How to learn the cello with no teacher?

Marta Lastufka said: Dec 14, 2012
 4 posts

We live in a small isolated town with no Suzuki cello teacher. There are two wonderful players who teach, but neither has a real talent for teaching. My child has alternated between both of them for two years and has learned very little. It is heart breaking because he wants to learn and to play. He has a terrific ear which has saved him, but his self confidence is deteriorating, especially when he looks at his sister who has a fantastic Suzuki violin teacher and is progressing rapidly. Should I look to youtube videos? Is there a great teacher out there who wants to move to a culturally rich Alaskan town? I promise my son won’t be your only student.

Rodrigo Pessoa said: Dec 14, 2012
Rodrigo Pessoa
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Albuquerque, NM
4 posts

Hi Marta,

There is no doubt that your child needs a teacher of cello … But between a good teacher and a good cellist, I’ll choice the second option! Even if it is a violinist, but who knows steer your child within the priorities of building a basic technique, it will be worth. Another option is to travel with your son to the nearest town that has a good cello teacher.

I hope have helped,

Rodrigo

Sue Hunt said: Dec 15, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

I know that a hands on approach is preferable, and it makes all the difference if you can go to a group lesson, but if you are desperate, have you thought of finding someone who is willing to Skype?

Barb said: Dec 16, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Will the non-Suzuki teacher prepare your son to attend a Suzuki Institute? (memorize the repertoire?) That could give him a real boost each summer. Or could you take a vacation somewhere where there might be a teacher who could give him lessons while you are there? Maybe a few parents could get together and hire a teacher to come up for a week or two in the summer for a working vacation? Or pay the violin teacher to attend Suzuki cello training—they wouldn’t need to submit an audition if they audit the course, if I’m not mistaken. At my book 1 course there was a violinist who wanted to better help the cellists in her school, and the cellist was taking violin training to better help the violinists—I think they share a school orchestra job.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Barb said: Dec 16, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I see cello book 1 training is offered in Anchorage this year! Maybe even one of the other teachers would be interested? Lots of great teaching tips even for experienced teachers!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Marta Lastufka said: Dec 17, 2012
 4 posts

Thank you everyone. What a wonderful community.
Our current teacher is nice and a good player, but very inconsistent. We go sometimes weeks without a lesson and then he doesn’t build on anything they worked on before, including songs. My husband is a jazz trombonist (and middle school band teacher) and we have actually been encouraging our son to read and play the Suzuki music because this summer we did have him attend a camp with Suzuki trained kids and he didn’t know the repertoire. He has listened to his sister on the violin so he’s been able to figure it out so far, but because she has such a fantastic teacher (who is up to his ears in students) we know what he is missing.
My son loves his teacher and we will keep on with him (unless any of you want to relocate), but I may insist that he teach my son the Suzuki songs, teach him how to learn a piece and give him opportunities to present. (of which he has none and is thus terrified of performing) This doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it? Meanwhile I think we’ll take a bit of everyone’s advice and take a couple on-line lessons and maybe I could encourage my husband to take some string classes. Wind and brass are covered, but I think he needs to branch out for our kid’s sake! Meanwhile both my children have started playing in a little string ensemble with that great violin teacher and that looks like it will be very good for both of them. Whew! I hope you all were interested in all of that. Thank you again for your advice and support!

Sue Hunt said: Dec 18, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

It really is important to support your teacher, especially when your son likes him so much.

As far as performing is concerned, can he join in with the local Suzuki violin home concerts and start with something that he finds ridiculously easy?

You will know about the importance of follow up and review, from your daughter’s Suzuki experience. Would it be possible to have a sensitive chat with the cello teacher about specific assignments, and checking up on them at the following lesson? (so that you know that you are on the right track at home) Teachers can be a bit prickly if they think that you are telling them how to teach.

Julio Cesar Anselmo Possette said: Dec 19, 2012
 Cello, Suzuki in the Schools
10 posts

Hello Marta,

              Perhaps you helping cello teacher your child to reflect on learning not only help your child, but also others.

              Esnino collective work here in Brazil and today the team is working with strings priorities in learning. This approach that Ed Kreitman (Suzuki violin teacher) developed. We now teaching strings at AAPG priorities as guiding and this has helped a lot to everyone, really.
              Even if your child’s teacher has little knowledge didactic priorities can help you organize the technical objectives and skills to be developed in the initiation cello (or even advanced).

Priorities are ::

1—Posture
2—Loudness
3—Tuning
4—Musicality
5—Repertoire (Study of new parts)

It would be interesting to read the book of Eduard Kreitman and if you want / can continue discussion about them here, but take it to your child’s teacher.

to

Marta Lastufka said: Dec 19, 2012
 4 posts

Thank you

Marta Lastufka said: Jan 25, 2013
 4 posts

I am posting an up-date for anyone else out there who may benefit from our experience. A few weeks ago we tried a free trial lesson on Skype with a cello teacher on the east coast. We were very skeptical, but had nothing to lose. As soon as the lesson started it was obvious that it was the lesson we had been longing for. My son has had three lessons now and we are all very happy. The Skype experience is surprisingly successful. We sometimes run into connection delays, but for the most part it is a clear and easy process. Our teacher is skilled, sensitive, fun and rigorous. The only complaint my son has is he doesn’t like waking early for his 7am lesson, the unavoidable consequence of a 4 hour time difference. I am grateful for this forum and for all of your help.

Barb said: Jan 25, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Thank you for the update! Good to hear it has worked out for you!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Kiyoko said: Jan 25, 2013
 84 posts

The Skype lessons sound great! If your son finds he needs a bit more hands on guidance between lessons from his local teacher and the Skype lessons, maybe you can try looking for a local experienced student cellist that might be able to tutor your son. Perhaps your local teacher may even be able to recommend one of their senior students they have taught for a long time that might be a good fit for mentoring your son.

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