Q. What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
A. Every person is different and each person comes with an individual set of skills and abilities. When someone is beginning cello we start with how you sit, which means figuring out the length of the end pin, the length of the end pin anchor or strap, where and how you sit on the chair. We start with plucking the strings, then learning how to hold the bow and then a little later I introduce the left hand. Some people need to learn how to read music, others already know. As far as the piano goes, if a person is a beginner, we begin by orienting our hands to the middle of the keyboard. We talk about the geography of the keyboard, and immediately I have a little tune that people can play even before learning to read music. Of course if someone has experience all this is different. I like to get a sense of how someone plays if they have had previous training. But as I said, everyone is different and has different skill sets.
Q. What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
A. I am a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, afterwards I studied privately with various people, free lanced, then was hired to be assistant principal cellist of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Italy. During my 5 years there, I frequently traveled to Milan to study baroque cello at the Scuola Civica di Milano and toured with I Solisti Veneti. I then became a member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and played and toured with that group, the Jerusalem Symphony and Israel Chamber Orchestra for four years. Then I moved to England where I studied Viola da gamba and baroque music at the Royal College in London and free lanced throughout Europe. Since coming to the Bay Area of San Francisco, in addition to free lancing with many many groups, I have occasionally taken individual lessons, and observed master classes and have attended lectures. I am also a guest judge for many competitions in the Bay Area and continue to perform as a soloist and chamber music player in addition to free lancing and teaching.
Q. Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
A. In general, I believe I am in the middle of the pack with regards to pricing. Some charge more, some charge less. It is a commitment to enter into music lessons, and with me, you get my sincere commitment and focus to each and every lesson and student. In general, 30 minute lessons are $40, 45 are $60, 60 minutes are $80 with some degree of negotiation. I know of very young teachers who charge $110 or 120 an hour, I feel that is a bit too much.
Q. How did you get started doing this type of work?
A. When I was a young person in high school, I attended the cello class at the New School of Music on a weekly basis. In addition to playing music for 16-20 cellists, my teacher Orlando Cole would bring a young cellist to the class for all of us to listen to, provide suggestions and learn how to teach. I started to teach when I arrived in the Bay Area to supplement my performing activities. In addition to teaching privately, I taught for the Young Musicians Program for scholarship youth at UCBerkeley until that program folded in 2013. In addition to cello, I taught harpsichord continuo, chamber music, cello sectionals, cello orchestra and rhythmic analysis.
Q. What types of customers have you worked with?
A. I have taught complete beginners as young as five, older beginners as old as seventy, students who are preparing for a career in music performance, amateurs and everything in between. I teach lessons in my home studio, or I can travel to your location up to 15 miles,I also accompany my students 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. Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
A. Lots of performing projects, ask me in person!
Q. What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
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. What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
A. They should think whether they are willing to make the commitment to practice at home and to come on a regular basis, cello or piano lessons require some individual work. Also if you are the parent of a young child, can you sit with your child to help him or her practice during the week?