Benjamin A. Therrell

Cello Teacher

Benjamin Therrell

SAA Member


Madison, WI
[javascript protected email address]

Ben Therrell has many years of both private and group teaching experience with ages 3 to “I’ve stopped counting,” and from beginning students to college-level cellists. Currently, Ben is certified to teach Books I and II and has done his teacher training with Tanya Carey.

Excellent Students
Ben is very proud of the successes of his students. Many students in his studio successfully win seats in local youth orchestras and regional honors orchestras. Some have gone on to competitive music programs, while others have grown into well-rounded young adults with a love and appreciation for music. All have learned the rewards of diligent and self-motivated pursuit of skills.

Ben has studied cello performance under Uri Vardi, Brooks Whitehouse, and David Schepps; and string pedagogy under Susan Kempter and Lisa Collins. For his string pedagogy training, Ben spent a total of 10 semesters as either an intern or employee teaching for the University of New Mexico (UNM) Suzuki Lab School, working closely with program coordinators. He is currently a Doctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Teaching Experience
Ben has previously served as cello faculty for the Community Music School (CMS) in association with University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), UNM String Pedagogy Lab School, The New Mexico School of Music, and as a freelance private instructor; Ben has also given workshops and sectionals for middle and high school age cellists at schools and elite youth orchestras in New Mexico and North Carolina.

Performing Experience
Ben has held a chair in the Fayetteville Symphony and performed with many groups in North Carolina, New Mexico, and Colorado; including the Winston-Salem Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, Boulder Symphony, and others. He plans to begin residency with the Hunt String Quartet in 2020, having previously served a residency with the Giannini String Quartet.

Noteworthy Teachers
Ben’s teaching is influenced by personal feedback from noteworthy cellists Lynn Harrell, David Finckel, Alan Harris, Parry Karp, Rhonda Rider, Wendy Warner, Antonio Lysy, Scott Kluksdahl, Alex Ezerman, Andrew Mark, Kim Cook, Jeff Lestrapes, and Mark Votapek.

From Ben’s Studio Handbook:

My Philosophy
I have a background and certification in the Suzuki Method of cello teaching. Shinichi Suzuki was arguably the most influential violin teacher of the 20th century because of an approach he called the “Mother-Tongue Method,” which has been widely accepted in music pedagogy circles as an effective music learning approach.

In this approach, musicians learn how to make sounds, and through careful guidance and shaping, slowly develop greater skill. Music is a skill that is honed by immersion and repetition, similar in many ways to oration or other forms of public speaking. Many people even compare it directly to language. Students learn how to pronounce “words,” and string them together into “sentences,” before they learn to read. This ultimately gives cellists a very relaxed and natural control over their playing before they have the added challenge of reading notes.

The “Ideal” Student
I have been asked many times over the years how I would define my “ideal” student. While my response to that is constantly evolving as I meet more burgeoning cellists, I have been able to settle on a core set of expectations I have for any of the students I teach:

Arrive to lessons on time and prepared to learn with all the equipment we need for cello, including a notebook and pencil.

Complete all of the assignments given thoroughly, accurately, and to the best quality possible.

Be excited to play cello and learn about music!

Therrell Cello Studio Motto
“Becoming Lifelong Artists”