I'm an imaginative and friendly teacher and an experienced and versatile cellist who has performed internationally with leading ensembles on both period and modern instruments for 25 years. I have taught at the Royal College of Music since 2003 and I offer both individual lessons and chamber music coaching to private students and adult amateurs.
I studied with the great American pedagogue Steven Doane (among other distinguished 'maestri') and as a result I have many 'pearls of wisdom' to pass on!
I aim to demystify technical problems, to help you develop strong musical instincts and most of all to have fun and enjoy the process!
- 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?
£60 an hour
- Where do you teach?
I usually have a teaching studio just off Highbury Fields (5 minute walk from Highbury & Islington station), but currently lessons are online only.
- When are you available?
Since my busy performing schedule is cancelled until further notice, I am able to be very flexible regarding online lesson times, while the "new normal" daily routine settles in.
- 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 aim to instil confidence by applying basic principles of balance & ease of movement, 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 try to convey relevant technical tips, to give a sense of the musical context and to encourage a positive attitude to practising and performing, whatever the level!
- 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.
As this is currently the only option, I have adapted to teaching via Skype and Zoom. I also have Whats App and FaceTime. I am happy to scan practise handouts & email lesson notes as required. Obviously it's not quite the same as working 'live' but it seems to be going pretty well and the music industry is being very helpful with technical advice.
- 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 I 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 over 20 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 and I enjoy working with adult amateurs on preparing chamber music and orchestral parts. Having been persuaded to take on some adult beginners I am absolutely stunned at their progress!
I have been on the Faculty of Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music (Baroque & Classical Cello) since 2003. I have also coached string quartets at Pro Corda North, taken the cello sections of London Schools Symphony Orchestra and Cambridge University Music Society, taught on the Ithaca College Exchange Program and externally for the Purcell School, given a cello class at Guildhall School and deputised for Alexander Baillie at the Bremen Hochschule.
I co-led a three-day Bach workshop for Sir John Eliot Gardiner's "Monteverdi Apprentice" Scheme together with Kati Debretzeni and have also taken part in a workshop on Verdi's Requiem with colleagues from the ORR. In 2018 I gave masterclasses on Bach's Cello Suites in the USA, as a guest of the Cello Faculty at the Eastman School, NY and at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I was also the continuo tutor for the Britten-Pears 'Young Artists' Programme' Baroque course (Handel's Theodora) at Snape Maltings. In 2019 I was invited to lead a three-day 'residential' string quartet course at a private home, for very advanced amateurs!
I really see no divide between these areas as I believe in applying 'first principles' at every level, however simple or complex the repertoire.
- 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?
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (1995-) no. 2 & guest principal
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (1996-) co-principal
English Baroque Soloists (2000-) co-principal
Les Siècles (2017, 18, 19, 20) - guest principal
Musiciens du Prince (2019) - 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 some younger colleagues who wish to explore Historical Performance.
Member of :
English Baroque Soloists
Orchestra of Age of Enlightenment
Orchestra Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Guest Principal :
Royal College of Music
LRAM (Teacher's Diploma)
Certificate of Advanced Studies, RAM
M. Mus (Eastman School of Music, NY)
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.
I have been privileged to witness the incredibly strong bond between my youngest son Matteo and Cathy, his much loved and respected cello teacher. Not only did she introduce him to the world of classical music with sensitivity, depth and scholarship, she also developed in him what will no doubt be a lifelong passion, along with the confidence to express himself musically and the rigour to aim for the best.Â I am hugely grateful to her for being the best of teachers, and such a wonderful musician.
I studied with Catherine in London with my University exchange (Ithaca College). Her insight into the Classical and Baroque styles was invaluable to my understanding of the periods, but her versatility as a musician is also a true inspiration. I also worked on Romantic and 20th-century music with her, to which she brought useful and inspiring instruction. Her knowledge & vast array of extremely useful practice techniques have definitely helped me evolve not just as a cellist but as a musician.
Cathy is a wonderful teacher. She is positive yet particular; concise in her explanations yet with a broad outlook that includes scholarship, philosophy and musicology. While possessing an alarmingly keen insight, she is friendly and informal, creating an atmosphere where experimentation feels easy and right. Everything she says has a brevity and simplicity, yet also a depth that keeps you thinking for a long time afterwards.
Cathy was hands-down the best music teacher I've ever had! Her expertise on the cello and her ability to teach that skill in creative and entertaining ways is unrivaled (her great sense of British humor always made lessons light-hearted and a blast!). If you are a prospective student of hers, feel free to call my American cell at 609-651-7617 to hear me rave about her as a teacher and as a person!
Catherine is a brilliant, inspiring teacher and very fine musician. She is very encouraging, kind and patient. She is also completely practical and can show me exactly how to practise to achieve the musical effect I want. My playing has improved and become freer with her help and guidance.She always has lots of interesting information to pass on about the composer or form of the music. She makes our lessons fun and interesting. I could not recommend her more highly
Cathy helped me to identify not just the "what" I needed to improve, but the "how" of the mechanics - and the psychology and musical intention required to achieve better technique and greater confidence. It was a revelation - nobody had taught me that before! It's so much more than repetition. Her enthusiasm, expertise, and encouragement inspired me to spend more time exploring my musical potential.
Catherine is an amazing teacher. I had a history of switching cello teachers every few months or so until I came across Catherine, who ended up teaching me for seven years! She took me through from a confused beginner to a Grade 8 distinction cello player, and everything I know about cello now comes from her. I'd definitely recommend any person looking to learn cello to go to her.
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||Not available||Not available||£60|