I'm a friendly & imaginative cellist & teacher, with many years of experience. I offer lessons and chamber coaching to students and adult amateurs. Having studied with some great masters I have many 'pearls of wisdom' to pass on!
- Which subject(s) do you teach?
(including Baroque & Classical style)
- Tell me about your qualifications.
GRNCM (Upper Division)
RAM Certificate of Advanced Studies
LRAM Teaching Diploma
M. Mus (Eastman School)
ARAM (Associate of RAM - honorary award)
- How much do you charge?
£50 an hour
- Where do you teach?
I have a teaching studio just off Highbury Fields.
(5 minute walk from Highbury & Islington station.)
- When are you available?
Due to the nature of my busy performing schedule my diary is flexible, so I am able to teach during the daytime or in the evening, sometimes at weekends and during the holidays, depending on what suits best. I can't guarantee the same time every week but I make every effort to accommodate.
- Which ages and levels do you teach?
10 yrs and above. No upper limit!
I don't specialise in beginners but several adults have persuaded me to teach them 'from scratch' and they are all doing very well !
I try to instil the same general principles of balance & ease of movement - whatever the level - focusing on beauty of sound, good sense of pitch, strong rhythm and the subtleties of phrasing with the bow as our means of musical expression. I also try to convey the most effective and efficient ways to practise..
- Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
Associated Board - but only if the students are keen to do exams.
- Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
I am exploring this area as it could facilitate keeping up with students' progress and questions while I'm away on tour and could be offered in combination with 1:1 lessons. I am on Skype and FaceTime but I need to research the best ways to approach this new teaching area. Requests are welcome and will all be considered.
- Do you have a personal message for students?
We play the most beautiful instrument ;) but practising on your own can be frustrating. I have lots of ways to demystify technical issues and aim to help you develop strong musical instincts. Most of all I hope you have fun and enjoy the process!
- What kind of experience do you have?
I have 18 years of teaching experience across the board - from working with advanced students at music college to taking players of all ages to Grade 8, with excellent results. I am equally happy to help those who prefer not to take exams & I also enjoy working with adult amateurs who want help preparing chamber music and orchestral parts. I have been persuaded to take on several adult beginners and am absolutely stunned at their progress! I really see no divide between these areas as I believe in applying 'first principles' at every level, however simple or complex the repertoire.
I have been on the Faculty of Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music (Baroque & Classical Cello) since 2003 and have also taught externally for the Purcell School. I have given a cello class at Guildhall School as well as being an external examiner at Trinity Laban and I co-led a 3-day Bach coaching for Sir John Eliot Gardiner's "Monteverdi Apprentice" Scheme together with Kati Debretzeni (2016). I was asked to coach the continuo team for Britten-Pears Young Artists' Programme at Snape (Easter course 2018) and this year I have also given masterclasses on solo Bach as a guest of the Cello Faculty at the Eastman School, NY and of the University of North Carolina and took part in a workshop for Hertfordshire Music Service with colleagues from the ORR during the orchestra's Autumn tours of Verdi & Berlioz.
On modern 'cello I have been a guest teacher on Ithaca College's Exchange Program (London Center, 2014) and at Bremen Hochschule (deputising for Alexander Baillie) and have coached students on Cambridge University CUMS & London Schools Symphony Orchestra courses (cello sectionals) and Pro Corda North (chamber music).
- Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
- Where and with whom did you train?
Emma Ferrand - Royal Northern College of Music
Alexander Baillie - Royal Academy of Music
Steven Doane - Eastman School of Music, N.Y.
Steven Isserlis & Ralph Kirshbaum - Prussia Cove
Karine Georgian & Frances-Marie Uitti - Dartington Summer School
Chamber Music coaching
Christopher Rowland, Eli Goren, Sir Michael Tippett, Sidney Griller
& members of the Amadeus, Takács, Smetena, Bartók & Vermeer Quartets
Historical Performance classes : Eastman School
Baroque - Paul O'Dette & Christel Thielmann
Classical - Malcom Bilson, Gretchen Wheelock
- Do you belong to any professional organisations?
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (1996-) co-principal
English Baroque Soloists (2000-) co-principal
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (1995-) no. 2 & guest principal
Les Siècles (2017-) - guest principal
Royal College of Music (2003-) - faculty
Musicans' Union - member
- Tell me about some of your current students.
They range from students at the Royal College of Music and on the Monteverdi Apprentice Scheme to keen adult amateurs playing regular chamber music, to adult beginners, to teenagers between Grades 5 and 8, plus specialist 'historical' students from elsewhere. I find no fundamental difference in how to approach playing and practising at all these levels and try to relate the same basic principles.
LRAM Teaching Diploma
M.Mus (Eastman School)
English Baroque Soloists
Orchestra Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Royal College of Music
Catherine is a truly exceptional teacher with a wonderful instinct for what the student needs at every moment – maybe an intense session on a piece, or a musicological, historic, philosophical insight, or going back to the very basics with patience and a sense of humour, until everything is understood. She's an intelligent, caring person who will be kind when spirits are low and offers a wonderful no-nonsense approach to the music profession balancing constructive criticism with reassurance.
Having learned with Catherine for just over a year, not only have I developed a grounding for understanding and practising historical performance, but my approach to learning an instrument has changed. My technical struggles have benefited from her teaching, which is very effective and instills confidence, along with my musicality which has developed alongside my growing knowledge of early music. Catherine offers sensitive guidance whilst still challenging you and I have great respect for her.
I started learning the cello as a rather fearful adult having dabbled as an adolescent. I came to Catherine working on Grade 7. She has begun to sort out my wayward left hand and pointed me in the direction of making a good sound. She is a rare combination of a fine player and a naturally gifted teacher, able to analyse and diagnose what is going on with rigour, yet never being anything other than encouraging and motivating. It's all backed up with really excellent knowledge of the repertoire.
cello lessons closeby? Here's a selection of tutor listings that you can check out.
|at her home||at your home||By webcam|
|1 hour||£50||Not available||£50|