I ought to have known how significant teaching would be in my musical life. My maternal grandfather, Herman Weinberg, was a devoted piano pedagogue. (family archival recordings) I couldn’t imagine the impact teaching might have at first. Looking on from the outside, I saw my colleagues building up private studios and expanding their vocation. I hadn’t quite come into my own enough as a player to channel my energies towards the next generation of cellists. However once I finally dove into guiding a handful of students, I realized just what I had been missing.
Teaching has become a natural extension of what I do as a performer. There’s a cycle: you give a lesson — you practice, rehearse and perform — the words spoken at the lesson resonate in your mind — those concepts are reworked — this reimagining is applied at future lessons. The teaching process therefore has a continuity which a budding cello student can benefit from.
I like to speak of an infiniteness experienced as a teacher. There is no end to learning about the student as a person, exploring their sensibilities towards music and talent for cello playing, determining the best ways to guide them through their hurdles. The techniques employed as a teacher are limited only by your imagination. The goal is to describe and incorporate what you glean in your day to day musical life. You end up combining the left and right sides of the brain in extraordinary ways. As a musician, I’ve rarely had this kind of creative awakening beyond the realm of teaching.