seem to account for the instruction in previous exchanges. I needn't have worried. Laurel responds pretty fast - on the same day even - and I feel like I’m getting the kind of individual attention normally associated only with conventional in-person lessons. And I can watch each response as often as I want whereas with face-to-face lessons I quickly forget most of what the teacher said."

~ James

adult video exchange viola student



“I'm an adult student who took up the violin 6 years ago in hopes of being able to enjoy playing music with friends. Up until this point, progress has been painstakingly slow. I was frustrated and considered giving up. Instead, I decided to change teachers to see if a fresh approach would help. I've been taking lessons from Laurel Thomsen for 10 months now, and I've made so much progress! She's an expert in isolating problems, and has a wealth of information available in addition to private lessons, including her podcasts and "Improve Your Bowing Technique" videos. She's helped me gain a new positive attitude. For the first time, I am really enjoying playing music.”

~Denise

adult violin/fiddle student



“After a few lessons with Laurel, not only did I have a desire to learn, I had a desire to feed my soul, through violin. Going into it, I had just wanted to learn something new, learn a few tunes, etc., but Laurel has motivated me to master a classical instrument, and I feel the opportunity to do so under her instruction. She has the ability to pull something out of you, you did not know existed in your capabilities. Laurel teaches violin in a personal way that I can connect with, only inspiring me more, to work hard, grow, and play beautiful music through the violin.”

~Brittany

adult violin student


“Laurel Thomsen has a warm, encouraging personality, and excellent musical skills which make learning the violin, even for an adult learner like myself, a pleasure. Laurel works with me on integrating ear training, tone, body mechanics, and rhythm in a supportive, non-threatening manner. I look forward to my lessons each week!

~Jacqueline

adult violin/fiddle student



"We have been SO pleased with our violin lessons via Skype with Laurel Thomsen. When we moved internationally and could not find suitable violin instruction for our son we began searching for a teacher who’s be willing to do this. Laurel was quick to answer my inquiry and set up a time that worked for both of us to do a "trial run". After she had a chance to meet our son and get a feel for his ability, we determined that this could be a good fit for us and began weekly lessons. We have had almost no trouble with the connection speed, and the sound quality and video have been great. Laurel’s explanations are very clear, so she is able to fine-tune our son's technique even without being able to physically help him. She is extremely patient, very upbeat, and has had lots of good ideas to hone our son's violin skills and keep him interested and motivated. She has also recorded sound recordings for him to aid in his practice and has always been very prompt in replying to any questions. Lessons with Laurel Thomsen via Skype are a great option for anyone."

~Mary

mother of international Skype violin student



“I am an adult student with no background in music and work a great deal. Laurel Thomsen’s Skype violin lessons have helped my technique and helped other areas such as ear training and music theory. She is patient and understanding that my busy schedule will at times impact the amount of time I have available to practice. However, her podcasts and articles in Strings magazines as well as her Bowing Technique guide are good supplements available to use when you have limited time.”

~ David

adult Skype violin student



“Laurel Thomsen has taught me so much. She is a wonderful teacher. She is patient and willing to wait for me to correct my mistakes. She gives me guidance on how to improve my style, technique, and tone. Laurel likes to teach and is very caring. She will demonstrate how to play the a piece of music, or play with you to help you get a better feel for it. Laurel has taught me to really enjoy music and to have fun with it.”

~Sierra, 12

violin student



“My oldest son started taking violin lessons with Laurel when he was 5 years old. We had a recommendation from some friends who thought she would work well with him. We found Laurel to be extremely accommodating. I could even bring my younger son to class and Laurel would include him in the lesson too, so he sometimes brought a drum or some other instrument to the lesson. I attended all the lessons and went through the motions of holding a 4/4 violin when Laurel asked because I was trying to lead my son into violin by example.


After a year my son decided that he would rather work on piano, so we let him stop going to lessons. We figured it had been a good exercise for him and were ready to leave it at that, but we were amazed with his aptitude as he worked on piano because he obviously absorbed a lot of music theory in his year with Laurel.


In the meantime my younger son and I continued to go to lessons with Laurel.  She was so patient with him as she worked to draw him out. He wasn't ready for the 30 minute lessons, but by this time I had absorbed enough understanding of the violin to spend the balance of the time on lessons for myself. Laurel is incredibly flexible in being able to work with him or entertain him with drawing or coloring while also watching me, listening to my efforts, and correcting as needed as I worked through the first two Suzuki books along with waltzes and reels. I don't know a teacher so perfect for our musical needs who could come close to Laurel.”

~Tom Hamrick

father of a violin and a cello student, adult violin/fiddle student



"Laurel finds new ways to make her teaching fun."

~Skyler, 11

international Skype violin student



“I look forward to my weekly violin lesson with Laurel Thomsen. I like how she focuses on one or two new things to work on each week. In this way I don’t feel overwhelmed and can really concentrate on what’s important. I never thought I would be playing the violin this well after taking lessons for only a year! Laurel uses various teaching methods and when I don’t understand a new technique, she easily takes a new approach that works better for me. Laurel is really good at pinpointing exactly what I need to focus on every week. It feels like a natural progression. I am amazed at how minor corrections can have such a big impact on the quality of my sound! When I started taking lessons I thought I would never be able to play in tune, but Laurel has helped me train my ears so that now I can readily hear if a note is slightly sharp or flat. I feel lucky to have found the best violin/fiddle teacher!”

~Amanda

adult violin/fiddle student



“Skype has given us the freedom to still have Hana's violin lesson when we are unable to make the trip to Laurel Thomsen’s home studio. We have used Skype during my surgical recovery, and when Hana has been a little under the weather. Hana likes it because it’s fun, different, and introduces a new element to her lessons. She enjoyed taking the laptop camera on a tour of her bedroom to share her room with Laurel. Getting set-up was inexpensive and extremely easy. We will continue to use Skype for violin lessons whenever necessary, and maybe just because we want to!

~Cathi

mother of violin student



“Laurel Thomsen is a great teacher because she plays really well herself, and enjoys children and teaching. I enjoy when Laurel plays duets with me.”

~Alex, 8

violin student



“Laurel Thomsen has been the sole private instructor for my daughter, Sierra. We have been very pleased with the level of musicianship Sierra has reached with Laurel’s help. More importantly, Sierra’s enthusiasm for playing violin has only increased.


Sierra began studying violin in July 1999, having weekly lessons with Laurel. After just one year of lessons with Laurel, Sierra began playing in the Monterey Peninsula’s Orchestra in the Schools program, and was promptly named first chair of the second violins. By the opening concert of the following season, she was named concert mistress!


Laurel’s zest for music is contagious. Her character, values, communication skills, sensitivity, and sense of personal responsibility are far above what is usually found in someone her age. It brings tears to my eye’s to hear the beautiful duets that she and Sierra play together. Sierra’s playing has become so accomplished. It brings me great joy. I am deeply grateful that Sierra has had the blessing of Laurel’s fine instruction.”

~Mari Lynch

mother of a violin student



“We really appreciate the fun atmosphere that Laurel Thomsen creates in lessons. Our daughter always comes home with stories, songs, and tools. She has changed from being frustrated with the violin to being excited to share with everyone. She has also cultivated a love for all types of music and can pick out the sound of the violin in all songs!”

~Jennifer & Konrad Kozicki

parents of a young violin student



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