Instructors from the US, Mexico and South Korea

Teo teaching at Halcyon

Teo teaching at Halcyon Strings

Teo Benson – Violin

Teo Benson began studying violin at the age of five under Linda Good, Director of the Island Strings program on Whidbey Island.  He has received an English degree with a Music minor from The Colorado College where he studied with Michael Hanson and won The Colorado College concerto competition in 2003 and 2004.  Mr. Benson has been teaching in the Seattle area for 15 years.

In 2006 Mr. Benson earned a Master of Arts in Violin Performance from The University of Washington where he studied with Ron Patterson (student of Jascha Heifetz, Eudice Shapiro and Manuel Compinsky).

Mr. Benson performs frequently in the Seattle area.  He currently performs as First Violin with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra and is the principal instructor at Halycon Strings Music School and for the Young Strings Project Outreach (see Blog). He has earned his reputation as an outstanding violin instructor for youth by combining his knowledge of the Suzuki method with his own experience of learning to play violin.

Mr. Benson performs chamber music in the Seattle area on a regular basis and is a member of the popular folk/rock band, The Crying Shame. Recently, as a founding member of Seattle-based Stop, Thief, a blues/jazz/funk band, Mr. Benson composed and recorded a CD available on iTunes and Amazon.

Click on the link below to hear Teo perform “Mexico,” a piece from the Stop, Thief! CD that he wrote for his wife Paula (who is from Guadalajara).


Paula Nava Madrigal Cello                            Paula with cello

From Guadalajara, Paula Nava Madrigal has long been committed to social justice and inclusion in music education. Helping children to learn about music and to play a musical instrument has been and continues to be the passion of her life. It is her deep belief that all children deserve to receive musical education, no matter their social, racial or economic situation. Fortunately, she has experience in achieving these goals as an instructor and conductor in Mexico thanks to her positive energy and hard work.  She has demonstrated that she has the skills and tools needed to successfully instruct young musicians in her work with youth orchestras and students of different musical and socio-economic levels.

Ms. Madrigal has worked with various related projects, such as “Elevare,” a civil association that seeks to help people achieve greater awareness and social integration by means of promoting the healthy contribution of music to society, specifically by creating choirs and orchestras and by offering opportunities for professional musicians through application of their musical talent in different sectors of society.  (See

At the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara Ms. Madrigal worked at four musical levels with students of different ages from children to adults. She conducted orchestras and taught students from different social classes and economic situations, including native people and people of limited as well as stable economic resources, all working in harmony to an end–the creation of music and equal opportunity for all.

In eleven years of preparing lessons and concerts in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school Ms. Madrigal has worked with disabled and deaf students as well as students without any previous access to culture or music who were living in social and economic situations that were truly critical.

Ms. Madrigal’s experience demonstrates that she can maintain the integrity of musical instruments in various settings, prepare and rehearse different groups, and interact with young students. In addition to her accomplishments as an instructor, Ms. Madrigal has achieved advanced musicianship in cello and a teaching knowledge of violin.

Her educational background in music as well as in education, with a specialty in psychology, has prepared her well for a career as an educator and musician. Importantly, she realizes that it is not enough to know about music. Children with social and economic challenges need more than a good musician to teach and encourage them. They need a strong role model and a caring, committed individual as their teacher.  Ms. Madrigal has demonstrated that she can meet that need.

Hye Jung (Helen) YangCello

Cellist Hye Jung (Helen) Yang received her Bachelor of music degree from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea. Upon moving to the United States, she earned a Masters degree in Education from Portland State University (PSU) and then became a licensed teacher in 2010 after completing her student teaching at Lake Oswego School District. This coming year she will be working toward her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Washington.

Helen held the post of Principal Cello with the Portland State University (PSU) Symphony Orchestra and was recipient of the Teach for Diversity Scholarship, the PSU Graduate School of Education Scholarship and Pi Lambda Theta Scholarship. She was awarded First Prize in the 2009 PSU Concerto Competition resulting in performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto with the PSU Symphony Orchestra. She was also second prize winner of the 1999 Korea Philharmonic Orchestra Competition, as well as a prize winner in the 1996 International Youth Music Contest held in South Korea.

Helen is an active performer and teacher, traveling extensively and giving performances in India and Hawaii. She has presented yearly recitals featuring her students.

Rose, violin instructor, teaching a student

Rose, violin instructor, teaching a student

Rose McIntosh – Violin

Rose earned her BA in music performance from Seattle Pacific University where she studied under Ilkka Talvi.  She has soloed with the Thalia Symphony, and has performed with the Rainier Symphony, Northwest Sinfonietta, and is now a member of the Tacoma Symphony.  In addition to playing in the Sprezzatura Trio ( Rose has been teaching privately in the Seattle area for the last 4 years.  She is also a coach with the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestras.