Julie Carew's Cello Studio

Julie’s thoughts on teaching...

I began thinking about becoming a cello teacher as I watched my younger sister take lessons from my cello teacher. I was in High School at the time and my sister was only 5 or 6, and I was amazed at how easy it seemed for her and how quickly she learned to play. My teacher was using the Suzuki Method with her, an approach I had not previously seen.

As I continued my journey through high school and college, I heard a variety of feedback about the Suzuki Method- everything from raves about how quickly and easily young students learned, to criticisms of how Suzuki students don’t learn how to read music. As I explored it further, I found the former to be generally true and the latter to be either a misconception, or an unfortunate case possibly caused by a teacher not properly trained in or using the Suzuki Method.

In fact Suzuki students DO learn to read, they just don’t learn that first. They learn music the way they learn a language, first hearing it and listening to it in their environment, then speaking (or playing, in the case of an instrument), and finally learning to read this new language. We wouldn’t expect a child to read words before he or she had heard or could speak them- why would we expect that of him or her in playing an instrument? Dr Suzuki’s method (click here for more information) made a lot of sense to me and I had seen its success firsthand, so I decided to pursue formal training in how to teach that way. While many teachers use the Suzuki Books for their teaching, true Suzuki teachers undergo a great deal of training. To learn more about that, please click here.

I decided to do long-term training in a university setting as part of a Masters Degree at the University of Denver. I studied with Carol Tarr and Richard Slavich and I learned more about teaching and playing the cello in my two years there than I had in my whole cello career up to that point. During my studies at the University of Denver, I decided that I really wanted to try to bring this kind of high quality instrumental music education to a community in which it was not already available. I decided to take some classes (Book 1A and 1B) in Suzuki Violin Pedagogy so that I would be able to offer violin lessons as well. While cello is my main instrument, I feel comfortable starting violin and viola students and I believe I can give them a solid foundation and a chance to figure out if this is something they’d like to pursue further in a few years. When I finished my degree program, I started a program offering group and private lessons as well as early childhood music classes to families in a low-income area of Denver at a cost that was affordable to them. Through writing grants and seeking out private donors I was able to hire trained Suzuki teachers to teach and eventually hand the program over to when I moved back to New England.

It is so very important for students to start and study with teachers who are trained to teach their instrument. Teaching is very different from performing, and while many great players are also great teachers, the two do not always go hand in hand. I have taught students of all ages and a vast range of abilities in many different settings, and I am currently accepting new students at my home studio in Greenfield, MA. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about the Suzuki Method or the way things work in my studio.For more information, please fill out a contact form or call and I will get back to you as soon as possible.


Youth orchestra

Last Update: 9-Oct-2016
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