Teacher's Approach to Cello Lessons

                                                                         Levels Taught : Beginner to Advanced Cello

Each cello student is so different from one another that it is impossible to have one set
method that will be successful for every student and even every Cello lesson. People
will sometimes learn differently on different days, depending on how they feel.

One thing that I have learned and that has become a constant in my approach
to teaching Cello is this: never allow serious flaws in Cello technique to go
unaddressed for a long period of time.  This makes it harder to break bad habits
and create good ones. And since correct technique helps us to avoid injuring ourselves
during practice, it is of utmost importance to play properly.

Aside from that, all other aspects of my cello teaching remain flexible and receptive to each
students' individual needs. 

Outlined below is my basic approach. I've found that it helps
 most students progress quickly through their music, while giving them
a good grasp on sight-reading.

Cello Lessons for Young Children, ages 4 to 10
For young children, I focus quite a bit on ear training (learning pieces by listening and mimicking) and rhythm practice (clapping, stomping, or speaking rhythms -Kids usually have a lot of fun doing this, as well).
However, I believe it is very important for the student to get a well rounded education musically. If you only allow the student to learn by ear, then the student will inevitably hit a road block as they advance, and it will be necessary for them to relearn a lot of musical concepts. Understandably, this can be very frustrating for the student, so I make certain to avoid it. Therefore, note recognition and note naming while playing is incorporated at each lesson.

In addition, I allow the student to concentrate on building strength in the left hand gradually.
This is important, since the Cello has such big strings and takes a bit more strength than, say, the violin.

Important Note: I expect each student to master the  basics, since playing with improper technique is a large culprit for musical injuries. Poor technique also greatly increases the difficulty in playing. Cello technique was developed over many years by great masters who found the best and most efficient way of playing.
I usually begin my students with repertoire from  the Suzuki Cello Method books and, as they progress, move into standard repertoire of the cello.

Cello Lessons Adults and Children 11 and up

Older children and adult beginners learn from Suzuki Cello Books and String Builder or similar methods (String Builder is a method that teaches note reading at a gradual pace). I assign standard cello etudes and
exercises to build strength and improve control. I advise my students to listen to music
every day, if possible (especially the pieces they are studying). Listening to recordings as well as live performances will train their ear and increase the rate in which they progress. It is also important for the student to perform* every opportunity that they get.

Intermediate to Advanced-  My more advanced students learn from the standard repertoire of the cello.
They acquire advanced and extended techniques using methods of Dotzauer and Lee, and exercises of Sevcik, Popper, and more.  As I have said before,  each student, no matter the age or level of playing, is required to master the basic position and technique of the cello.

  • Performance Performing is an essential part of all musicians' experiences and studies. My students are required to perform in recitals that I personally provide once or twice a year, and should actively pursue other performance engagements as well (I will advise them on how to do this).

© Adam's violoncello studio - Located in Chester County, PA
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