Ask the Teacher - Chu Yibing


The Chinese cello pedagogue shares his advice on helping his students to think for themselves

What’s the first question you ask a new student?

‘Do you really like the cello?’ and then, ‘Why are you sitting there?’ Often they answer, ‘Why not?’ Eventually they might tell me their parents force them to play, but whatever happens, students always remember that I asked. It is not part of Chinese culture for a teacher or an older man to ask young people these things, and many students will not have been in that situation before. I think it’s good for them. A lot of people who learn an instrument in China don’t like it – I didn’t. But now I do, and I tell them this. Asking the questions at least means they begin to think for themselves and start to have ideas of their own.

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.