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MM, Carnegie Mellon University
BM, California State University, Northridge
Performed as soloist with Allegheny College Civic Orchestra (Tchaikovsky: Pezzo Capriccioso)
Performed as soloist with a regional orchestra on the West Coast (Shostakovich: Concerto in E-flat)
First Prize, Carnegie Mellon University Silberman Chamber Music Competition (Shostakovich: Piano Trio)
First Prize, Carnegie Mellon University Silberman Chamber Music Competition (Von Weber: Piano Trio)
Awarded Graduate Assistantship, Carnegie Mellon University
Performed with Youngstown University Symphony Orchestra (Dvorak: Concerto in b minor)
Winner, Youngstown State University Concerto Competition
Awarded Graduate Assistantship, Youngstown State University
Awarded Music Department Scholarship, California State University, Northridge
Practically since birth (and maybe even before!), my parents planned for me to be to have a life in music. (My name, Susanna, comes not from the Stephen Foster song, but from the female lead in Mozart's opera, "The Marriage of Figaro".) As they were both teachers and musicians, I credit them for my initial love of teaching as well as music, which were further nurtured by my teachers, including Jacqueline Dwight, Joan Lunde, Peter Rejto, Michael Gelfand and Anne Martindale Williams. I was fortunate to also work with Daniel Rothmueller, Lynn Harrell and Jeffrey Solow, among others. Although I could never see myself in the same light as these inspiring and demanding cellists/cello teachers, it's my goal to have a lasting, positive effect on my own students.
Both of my parents were teachers, so you might say it's in my DNA! My first student was a friend's younger sister, when I was in 10th grade. I was hesitant, at first, but soon found it to be the most rewarding and challenging occupation. I began to try and analyze how my own teachers inspired me, and to look for ways that I could help my students learn. Along with teaching privately since I was a teenager, I have been on the adjunct music faculty at the colleges of Mercyhurst, Geneva, Westminster and Seton Hill, and presently have been teaching cello at Allegheny College for about six years. My students have ranged in age from 4 - 84 and have included all stages of learning, from beginners (both children and adults) to highly advanced.
Although I was trained using traditional classical repertoire, I take the view that since different students have vastly different goals, both method and repertoire need to be tailored to the individual in order to foster technical and musical growth. Method books I use include: Kummer Violoncello Method, De'ak: Modern Method, Popper: High School for Cello Playing, and others including those by Lee, (Hal) Leonard, Applebaum, and Sevcik. In terms of repertoire, I've worked with students on a wide range of music, from the traditional concertos and sonatas I grew up with, to hymns, pop, musical theater and rock--just as long as I find the music will challenge the student and encourage musical expression.
I enjoy the give and take between myself and my students, and think it's important to foster a trusting and open relationship, in which students (and their parents, when applicable) feel comfortable asking questions and discussing goals. I feel it's of primary importance to understand each student's individual learning style, personality, and goals. My purpose is to help the student achieve the goals we've set together. My main focus is to help students find their own personal musical expression through improved technique. In my opinion, technique, while extremely important, is useless on its own; it should be used as a means to increase expressiveness.
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