Introduction: Hi! Hope you're having a nice day so far. I’m Peter Ko, a professional cellist based in San Diego.
I’m currently working towards my Doctorate in performance at UC San Diego, where I study, perform, and teach full-time, and I lead the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus as Principal Solo Cellist. Prior to that, I spent a few years in Canada for my Masters, and my undergrad at UCSD. My career as a cellist so far has taken me across the USA, Canada, into Mexico, and Europe. I’ve studied and collaborated with many great performers such as Charles Curtis, Mark Fewer, and the Dover Quartet. I’ve served as principal solo cellist for ensembles such as the Pacific Lyric Opera, San Diego City Ballet Orchestra, and the CelloBash Orchestra, but chamber music and solo performance is where my strongest musical passions lie.
Not all good performers are good teachers—however, no mediocre performer is really a good teacher. The reason for this is simple: teachers have to draw from their expertise and experience in order to guide the student successfully. The craft of playing the cello is difficult and takes a persistent long-term approach to succeed, and no two students are ever alike; each requires their own specialized approach to tackle their own unique issues and succeed. Any teacher can get a student to play the notes of Twinkle Twinkle, but to do it well, with beautiful sound, musicality, and technique? That is rare, and requires a cellist who has already achieved a high standard. With my experience and insight, I can confidently say that I am one of those teachers that allow for students to flourish in that way.
With that in mind, I offer a unique set of experiences and approaches that will draw out the student’s best potential. You see, I was actually quite limited as a cellist when I was younger; only through passion, luck, and dogged persistence was I able to attain the level of musicianship I have now. As a result, I have special insights into what the common technical pitfalls are, and how to bridge almost any technical or musical difficulties that the student might have. My learning and teaching experience have taught me that talent, while real and nice, is superseded by effort and instruction.
As for my teaching experience itself, from 2015-2017, through my Masters degree, I was centrally involved with the Strong Harbour Strings Program in St. John's, Newfoundland. Strong Habour Strings is an after-school music program that provided free music education to the local inner-city children. Because of its free-cost nature, children had no incentive to come to their music lessons other than their enjoyment of the lessons and passion for music. I was successful in finding the balance between demanding a high standard from the student, while maintaining an enjoyable and encouraging atmosphere in my teaching. At UCSD now, I work as a teaching assistant for college courses, and give lessons to undergraduate cellists. Since moving back to San Diego, I have maintained a small studio of private students, ranging from the age of 5 to 75.
Teaching is a very fulfilling experience for me; it is very satisfying for me to see my students grow and develop as musicians in a positive way, and to see them transform as individuals overall, thanks to the empowering and enriching nature of studying music. My focus in teaching is to cultivate a set of skills within my students so that they may be the very best musicians they could possibly be, and for them to benefit from these skills in their everyday lives.
I hope to help you or your child achieve the best they can through the cello.