If you are interested in playing the cello and you are looking for somebody to teach and inspire you, I would highly recommend Maxfield.
I was 32 when I bought a cheap cello, and I was introduced to Maxfield through friends of friends while I was looking for a cello instructor in Madison, WI.
I had absolutely no idea what I was against as I started my lessons. I had played some recorder, drums, harmonica and guitar in the past, but I had had no experience with a bowed instrument. I also lacked any proper musical training, apart from music classes in middle-school. Later on it became apparent that I wasn't going to be the best pupil: I had a full-time job, and I wasn't putting in the necessary time practicing on the cello to gain better command of the instrument.
There are a few things about Maxfield that made me hang on and continue my classes with him for nearly two years:
- First, his love for the cello, his excitement when sharing something about his instrument with you, the pleasure he gets from music, it is contagious. This may sound cheesy to some, but, to me, this one goes at the very top.
- Second, even when I had not made any progress since the week before, Maxfield would always put something new on the table at our lessons, maybe a new exercise, a new piece or a simple snippet of a bigger piece (Bach? Bartok? Michael Jackson?), a new way of fixing my poor posture, an anecdote on why we do something in that specific way. This was important, especially because new info/experiences develops a feeling of progress, and that is essential for my motivation. (I would like to open parentheses to add that I am not a native speaker, so he had to play around with examples/explanations at times to make sure I *really* get it, and that he never made me feel guilty for slacking, which would have been a motivation killer.)
- Third, he can access the full range of what the cello can do. This is his instrument, no doubt. I very much enjoyed the times he would pull out some (usually complicated) piece he had studied to show why a certain exercise is important, or how a seemingly complex progression of sounds is actually quite simple, or how people have taken a simple technique and gone crazy with it. It's nice to see what's possible on the cello, even if when you know you can't possibly do it yourself. I put this last, because chances are, people who identify themselves as "cello instructors" will be sufficiently proficient on the instrument, especially for someone at my level.
I did perform on stage with my cello once, when I accompanied a Turkish folk song at a cultural event on campus, in front of ~250 guests. Although the lack of experience showed, I hit all the right notes at the right times, and I consider this my highest achievement on the cello. Nowadays, when people ask me about my favorite instrument, I tell them "even though I can't do it right, it is the cello." I believe this is Maxfield's highest achievement with me.