Wednesday Teaching Reflections: Cello Schools of Playing

"Portrait of an Artist" by Jon Silpayamanant
"Portrait of an Artist" by Jon Silpayamanant, color pencil collage drawing of the late Mstislav Rostropovich, original dimensions 11 x 19 (1990)

For some time now, I’ve been thinking about various technical advances purportedly made by different schools of cello playing over the, well, centuries. Some of this has been spurred on by my interest in how cello technique has developed outside the Western World, but earlier last year I came across a dissertation by Marie-Elaine Gagnon from 2006 titled “The Influence of the French Cello School in North America” and also last year I had purchased a copy of the Cambridge Companion to the Cello (ed. by Robin Stowell) and my thoughts turned toward how the cello is used in Western countries as well.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve just been spending a lot of time reading through so many of the old method books by various cello pedagogical figures in the Western world and have just become more and more intrigued by this instrument I’ve spent so many years learning to play and am just delighted to constantly find interesting things about the instrument’s history.

I think that the majority of my blogging about teaching reflections will focus as much, if not more, on the history of cello technique and pedagogy than just on my personal reflections.


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