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BA in Music from Bennington College, 1972
MA in Performance from Brooklyn College, 1979
Bach was a household icon for my family during my childhood. Every March we hosted Bach Birthday Parties and I was raised with a love of music. Although I’d studied piano since age five, at times without much enthusiasm, everything changed when I reached age eleven and “met” my first cello. From the start, I knew I’d found my “medium” in life. The cello was for me!
Throughout middle and high school, I played a great deal of chamber music and participated in school and borough-wide orchestras. At Bennington College I majored in music and joined the Vermont State Symphony! I was playing cello every chance I could.
Following my college graduation, I spent the year in Paris, studying cello and composition. Upon my return to NYC I launched my own self-styled performing and teaching career. I earned my Master of Arts Degree in Cello Performance at Brooklyn College. All the while, I was performing in various groups such as a 5 woman chamber ensemble called Mother Chord, and, as mentioned above, with the mandolin-English Concertina-cello trio called Calle Strada Strasse and with the musician that took me furthest around the world-Suni Paz, an Argentine singer/songwriter with whom I played from 1976 to 1997, touring Germany, Mexico, and throughout the U.S. What a gratifying experience that has been! Despite Suni’s move to California, we still perform together every year.
I teach anyone who shares the passion for cello (or violin, or chamber music). I tend to attract many adults who always wanted to play the cello, but postponed it, and finally decided it’s “now or never”. Similarly, I teach a number of adults who played through adolescence, but quit, and now want to “return” to playing. I’ve been teaching since I was a teen-ager, and fortunately, multiple decades later, I’m still cherishing every student, every moment of music making. I hear musicality in all of my students and strive to help them express it.
I am sensitive to the musical tastes of my students and try to cater to them. Most are very happy with Alwin Schroeder Foundation Studies, Carl Schroder Violoncello Method and the Suzuki Books. Others are also interested in folk or pop-Disney movie music, The Lord of the Rings, Beatles Songs, various ethnic music or personal favorites. It is a joyous moment when a student is ready to begin their study of the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites!
I encourage students to figure out songs they know by ear, on the cello. Sometimes, if a student is interested, we improvise together and even compose! I teach basic music theory: the Circle of 5ths, intervals and ear training. In my teaching, through the use of playful games, I am able to help students “sharpen” their listening and memorization skills.
I truly appreciate all efforts to produce sound. I am never bored or impatient! My approach to my students is informal, unpressured and encouraging. I play with my students all the time, creating occasions for performance and giving my students contexts for taking pride in their musical achievements. I feel that playing should not be an isolating experience but something to be shared. I organize groups every year: beginner and advanced kids; beginner, intermediate and advanced adults. I provide an opportunity for my students to socialize with each other, as well. I have a large library of group cello music as well as chamber music for different combinations of instruments, and I form groups and coach them.
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