Lessons: Performances or Practices?

Classical music and sports have several similarities when it comes to levels of dedication and commitment

needed to be successful.  However, there are also some very important elements that differentiate the two.

In many ways, the role and responsibilities of a teacher parallel that of a sports coach and referee/umpire:

  • Coach:  An athletic instructor or trainer; a tutor who gives private or specialized teaching.
  • Referee/Umpire:  An official who watches a game or match closely to ensure that the rules are adhered to.

The music teacher, like the coach, gives specialized instruction; and like the referee or umpire, the music teacher

watches closely to see that the student plays with proper technique.  Aside from the obvious connotations, these

names may be used interchangeably.  In fact, in classical music, teachers who work with chamber music ensembles are called "coaches".

However, there is a difference in sports and classical music when it comes to practice versus performance. Just as sports teams practice daily with the team to get ready for a single game through drills and running scrimmages, musicians practice daily individually to perform in the lessons, essentially giving a concert each week.  A music student should never treat a lesson like a practice.  The lesson is where the student performs to show the instructor a level of proficiency and mastery over concepts practiced throughout the previous week.  Music students experience an additional performance that athletes don't:

For Athletes:

Individual Practice-------------------->Team Practice (drills/scrimmages)-------------------->Game (Performance)

For Musicians​:

IndividualPractice- ------------------>Lesson (Performance #1)----------------------------Concert (Performance #2​)

A successful lesson involves a performance that demonstrates mastery over the concepts assigned in the previous lesson.  New concepts and ways to practice them are then assigned to be learned and performed by the student for the next lesson.

Registration For The

2021-2022 Academic Year Is


Teaching Philosophy 

I believe that every child can be taught to play an instrument; the degree of proficiency and artistry to which a student aspires, however, varies from child to child.  The child’s natural ability to play the instrument, the desire to excel, and the willingness to open the mind and the heart to the emotionally communicative joy music can bring are all variables I focus on with my students to bring about the most well-rounded musicians possible.  My expectations and standards are very high for my students, and I expect their personal expectations to be at least equal to my own for them.  I am not a teacher who believes in raising my voice, or belittling a student to bring about success.  Realizing that I am dealing with young children, I adjust my teaching style to accommodate the varying personalities I contend with.  The hope I have for my students is that whether they go on to study music in college, ultimately establishing professional musical careers, or simply enjoy playing the cello as a life’s hobby, that an appreciation that goes beyond simply learning the mechanics of cello playing is established.   

Photo: Jenifer Morris

Scheduling Lessons

Due to the size of my studio, I will no longer be able to take special requests for lessons. 

Registration for the school year opens in mid-August.

Methods of Payment

Please contact me regarding lesson fees and payment.

Dual-Track Studio Structure

In light of the differences for why students play the cello, I have developed two tracks of study.

Aggressive Track

The aggressive track is a strenuous, time-sensitive, graded curriculum for students who wish to pursue a college degree in music.

Students on the aggressive track must realize that cello will be their primary  extracurricular activity, and that  all other activities are secondary.  Music is as specialized and as competitive as any other profession. Acceptance into a good music program requires a great deal of self-discipline, skill and knowledge that goes beyond achieving technical and artistic proficiency on the instrument.  I am very selective when accepting students into the aggressive track.  I assess not only each student's potential for successful admission into music school, but also the parent's dedication to making that happen.   Practicing at home for the lesson is no different than studying for the test in school; the lesson then becomes a weekly "test" of what has been practiced at home.  Preparation for acceptance into an ivy league conservatory/school of music is no different than the preparation needed for being accepted into an ivy league college or university. If the decision is to pursue music, the same level of commitment and the sacrifice of other things to focus on technical mastery will be necessary.

Successful completion of this program will result in a level of technical and artistic proficiency that will prepare them for continued study in college.  Because of the accelerated rate of study, classroom orchestra music, as well as All-State and/or Region music will not be focused on in the lesson.  Studio performances will be scheduled several times throughout the year.  Please note that a realistic assessment of the student's abilities and progress will be made prior to entering this track, and periodic evaluations will either affirm continued study, or recommend moving to the progressive track.

Progressive Track

For those students who desire to take cello lessons to become more proficient on the instrument, but do not

wish to pursue music in college, the progressive track will use the same materials as the "aggressive track",

but the expected rate of mastery will not be as quick.  Orchestra music and All-State/Region music, as well as solos for Spring Festivals will comprise the bulk of the lesson.  Studio performances will be encouraged, but not required.