I had been playing with Liz for four years or so, when one day in the middle of my lesson I blurted out "you know, what I really want to do is play folk
music by ear." Up until that point I'd been playing a lot of classical pieces, but I had recently realized that what I really wanted to do was play in folk groups, and that my ear
wasn't really up to the challenge. The week after my spontaneous declaration Liz had come up with a huge list of exercises for us to do that would continue to build me as a
cellist and take me down the ear training/improvisation path I wanted to follow. She even came up with a plan that would keep me playing classical pieces, but with a twist that
would build my ear and my memory skills at the same time. It was wonderful, and we've been working in that direction ever since.
I have known Liz to transcribe or arrange pop music for her students, arrange traditional pieces to suit a student's playing level, and help a cellist write an accompaniment for her friends folk guitar song. Her frequent master classes give a sense of community and incentive to polish a piece that might otherwise not make that final hurdle. Aside from being a fantastic cellist and teacher, she genuinely cares about helping her students enjoy music, love their instruments, and take both in whatever direction makes them happy.
Choosing to learn the cello was the easy part of my post-retirement plan to pursue a life-long love of music.
The sound, the wonderful music for it, and the prospect of someday making music with a small group directed me to the cello. And besides, they are such beautiful
Musician friends advised that finding a teacher capable of dealing successfully with adults would be harder. I started my search on-line, found three prospects (within driving distance of my country locale) who taught adult beginners. I contacted them by email, followed up with phone conversations and arranged to meet.
Liz was the first of the meetings, and after spending an hour with her, I cancelled the other meetings. My gut told me I had found someone who would suit me. She is bright, engaging, professional, and prepared to help students deal with the wide chasm between understanding and doing.
Once my lessons progressed, Liz showed even greater teaching skills than I had imagined. She is quiet, listening with patience and attention, studying the student's playing to diagnose, and then -- the best part --- makes very specific technical suggestions. I always left my lesson with the urge to go home and practice what she had just advised. And she is efficient -- using the lesson time to make her inputs for the next steps, even though I longed to play over and over again when she played with me on my parts or in duets.
I have studied with Liz for 15 months, and want to thank her for making my introduction to playing the cello so satisfying and rewarding.