Chris teaches private cello lessons exclusively for students at Andrews University (Michigan) and in the Avon Orchestras program (Indiana).
Chris has twenty years of experience teaching cellists of all ages and abilities, from beginners to emerging professionals. Students' pre-college accomplishments have included Steinway Young Artist selection (Illinois) and membership in the Illinois All-State Honors Orchestra. Cello students majoring in music at Andrews University and the University of Notre Dame have won university concerto competitions on multiple occasions, and Chris has been invited to lead Master Classes at multiple universities. Components of his teaching philosophy and strategies include:
- Using universally-recognized teaching materials for developing students, including Suzuki Method repertoire and etudes by Popper, Dotzauer, Piatti, Sevcik, Mooney, etc.
- Creating customized technical strategies for each student's needs, including using my self-published technique books
- Comprehensive approaches to performing traditional cello repertoire, including familiarity with multiple styles and periods and unlocking students' creativity and imagination
- Writing feedback during lessons so that students can set and keep track of their goals and my suggestions on an ongoing basis
- Supplementing studies with chamber music experiences, including playing duets with cello and/or piano, with cello choirs (video from 2021), and public performances
- Finding and arranging music in any style, as relevant, to provide students with relevant and versatile experiences
- Advanced studies for pre-professional cellists may include focusing on orchestral audition excerpts, repertoire in contemporary styles, or other creative activities such as improvisation
Pre-college student in Illinois (2017)
Student at Andrews University (2022)
As an orchestral conductor and educator, studies and adventures in music education influence how Chris approaches working with students. When rehearsing with students, he prioritizes sharing skills and concepts that can be applied throughout their playing and in their lives beyond. At times, collaborating together has been reportedly quite fun! Chris' experience leading student orchestras includes:
- Guest Conductor for multiple professional and university symphony orchestras
- Conductor, Andrews University Symphony (2018-2022); Assistant Conductor, Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra (2016-18); Assistant Conductor, Peninsula Music Festival (2018)
- Conductor, Music Festival orchestra at Andrews University (students from throughout the Midwest, 2020)
- Previous chamber music faculty (string quartet coach) at Midwest Young Artists in Highwood, Illinois
- Orchestra Director for grades 6-12 string and symphonic orchestra students in DeKalb, Illinois (2007-14)
- Director and Arranger of music, DeKalb High School String Band; Assistant Artistic Director, Saline Fiddlers (alternative styles performance groups)
- Cello Sectional Coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra
- Trained in multiple approaches to rehearsing ensembles (eg. participant for WMEA workshop "Comprehensive Musicianship Through Performance;" conducting apprentice, Civic Orchestra of Chicago)
Interested in collaborating? Contact me to discuss potential projects!