Ask the Teacher - Vladimir Panteleev

panteleev

The New York-based pedagogue discusses the best way to start youngsters on the cello

How do you start the learning process?

Beginning a stringed instrument is very complicated, especially for children as young as four or five. When they start, I tell them that they are like magicians in the circus: they have to juggle position, left hand, right hand, drawing the bow, pitch, dynamics and phrasing all at once. It’s a big challenge, so we go step by step.

Firstly I show them how to sit properly and I explain why. I say that if they are talented they will be able to play well with bad posture, but soon they will have problems and won’t be able to progress. Some children can’t – or don’t want to – remember this, so I have to keep helping them to hold their bodies in the right position.

I tell all my students to think about what I say. If they can prove they have found a better way of doing something, I will let them do it.

If you are already a subscriber, sign in here

Sign up for a free 7-day trial to read this article in full

Strad subscription

 

This article is usually available exclusively to subscribers.

For a limited period, you can enjoy all the benefits of an online subscription free for 7 days. Sign up now to read this article in full and to enjoy unlimited access to all premium online content, a digital edition of the latest issue, plus an online archive of more than 100+ back issues.