Welcome to my teaching page! I have enjoyed more than a decade (and counting) of experience as an educator, ranging from teaching private cello lessons to award-winning string quartets to conducting college orchestras, and everything in between.
I currently teach a small-but-mighty studio of cello students at my home in the North Berkeley hills. My students range from age 6 to 60. I’m delighted to teach almost all ages, though I leave the very youngest students to those with specialized training. My students are consistently the top players in their school orchestras, regularly win competitions around the Bay Area, and are admitted to the finest music schools and conservatories. I recently sent a graduating senior to Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with a large scholarship!
As an educator, I believe in installing fundamental skills first rather than band-aid solutions that fix one problem and create two more. Posture, note-reading, rhythm, and shifting are emphasized in every lesson. I assign a curriculum that makes these fundamental skills easy and enjoyable to develop. Along with scales and etudes, my students work on one or two solo pieces at a time, with skills tightly integrated across weekly assignment. Every lesson ends with duet playing — for fun, and for ensemble and listening skills! You can learn more about my curriculum here.
I believe that music is a medium for self-expression, joy, and social cohesion; and I actively work to promote these values to the young people I mentor. Similarly, I endeavor to teach persistence and the value of slow, incremental progress through musical training. I strongly reject the premise of music as just another ‘activity’ young people can show up for and add to their college applications. To me, learning a craft — like cello — is the ultimate antidote to the instant-gratification society we live in today.
With this emphasis on personal and community growth through music, it follows that I’m supportive of activities that lead to performance and collaboration. Recitals, chamber music, orchestral work, concertos, competitions and adjudications all create opportunities for public performance, motivate the student to prepare to a high level, and allow students to receive input from other educators. These are all desirable ends.
In the age of COVID-19 and distance learning, I have “leaned in” to teaching cello lessons online, with great success. I use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, and all my students report general satisfaction with their cello lessons and progress at the instrument. And, with so much time to practice, everyone is making great progress!
I cut my teeth as a teacher in the Berkeley Unified School District, teaching cello, coaching chamber music, and conducting orchestras at Thousand Oaks Elementary School, Martin Luther King Middle School, and Berkeley High School as an undergraduate student-teacher, graduate assistant, and professional guest artist. More recently, I founded Solano Youth Chamber Orchestra, a highly selective group of 25 young string players in Vacaville, CA, and served as its Music Director and Conductor for five seasons. Teaching young people to play together is one of the great joys in a musician’s life!
If you, or your child, would like to talk about cello lessons, please get in touch through the “contact” page on this site. My rates and policies are comparable to similar teachers in the region, and my schedule can be as flexible or predictable as you’d like. And, I tend to get along with almost everyone. Let’s talk.