Kyra Saltman

Welcome To My Studio

I teach students of all ages how to play the cello - adults,  teenagers, and children as young as three and a half years old using the Suzuki Method.

 

Lessons

Lessons take place one-on-one at my home studio, and are thirty minutes to an hour depending on the age and level of the student. They are typically scheduled once a week, with group classes and recitals scheduled periodically throughout the year.

What topics are covered in lessons? What activities take place?

Lesson activities include repertoire, review,  cello technique, listening and analysis skills, music theory, note-reading, music history, and acoustics. 

The first few months of lessons cover how to hold the cello and the bow, and how to use arms, legs, and back in a way that makes playing easy and healthy. The goal is to begin as simply as possible, and to gradually build on ability as the music becomes increasingly complex. As a teacher, I work hard to make sure that my students start out with good technique, so that it isn't necessary to go back and do remedial work, which can be frustrating.

Parental involvement for young children

Parental involvement is a distinguishing feature of the Suzuki method. When a child is very young, one parent (we call this the the practicing parent) attends lessons and participates directly in them, learning to play themselves and helping their child in the lesson. They will take notes or record the lesson, and at home the child and parent will practice together. As the child grows older, the role of the parent naturally evolves as the child learns to practice on their own.

Parents without any prior knowledge of music are welcome-  you don't need to know anything about music to be a great Suzuki practicing parent - although you will learn a lot about music in the process!

Performance

In addition to multiple performance opportunities in the form of studio recitals where the entire studio performs on one recital,  students work towards their individual book recitals - once they have learned every piece in their Suzuki book, and reviewed it sufficiently, they're ready to get up and perform the entire book for memory for their friends and family. It's a very exciting moment, and quite an achievement!

How young should you start?

The Suzuki method is known for starting children on instruments as young as three and a half. For parents whose children are asking to play at this age, it can be great to know that it is possible, in fact preferable to begin lessons this young! Starting young has a lot of benefits. When a child begins to learn at three or four, playing their cellos emerges naturally out of pre-existing toddler play, and by the time they are old enough to be juggling homework, sports, and other activities they are already quite skilled cellists. By starting young, we are taking advantage of the child's innate abilities to learn quickly and well. It's not an exaggeration to say that the age a child begins can make a difference to their playing for the rest of the lives. Among adult musicians, it's entirely possible to spot someone who began at three or four because of the fluency and intuitiveness of their playing compared to those around them. 

A good rule of thumb is that children are generally ready for lessons when they are potty trained, can count up to 4 and know their alphabet from A to G, and when home life is organized in a way that regular weekly lessons and 5-10 minutes of regular practice a day is possible. In Suzuki education, young children do not need to be able to sit still or concentrated for any particular length of time prior to beginning lessons.

Please feel free to contact me  with any questions you may have. You can also investigate the Suzuki method further by visiting the Suzuki Association of the Americas webpage.

What are your rates?

You can see my studio information sheet here with information about rates, studio policies, and more. 

Amelie at the Andersonville Farmer's Market

Amelie at the Andersonville Farmer's Market

Interested in Suzuki cello lessons? Schedule a meet-up here!

Traditional Lessons

In addition to teaching the Suzuki method, I teach traditional lessons for adult students, older beginners, or students who have already been playing in school orchestra or private lessons with a traditional teacher. 

If a student is younger than eight, Suzuki lessons are strongly commended. However, past a certain age and level the distinction between Suzuki and traditional lessons becomes less concrete. For older beginners and adults, I may incorporate some elements of Suzuki teaching while pursuing a personalized curriculum suited to their specific interests, age, and ability. 

 

Summer Suzuki Cello Starter Pack for Preschoolers

Between the ages of 3 and 6 is the absolute best time to start learning a musical instrument. Preschool-aged children’s brains are developing rapidly and they learn quickly and thoroughly. The skills that children learn at this age are integrated into their beings for the rest of their lives.

That being said, beginning lessons at this age can offer some challenges. Sometimes it takes a little while to know if the instrument or teacher are the right fit, and only have a lesson once a week is a long gap for children this young until they get into a routine around lessons and practicing.

To make things a little easier, I have begun offering Suzuki Cello Starter Pack for preschoolers.

How it works:

You sign up for eight 20-30 minute cello lessons scheduled during three weeks.  Daily lessons allow children to hit the ground running, become immersed in the learning process, and consolidate skills quickly and build on the things that they’ve learned the day before. Additionally, they get accustomed to playing their instruments every day which sets the groundwork for daily practice in the future. As a parent, you get a crash course in how to practice with your child and build on daily progress. After the starter pack lessons are up, you can switch over to regular weekly lessons.

Tuition rates are deeply discounted- $224 for the starter pack, which is $28/lesson (regular tuition breaks down to $40/lesson for a half hour).  Note that the starter pack is only available for lessons at my home studio in Andersonville.

Questions? Email me at kyrasaltman@gmail.com. If you're curious to learn more about the Suzuki Method, click here

My Teaching Philosphy

For me, music has always been first and foremost about expression and passion. I love the sound of the cello, but more than that I love the power with which it conveys emotions which are sometimes too complicated to be described. Listening and playing music has always felt like a departure from the real world into an enchanted one. My mission as a teacher is to grant my students access to that world. 

My background

I began studying music at a young age. My two older siblings and my mother took piano lessons, and I begged for piano lessons almost immediately, although I didn't start playing until I was six. 

My parents loved classical music, and we listened to it regularly growing up. My mother loves opera and Bach, and my dad is more of a fan of Tchaikovsky and Berlioz. My interest in music took off when I enrolled in the Austin Chamber Music Center Summer Workshop, at the end of sixth grade. That was where I first had the experience of playing chamber music with others, and heard a string quartet play for the first time. I continuing studying at the chamber music center for the rest of junior high and high school.

I went to study with Brandon Vamos, the cellist in the Pacifica Quartet, for my undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois. After college, I moved to Chicago and received my Master's Degree with Dr. Tanya Carey, who was Brandon's first teacher. During my studies with Dr. Carey, I became interested in pedagogy and received my Suzuki certification through the apprenticeship program with her as well.

You can read more about my professional life here.