Amy's Cello and Piano Studio

Amy's Cello and Piano Studio

Oakland, CA

20 years in service

1 employee

Gold profile

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“Fun Lessons with Outside the Box Cellist and Pianist”


I am a cellist/violist da gamba/pianist/teacher in Oakland. Prior to moving here I lived abroad for many years where I performed with major orchestras. I love to help people of all ages on their journey of musical self expression!

About Amy's Cello and Piano Studio

hired 1 time on Thumbtack

My goals for my students include guiding cellists, violists da gamba, and pianists towards the following:

* independent musical thinking
* creative problem solving
* development of profound, meaningful, connected, expressive, and committed execution of music, either written by a composer or created by the performer

I began to play cello in the third grade in public school because they had too many violin students. I was enthralled to play cello; however, when I started private lessons in the fifth grade, I had many habits that needed to be changed. This was because, however well-meaning, I had learned cello from a violinist, and both my hands had acquired habits which are not suited to secure and efficient cello playing.

Later on, when I was studying thumb position, I encountered the frustration of trying to develop strength in my double-jointed thumb. Eventually I succeeded, and it still serves me well.

I learned how to play with physical ease, to move my left arm in one line, and to hold my bow, so that I would not create tension. In my professional life, I have studied this to a great extent, have thought about how to play efficiently, and have never been sidelined by tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

I communicate what I have learned to my students, so that they are able to play effortlessly. Although I am very small in stature, I figured out how to play with a large sound and to have an easy facility throughout the entire instrument.

I understand the huge importance of not gripping with your left thumb, or your right thumb for that matter, and can see immediately where students are holding tension. So, many things are important for a cellist, as follows:

* the height of a chair
* the length of an endpin if you are playing modern cello
* the placement of your body on the chair
* the support and relaxation in your back
* the placement of your feet

In lessons, I assign three or four basic things, a scale, finger exercises, etudes, and one or more pieces from the repertoire.

Technique, in the true sense of the word for me, means the ability to hear a piece of music in your head and make what you hear internally a physical reality. The ability to play scales, exercises and etudes is preparation for technique. I learned this in a very specific way from two teachers who were not cellists, but a violinist and a singer/pianist.

Ultimately, nearly everyone can sing and make a cello or a viola da gamba or a piano sing! I want everyone to experience the joy of making music and making it together.

Note that the video is my daughter and I playing the 2nd Fantasy Piece by Robert Schumann at a school concert last year. She has studied with me since she was 8 years old. The concert was when she was 14.


Oakland, CA 94602

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  • 5/5 stars February 13, 2014

    Amy is a supremely talented musician and a gifted teacher. Even though I'm no spring chicken, she helped me to improve my playing both technically and artistically. Her lessons are an inspiration. Study with her!

Question and answer

Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.

A. I teach lessons in my home studio, or I can travel to your location up to 15 miles,I also accompany my atudents on the piano or cello, I will help students prepare for auditions and concerts and can assist in finding instruments. I also photocopy music for students or can purchase music for reimbursement.

Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

A. Talk to a number of providers, take a couple of lessons from a couple of different providers, find who you connect with on a personal level. I have a lot of experience, have lived in many countries and have taught all levels of students from young children just beginning to graduate level students.

Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?

A. Learning to play an instrument is fun and rewarding and opens a lot of possibilities to join groups of like minded people, for either children or adults, however, you the student have to put in a certain amount of effort in order to get the most from lessons!

Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?

A. I studied with the best teachers in America and have performed extensively throughout the globe with amazing musicians. Through many years of teaching and individual practice in addition to the best training and performing colleagues I have come to understand how to inspire people to play their best and the play with ease and comfort, and enjoy the musical universe.

Q. What do you like most about your job?

A. I get to enlarge people's world and develop their talents.

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