Ask the Teacher - Hans Rabus


The Berlin-based cello pedagogue discusses bow holds, practice regimes and allowing time for improvement

How do you approach teaching young people, and adults?

I teach a few teenagers, but mostly adults between 24 and 64. All students, independently of their level, have one thing in common: they want to feel free and comfortable during their lessons, and it is up to the teacher to make sure they do. The learning processes of a beginner, an advanced amateur and a professional player are comparable – they all have to be cultivated and given time to grow, and they will do so in their own time.

What shortcomings do you encounter most frequently in students?

Uncertainty about their intentions, and an excess of self-criticism. And in case you were expecting me to say ‘intonation’ or ‘position changes’, let me add that I consider these to be lifelong chores that don’t only concern students. On the other hand, I notice that many string players have a stiff bow-arm wrist.


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