Join the Solo and Ensemble Studio Class for High Schoolers

Friday January 21st at 6:30pm (CST) on Zoom

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Violist & Founder, Aspire Music

Dawson White

Performer, educator, and career coach, Dawson White is committed to transforming musicians positively. He plays full time with the Houston Grand Opera & Ballet orchestras and teaches at the University of St. Thomas. Teaching specialities include development of authentic viola sound, conservatory-minded technique, orchestral audition training, repertoire building, performance mindset, mentorship and career coaching. Dawson earned degrees from Rice University, Baylor University, and is completing his DMA in Viola Performance and Music Entrepreneurship from the University of North Texas.

"I created Aspire Viola Academy to instigate powerful change in violists seeking musical, technical, and career transformation. My mission is to help viola players achieve rigorous college and career aspirations through a holistic approach and entrepreneurial mindset. From one-on-one lessons to online courses and career coaching, AVA is an international music school devoted to all viola levels" - Dawson White

  • Symphony/Opera/Ballet Musician

  • Solo/Chamber Musician

  • Professor/Private Studio Builder

  • Artist Entrepreneur/Arts Administrator

  • Passionate Hobbyist/Lifelong Learner

  • Educator with Viola-Curated Resources

  • Principal Violist of Your School Orchestra

  • Competition Winner

Join the Community

You'll receive free resources, guides, and tips to help you reach those goals. Sign up and get your FREE GUIDE to Authentic Viola Sound in 5 Steps as well as future live/online events and new course launches.

Holistic Approach + Entrepreneurial Mindset

AVA is a progressive concept that transcends the traditional lesson model. Violists are supported at all points in their journey from beginning foundations, middle/high school, to college and professional audition preparation, creative business formation, and hobbyist skill building.

  • Lessons

    One-on-One weekly viola lessons focusing on specific goals. Free monthly STUDIO CLASS. In person (Houston) or online (Zoom).

  • Online Courses

    Self-guided online courses on various topics with new course launches regularly. Courses include Developing an Authentic Viola Sound, Practicing with Intention, Creative Business Mindset, and more to come.

  • Career Coaching

    Career Coaching program designed for musicians looking to find purpose in their life and a path towards a sustainable career.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

"Aspire Viola Academy embraces musicians of all levels, races, religions, sexualities, gender identity/expressions, and ages. We celebrate each other’s differences and actively develop empathy to understand one another." Core values: Empathy. Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. Anti-Racism. Respect. Excellence.

Aspire Viola Academy is founded on the principle that every learner is worthy of empathy, respect, and access to high-level viola instruction. Students with financial challenges, currency exchange limitations, technology barriers, or any other issues will be offered ways to participate in AVA programming. Please contact Dawson White for more details.

Beyond Lessons

Go beyond lessons with self-guided online courses that develop the aspiring musician holistically through technical, musical, career, and wellness topics. Or develop your viola career intentionally through career coaching sessions.


Sergio Lozano

DePaul University MM, Williams Harris Lee

"I studied with Dawson for 8 months as I prepared for grad school auditions. His guidance was inspirational and gave me a sense of confidence around my playing. I was successful in my pursuits and now look back on that time I studied with him in deep gratitude. He is a resourceful and open-minded individual whom I consider to be a great friend and trusted colleague. Exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable, he is among the next generation of remarkable educators and performing talent."

Corban Taylor

University of St. Thomas MLA, Symphony of Southeast Texas

"Dawson’s approach to teaching is unique to every student. Not only does he emphasize the importance of technique, musicality, and musical history, he also prioritizes the mental health of his students and the importance of mentality and music working together. Dawson gives his full attention to every student and is the most willing professor I’ve had to meet outside of lessons for help or guidance in anything music related or life in general. Dawson is not only a wonderful teacher but a mentor and it is very clear that his passion is to see his students succeed on whatever path they choose."

Mateo Calderon

University of Michigan BM

"One could say Dawson White is a splendid instructor, but in my opinion that is a crime in it of itself. Dawson White is not only a professor but a guru of some sorts. He teaches his students not only how to improve one’s technique but how to improve one’s state of mind. A true teacher cares for his students and treats them as his own and what Dawson does so well is have such a close connection to all his students in order to help them become the musician that they are destined to be. He is my inspiration to pick up my instrument every day, even if it may seem difficult, and cultivate a sense of passion that only music could do. There is no one more fitting to be a instructor than Dawson White because all he does is allow his students flourish on their own time and help them cultivate their own mindset over the viola or even the world. His methods are wonderful and refreshing and as a former student of his I can properly say that it is an honor to work beside such a great violist or in other words my hero."

Troy Stephenson

Oberlin Conservatory BM, McGill University MM

"I worked with Dawson from 2014 to 2016, and I can't call those two years anything else other than formative. When I first started out with him, I had specific technical and musical goals in mind regarding what I wanted to improve in my playing. He guided me in reaching all of them. Five years later, Dawson is not only a mentor, but also a great friend. Without Dawson, I wouldn't be where I am today."

Aspirations Achieved