Teaching

Hannah Roberts on her Teaching Philosophy

Reprinted with permission from Aitchison Cellos. ‘It’s such a privilege to be involved in the evolution of another person’s progress and the benefits of this stimulating process are mutual. You learn as much as you give. The essence of it however, remains the same: sensing as much as you can about the other person’s thought process and their way of understanding is the key to being able to help them. That is the cornerstone, whether in a consultation lesson or working with a long-term student. You are constantly trying to sense what the person needs at that stage and how they are processing what you are trying to give them. Are they able to utilise it there and then? Or are you sowing the seed of the idea that may [...]

Hannah Roberts on her Musical Upbringing and Studying with William Pleeth and Ralph Kirshbaum

Reprinted with permission from Aitchison Cellos. In the first of an annual series of interviews with leading UK cello professors, Hannah Roberts talks about her musical upbringing and her experience of studying with William Pleeth and Ralph Kirshbaum. ‘I will always be grateful to my first teacher, my mother, for her unfailing dedication and for striking such a skillful balance between keeping things fun and maintaining discipline. I’m also very thankful that she tested the set up and response of my modest childhood instruments to be sure that they would work well for me because the way an instrument is set up is tremendously formative to a person’s concept of sound and physical approach. ‘I was offered a place at the Menuhin school when I was 8 years old. William [...]

Conversation with Raphael Wallfisch (July, 2004)

Interview by Tim Janof Raphael Wallfisch was born in London in 1953 into a family of distinguished musicians, his mother the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, and his father the pianist Peter Wallfisch. At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers, including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino, and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life's work. While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky in California, he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetz in the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home. At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Florence. Since then he has enjoyed a world-wide career playing with such orchestras [...]

Conversation with Wendy Warner (June, 2000)

Interview by Tim Janof The international music world first took note of Wendy Warner when she won First Prize in the Fourth International Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 1990. Later that year, Ms. Warner made her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra and Mstislav Rostropovich, and the next year she was the featured soloist on their North American tour. Rostropovich also engaged her for a tour of Germany with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in 1991, making her debuts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Koln, Dusseldorf, and Berlin. For Rostropovich's 70th birthday celebration concert in Kronberg, Germany, she was invited to perform in recital and with orchestra, and later played the Vivaldi double concerto with him at Reims, France. In addition to her tours with Rostropovich, Ms. Warner toured with the Moscow Virtuosi [...]

The “Instead” List

While the list of pieces that appear in cello-piano recitals is incredibly short - same 10 pieces keep circulating in different order - we cellists actually have very large repertoire. Orchestras don't program much more than 10 Concertos and apart the Bach Suites there are maybe 5 pieces that make their way to concert programs. There are always multiple reasons for great music falling out of general attention. It may have to do with style, gender, origin, problems of notation, lack of publisher, wrong publisher, fashion, lack of social skill, too keen self promotion or any combination of these. Often the reasons have nothing to do with the quality of the music. And the quality itself is totally dependent on who is the messenger, in the wrong hands most music [...]

Conversation with Timothy Eddy (July, 2001)

Interview by Tim Janof Timothy Eddy has earned distinction as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, chamber musician, recording artist, winner in numerous national and international competitions, and teacher of cello and chamber music. In June of 1975, Mr. Eddy received top honors at the Gaspar Cassado International Violoncello Competition, held in Florence, Italy. He has also won prizes in the Dealey Contest (Dallas), the Denver Symphony Guild Competition, the North Carolina Symphony Contest, and the New York Violoncello Society Competition. In addition to numerous solo and chamber recitals throughout the U.S., he has appeared as concerto soloist with many U.S. orchestras, including the Dallas, Denver, Stamford, Jacksonville, and North Carolina Symphony Orchestras. Mr. Eddy received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees with honors from the Manhattan School of Music, where he [...]

Finding Purpose and Growth as an Adult Amateur Cellist

Growing up, I never really wanted to be a cellist.  I liked to play the cello and I could hold my own, but I just didn’t have the passion to see it through past college.  Instead, I became an elementary teacher and now a district administrator.   From that time, I played in several chamber and community symphonies; just cruising along with an incorrect mindset, a secret envy of my music major friends, and not really bettering my skills. I was busy with a teaching job, a young family, and cello was a bittersweet diversion...Time marched on.   Several years ago, I had an incident in my life that very abruptly indicated to me that I needed the cello in my life and that I needed to start improving my [...]

