A Cellist’s Guide in Preparation for Teaching and Conducting Cello Lessons (Part 1 of 2)
Teaching is one of the best career options that a cello player can pursue. A cellist is definitely qualified to teach in music schools or conduct private cello lessons. Masterful skills, years of playing experience or a music degree are great teaching credentials. Those are your inner core strengths that are uniquely yours. However there are other elements that you need to set-up.
Here are some of the ‘teaching tools’ you need to prepare for. For this article, focus will be on your teaching venue and the environment conditions you should establish.
Teaching Venue and Environment
- Space and Size:
- At the start, you’ll it would be just you and your student in the room. Make sure that it comfortably fits two people.
- A cello is a rather large instrument so it should have enough space where it could stand.
- It would be best to have space where you and your student could move around. Music is dynamic, thus, movement could also facilitate the learning process.
- Peace and Quiet:
- Listening and being able to hear one’s self is important in cello lessons.
- Placing soundproofing materials onwalls, doors, windows, and ceilings are ideal, yet expensive. There are creative and DIY methods in doing so, at minimal cost.
- Also, be conscious and sensitive as well to the ‘noise’ you are generating. If you can’t find a spot where the sound is suppressed, check for an ideal time instead. It would be best to allocate your lesson schedules at specific times within the day when your neighbors are out of their homes.
- Phone-calls / texting: People can’t seem to put their mobile phones down these days. Make it clear to your students to devote 100% of their attention to the cello. Phones should be switched off or placed in silent mode. Resist the temptation of checking for messages. And yes, that goes for you too, the teacher.
- Visitors and companions: The room should solely be occupied by the teacher and the student/s. Friends and companions should not be present, sit-in or hang around. If possible, allocate a /waiting area for visitors and companions.
- Lighting and Ventilation: Is the room too dark or too bright? Is the temperature too hot or too cold? Lighting sets the tone of the room. While room temperature could affect your mood and performance.
- Order and Ambiance.
- Your teaching space should be clutter-free, neat, and orderly. Only the essential teaching materials should be in the room and within reach.
- You may opt to place some decorations and accessories, provided they are related to music or could enhance the learning environment.
- Teaching at your student’s house: Some students may request this or you may offer this arrangement as well. If you decide to do so, check-out your student’s home and the space where he intends to conduct the lessons. Make sure that it somehow fulfills the conditions discussed above.
In addition, add some creative and personal and taste and touch to your teaching space. Remember, cello lessons are also meant to be fun and enjoyable. It is important to reflect that in your teaching environment as well.