Arriving for Your Lesson
If another lesson is in progress when you arrive, please just come in quietly, and hang your coat up and unpack your instrument in the front hall. Please, no talking! Take the opportunity to observe the lesson in progress.
Practicing at Home
Just as you need to immerse yourself in a language in order to become fluent, you need to practice every day in order to feel at ease on the cello. Beginners will need to practice at least one-half hour every day. As you advance and begin to work with more demanding technique and more complex music, expect to spend proportionally more time practicing. If you miss a day once in a while, that’s not a disaster, but I cannot emphasize enough how integral regular and thoughtful practice is to your progress as a musician. We’ll address practice methods in depth during your lessons.
For children 12 and under, a parent must be present at every lesson. Parents are encouraged to take notes at lessons, to learn at least a little about playing the instrument themselves, to be involved in the child’s practice sessions at home, and to facilitate immersion in music by playing recordings at home and taking the child to hear live performances when possible.
The “immersion” approach means listening to music as well as playing it. If we are using the Suzuki method for your lessons, you’ll need to listen to the CD of the book you’re working on at least once a day. Try to listen to as much other music as you can. For those who are new to music, I’ll provide a list of musical works to get acquainted with. You should plan on listening to at least one piece from this list at least once a day. Training the ear in this manner is a key part of developing your musicianship. We’ll talk about what to listen for—and ways of listening—in your lessons.
Cash or check. Unless we make other arrangements, payment is due at the start of each lesson.
I am currently teaching on Sunday afternoons.
Cancellation and No-Show Policy
I require notification at least 24 hours ahead. If you cancel on shorter notice or—heaven forbid!–forget to come, you will be charged the full price of the lesson. I do make exceptions for illness, inclement weather, and genuine emergencies, but the more notice you can provide, the better.
In general, I expect students and families to treat cello lessons as a priority commitment and not to cancel casually. “I didn’t get to practice this week” is not an acceptable reason to cancel a lesson. If I feel that a pattern of cancellations is emerging, I may initiate a conversation about whether we should continue with lessons.
Equipment You’ll Need
1. A cello. Sizing depends on many factors, and we’ll check that you have the right size cello in your first lesson. Your height is a good starting point, though. The Suzuki Sizing Guide offers the following (overlapping) ranges:
Height Cello Size
5’1″ or taller: 4/4 (full size) (typically ages 12+)
4’5″ to 5’1″: 3/4
4’1″ to 4’9″: 1/2
3’9″ to 4’5″: 1/4
2. A bow. Generally bow size should correspond to cello size. E.g., if you are renting or buying a 1/4 cello for your child, make sure that the bow that comes with it is also a 1/4 size bow. It is important that the bow not be too long or too heavy. For younger students, I recommend starting with a violin bow.
3. For anyone under about 5′ tall: an adjustable stool. The seat should be set no higher than the inside of the knee.
4. Endpin strap.
5. Rosin. (I recommend Hill dark rosin.)
6. A set of spare strings.
8. Tuning fork or electronic tuning device. Many metronomes also having a tuning feature.
9. Soft cloth for cleaning the cello.
10. Music stand.