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Teaching

Teaching has always been at the center of my activities. Besides the institutional positions I have held at the Musikakademie Kassel (2000 to 2007), the University of Auckland (2009 to 2014 and 2016 to 2020) and as an Honorary Professor at the China Conservatory of Music (2017 to 2020), I have taught privately since the 1990s, be it for short-term periods, e.g. when students were preparing for auditions or competitions, or long-term. Please contact me if you are interested in having lessons with me in Vienna!

I have given masterclasses at many universities, conservatories and festivals, including:

  • Asia
    • Shanghai Conservatory of Music
    • China Conservatory of Music
    • Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing
    • Tianjin Conservatory of Music
  • Europe
    • Folkwang Universität der Künste, Essen
    • Holzhauser Musiktage
    • Internationale Sommerakademie Kurt Pahlen Lenk
    • Orchesterzentrum Dortmund
    • University of St Andrews
  • U.S.
    • New England Conservatory
    • Longy School of Music of Bard College
    • University of Illinois
  • South America
    • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
    • Universidad de Chile

Through my position as Head of School at the University of Auckland (2016 to 2020), I have become increasingly interested in curriculum development and general questions of music education at the tertiary level. For many institutions, the transition from heavily prescribed curricula to flexible and student-centered degree pathways seems difficult, particularly when it involves questioning what is taught as the canon. Integrating pedagogy, early and contemporary music, non-western repertoire and playing techniques into every student's education will be the big challenge for this new decade. If you work at an institution and are keen to have a conversation, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

 

Vienna Virtuoso Archive

In 2016 and 2017, we filmed a few instructional videos at the Mozarthaus in Vienna for an online teaching startup called Vienna Virtuoso, which unfortunately does not exist any more. However, I think some of these videos are still relevant and might provide some inspiration for teachers and students alike.

Introduction to Vienna Virtuoso

This is the introductory video, where I talk a little bit about my personal history and the online learning adventure that was about to start. 

How to Sit Properly

Unfortunately, this video has some sound issues, but I am quite happy with the explanation that I came up with for how to set yourself or a student up for a healthy playing position as a cellist. It is quite simple really: look for right angles in your ankles, knees and hips ... for the rest: watch the video!

How to Hold the Bow

Naturally, there are many different ways of explaining a bow hold that works, and around the world, there are many different approaches through different traditions. However, this is the way I have played and taught for many decades, and it has worked for me and my students. Give it a go!

How to Choose a Bow

Choosing the right instrument and bow is difficult for cellists of all ages, abilities and financial possibilities. This video is an attempt to explain a few aspects that are important when choosing a bow, regardless of its price or the level of playing that you are at.

 

How to Shift

This is a focus lesson on shifting and how to practice controlling speed and audibility of your shifts. There are various methods of shifting, depending on what combinations of fingers you use and how you time it in relation to a bow change (if there is one) when shifting.

How to Practice Spiccato

In this short focus lesson, I give some ideas how to practice a controlled spiccato: it should involve change from upbow to downbow in the air, so that the bow touches the string at exactly the same point for each note. It is also important that there is no noise produced when a note begins (other than for martelé, where each note starts with the bow on the string).

How to Practice Bars 20, 22 and 24 from Popper's Etude Op. 73/1

Other than playing this study using a beautiful spiccato (see the lesson above), these bars prove to be the most difficult for most students. Here are a few tricks how to practice the different ways of shifting, thus ensuring secure intonation.