Private music lessons are taught one-on-one with the instructor on a weekly basis. I am happy to work with students in order to find lesson times that best fit their schedule and needs. Below is a general list of my studio policies.
As a teacher, I always encourage basic skills including scales, sight-reading, technical exercises and rhythmic training. I aim to provide my students with the tools necessary to become competent cellists and well-rounded musicians. Making sure that students have a firm grasp of fundamental skills is my top teaching priority, especially with beginning students. The ability to read music with ease, and basic technique to produce a good sound are the foundation that I build upon with my students. As students progress, I encourage them to reflect on their playing, asking them questions such as “what did you think of this passage?” The goal of contemplating what is happening in the moment encourages more cognitive practice sessions, influencing students to become their own teacher, and make the most effective use of practice time.
Away from the cello, I also teach my students basic music history, theory, and rhythmic training. These tools can help influence how a student decides to phrase a piece and is extremely beneficial in the practice room. Music from different time periods also place a wide variety of technical demands on a cellist. It is important that students become acquainted with these techniques to enhance performance interpretations and to develop into mature musicians. I encourage all of my students to perform works from all major musical eras and to listen to many musical examples as well.
I am a strong believer in the benefits of chamber music so I make a point to include opportunities for all my students to play duets and learn chamber music skills. Chamber music demands a great deal of responsibility of one’s own part while simultaneously being aware of everything else that is going on and adjusting to each other as they play. It also encourages teamwork and leadership roles while making music, encouraging the interactive exchange of musical ideas and most importantly, it’s fun!
Parental awareness and encouragement are keys to helping students practice successfully. I keep lines of communication open with parents at all times, and encourage their input to help me be a better teacher for their children. Parents are always allowed to sit in on a lessons. Especially with young students, I encourage parents to be involved in their child’s learning process, to help reinforce what the child is learning in lessons during at-home practice time.
Finally, I am most interested in what each individual wants to learn on their instrument. Getting to learn concepts that you have chosen yourself will help encourage practice and will make the finished product and process of learning all the more rewarding. Above all, while many of my students may not pursue a career in music, I hope to help them identify skills that can be applied in all walks of life through cello lessons. Most of all, I want my students to enjoy making music!
As students study with me, it is my goal for my students to:
- Learn to play with great technique and a beautiful tone.
- Learn a wide variety of repertoire, etudes, and all of their scales and arpeggios.
- Set achievable short term goals for their playing.
- Learn to independently select fingerings and bowings for their repertoire, and explain what prompted these selections.
- Identify areas in which they are progressing as well as areas in which they need work.
- Learn basic level music theory and music history and how both can be applied to their repertoire.
- Enjoy all aspects of music!
Deciding to learn a musical instrument is a huge commitment, but can be very rewarding! As I will be doing my best to uphold my half of the bargain when teaching, I expect my students to uphold their responsibilities. Students will:
- Come to lessons with their music prepared. If there are sections of a piece they are struggling with, I encourage them to bring questions for me.
- Bring their music, an assignment notebook, and a pencil to every lesson.
- Arrive promptly.
- Put forth their best effort, and be open to a variety of ideas put forth by the teacher
- Obtain new music in a timely manner by way of ordering it (or IMSLP if need be)
- Make lesson payments on time (Parents!)
- Payment is due at the beginning of the first lesson of every month.
- However many days of the month that the lesson falls on is how many lessons must be paid for in the first lesson of the month (for example: if a student has a lesson on Thursday, and there are four Thursdays in a month, then four lessons must be paid for. If the next month only has three Thursdays, then only three lessons need to be paid in full at the first lesson).
- Lesson rates vary depending on the length of the lesson. Rates vary from $20-30 per lesson. A variety of lesson times are available, including 30 minute, 45 minute and 60 minute lessons. If payment is not made in full at their first lesson of the month, there will be a $5.00 late fee. Every week they do not pay is another $5.00 (first time they do not pay they owe $5 extra. Second time they do not pay they owe $10). Exceptions can be made in special circumstances.
- Students or Parents will let me know of any planned absences ahead of time. We can work to schedule a make-up lesson, or the student will not have a lesson and will not be charged.
- Time slots are reserved exclusively for each student and the instructor must be notified in the event of a cancellation. As courtesy to your instructor, cancellations must be made a minimum of 24 - 48 hours in advance in order for a make-up lesson to be scheduled.
- If a student falls ill, a make-up lesson is possible as long as I am notified a reasonable amount of time prior to the scheduled lesson.
- If I am ill, I will schedule make-up lessons for my students.
- Any conflicting dates or holidays known in advance should be scheduled ahead of time.
- Students who do not come to their lessons and do not notify me prior will be charged for the lesson skipped.
Spending quality time with your instrument is essential in order to help with memory retention and musical development. Therefore it is important that each student spends daily, non-interrupted practice time with their instrument. Developement of good practice habits is essential in promoting progress. Practice length will vary depending on their assignment and ability. A good rule of thumb is that students should practice the length of their lesson time (i.e. students taking 30 minute lessons should practice 30 minutes per day and students taking 60 minute lessons should practice 60 minutes per day.) Above all my philosophy on practicing is focused on the quality of the practice rather than the quantity. I spend time with each of my students going over different practicing methods to help achieve this as well as keeping your practice time at home interesting.
Lastly, it is also important to have fun during practice, so I encourage my students to take time to experiment and explore with music that interests you (and improvise!) and above all, enjoy your time with your instrument!
"The difference between ordinary and extrordinary is practice." -Vladimir Horowitz
"Mastering music is more than learning technical skills. Practicing is about quality not quantity. Some days I practice four hours; other days it will be just a few minutes." - Yo-Yo Ma