Suzuki Cello lessons
Angela is a level 5 qualified Suzuki teacher and teacher-trainer.
The ideal age for a child to start learning the cello is five. Four is possible for the super bright and at three, he/she may watch the lessons of others with a view to having lessons when older. Children aged six to eleven can also learn but as they get older, this particular method is not as appropriate. The role of the parent is paramount. The parent needs to attend the lessons and write very clear notes, he/she needs to be willing to learn the basics for him/herself and needs to practise every day with the child in a friendly and motivating way.
As the child is very young and has not yet become ambitious, it is possible to take the time required to establish a very sound technical base. Meanwhile the child will hear recordings at home of the pieces that he/she will learn. When the pieces of the technical jigsaw have been put together, the child will be able to play the first song – Twinkle, twinkle little star. The child becomes a Twinkler.
There are several variations to this song which teach different rhythms and bowing techniques. The child is happy to be familiar with the piece of music and this period is a good time to encourage good posture, quality of tone and intonation.
The following pieces are in books. At the end of Book 1, the child is ready to take the Grade 1 exam but only if desired. Book 1 establishes a good range of bowing techniques using first position.
Book 2 introduces shifting and uses four positions, while the pieces are all favourite tunes from well-known composers.
Book 3 introduces vibrato, more complex pieces and the shoulder positions.
By Book 5, the child is playing real cello repertoire rather than arrangements of tunes.
Gradually, double-stopping and thumb position are introduced and the child is welcome to work for the graded exams, which require all-round musicianship by including scales, aural tests and sight-reading in the syllabus.
As members of the London Suzuki Group, children will have the opportunity to take part in group lessons and in many different events. They may also be encouraged to attend the many courses available in the holidays and to take part in festivals.
Consultation lessons (Age 11-18)
Sometimes it is useful to get advice from another teacher on a one-off basis. For example, I have seen an 11 year old with pain in the neck and shoulders, or the parents might want to know in which direction to go. It is easier for someone who is detached from years of teaching a child, to see the whole picture.
Cello students (Age 18-25) wishing to develop their performance practice in private lessons or masterclasses
Angela often teaches post-graduates who wish to develop their baroque performance.
Teachers wishing to teach early style on modern instruments
Professional players who wish to develop their historical techniques
This tuition can take place as individual lessons or in workshop form. A range of activities can be used for teachers, who have not specialised in early music, the information that they need to teach their own pupils.
Groups can be formed from different types of student:
Several students or teachers with a common aim, playing repertoire of own choice
Chamber music coaching
A teacher with his/her pupils
Larger groups and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the following categories:
Conferences: recital or demonstration similar to 'A Tale of Five Cellos'
INSET days to include orchestral coaching, individual lessons and demonstration
Orchestral days for teachers
Talks for students or teachers