By |2020-11-25T20:20:05+00:00January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Artistic Vision, Self Discovery, Teaching|Tags: , , , , |

Shifting from Judging to Observation During Practice

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By |2020-10-01T00:39:55+00:00December 8th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room, Self Discovery, Teaching|

Conversation with Stephen Kates (September, 2002)

Interview by Tim Janof Stephen Kates studied with Gregor Piatigorsky, Leonard Rose, Claus Adam, Laszlo Varga, and Marie Roemaet-Rosanoff. He was awarded the Silver Medal at the Third International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1966 in Moscow, where he returned as the American juror in 1986. He has made solo appearances with the world's greatest orchestras in New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Leningrad, and Los Angeles. He is a former President of the Violoncello Society in New York. For seven summers he was a member of the faculty of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and has taught at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore for almost 30 years. He has recorded for the RCA, Denon, Melodiya, Orion, CRI, and Bainbridge labels.   [...]

Straight vs. Angled Bowing: A Visual Experiment

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to study at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. One of the pieces that I brought to the festival was the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3. The main goal I had for the piece was to sound less “choppy” and play with a smoother legato sound. After trying everything I could think of to solve the problem on my own, I brought the issue to my teacher, Paul Katz, who like a skilled doctor immediately saw what the problem was and fixed it! The problem turned out to be that rather than keeping my bow straight, i.e., perpendicular to the strings, I bowed in a semicircle. As soon as I started to bow in a straight line, I was able to [...]

By |2019-11-03T18:42:04+00:00September 11th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room, Teaching|Tags: , , , , , |

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 34 – Feuillard No. 36 – Variations #39-42)

  This will be the final Blog in this series on using the Feuilliard "Daily Exercises" to teach bow technique.   Variations #39 and #40:         Variations #39 and #40 address chords over four strings. For #39 we have to use the full bow with the bottom two notes as grace notes. That means that they are played before the beat, with the top two notes on the beat. If playing with a piano, the pianist would probably play on the downbeat with the top of the chords. The string crossing is not too difficult at the frog, but playing the grace notes at the tip and then getting the main notes to sound strong is harder at the tip. I addressed two other important issues with [...]

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 33 – Feuillard No. 36 – Variations #30-38)

  Today we will continue with Feuillard No. 36, Variations #30-#38. Most of these variations work on double stops with string crossings, and legato strokes involving the upper arm versus wrist/fingers over four strings.   Variation #30: This Variation again involves both the Up-bow Staccato and Flying Spiccato strokes, which we have seen before dispersed throughout all the bowing exercises on these pages. It is one more opportunity to review the different ways of producing these two strokes - and George was able to verbalize the technical information required. Even though he had not practiced the Flying Spiccato as fast as I got him to play it here, it is always interesting to me that if one has absorbed the technique it is possible to speed up the tempos easily. [...]

By |2019-05-20T20:46:32+00:00April 29th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room, The Joy of Feuillard, Teaching|Tags: , , |

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 32 – Feuillard No. 36 – Variations #10-29)

  Today we will continue our journey through Feuillard with No. 36, Variations #10 - #29 on string crossings over four strings. Many of these variations are about sustaining the sound with legato or detaché strokes. As mentioned before it is very helpful to use the left/right motion in order to make it easier to get a big sound in the upper half of the bow. It is also helpful to use the "twist" motion of the upper torso in order to release tension from the arm and fingers, and to keep the vibrato going. Rather than lifting fingers, the twist in the upper body automatically helps to release the fingers. Variations #10 and #11: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7Rh2uf9f-I&w=560&h=315   Variations #12, #13, and #14 The arm levels that I mentioned here were [...]

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 31 – Feuillard No. 36 – Variations #1-9)

  The final Theme and set of bowing variations in Feuillard is No. 36. This page deals with string crossings involving four strings. There are double stops, chords, various bowings, articulation issues, and different strokes. I use No.36 to reinforce many of the concepts from the earlier pages, and especially the "twist motion". The student should be aware of how the left arm moves in tandem with the string crossings, so that the elbow is higher on the C-string and lowest on the A-string. The student must also be aware that the contact point needs to change when going from the lower strings to the higher strings.  The "rule" is: "The Higher the String, the Lower the Contact Point" If we don't pay attention to the contact point, the intonation [...]

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 30 – Collé)

  I am "interrupting" my blog series on Feuillard with today's post dealing with collé. I usually wait with working on collé in the private lessons until other technical aspects of the bow are internalized and solid. Part of the reason I do this is that I have found that students sometimes get confused by the use of the fingers for the vertical motion in string crossings as opposed to the use of the fingers in the horizontal collé motion.  I find that it is better to solidify the string crossing motion before explaining the collé motion, since they are so similar and yet completely different. I do sometimes teach collé to all the students in my Saturday Pre-college classes. However, that is in a large group situation and I can [...]

By |2019-04-08T04:27:03+00:00April 8th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room, The Joy of Feuillard, Teaching|Tags: , , , |
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