Ask the Teacher - Dobrila Berković Magdalenić
The cello teacher stresses the importance of relaxation and thinking of music in terms of colour
How much contact do you have with your students each week?
We have one-hour lessons twice a week, which is a real luxury. In Croatia, every child is encouraged to learn an instrument and the cost of tuition is paid by the government. For most of my career I have taught students aged six to eighteen, but for the last few years I have had to concentrate on the older pupils as I have a problem with my voice.
How do you structure your lessons?
We usually warm up with some technical work on scales, then exercises from books such as the Cellist’s Music Folder (edited by Natalia Shakovskaya), and then we work on repertoire. But it depends on how the student is feeling. If a student seems very unhappy one day, it can be more productive to talk than to play. I know many more secrets about my students than their parents ever get to hear!