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.

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.