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An interview with Alan Stellings (RMT):

What musical areas do you teach?

"I teach cello, double bass (contrabass, string bass), theory and improvisation. Being a registered member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association (O.R.M.T.A.), I maintain private studios in Guelph and Toronto. Students range from children to adolescents to adults. Many come to me as beginners, wanting to learn to play and often to learn to read music as well." 

cello music picture of mycellomusic.com O.R.M.T.A. logo for registered cello teacher Alan Stellings

 

cello music picture of mycellomusic.com O.R.M.T.A registered cello teacher cellist Alan Stellings

Do you take on beginner students?

"With beginners (both adults and younger people), students have fun making up their own lists of favorite melodies they would like to play. In this way, students have a sense of ownership in their music. They can learn to read music through being completely familiar with the songs they choose. Once they have worked their way through their first group of songs, they are prepared to move on to material that begins to challenge the playing and reading skills they have acquired. A little bit of improvisation at the early stages gives my students a feeling of developing a more personal and intuitive approach to playing music."

 

 

Do you have more advanced students?

"Many students come to me for lessons having studied previously. Sometimes students want to study toward Royal Conservatory of Music (R.C.M.) Examinations. That works out well, because I was an Examiner on the RCM Board of Examiners for many years. In fact, I have trained some of my former students to be examiners! I am proud to say that one of the last things I accomplished before leaving the RCM was to complete the new Cello Syllabus, which continues to be in use today." 

 

cello music picture of mycellomusic.com faculty member of the Royal Conservatory of Music cellist Alan Stellings

A picture of the newly renovated RCM in Toronto.

cello music picture of mycellomusic.com cello teacher and cello examiner cellist Alan Stellings Do you require your students to take exams?

"I have prepared many students for exams. But exams are not necessarily for everyone. The desire to take an exam, in my view, must come from the student. Some people like to have exam-type goals, and I can certainly prepare them to do very well.  But other people don't like the pressure and just enjoy studying for its own sake. I leave that up to my students. My job is to give students a positive experience in learning music."

Do you provide performing opportunities for students?

"Being a performer is one of the great joys of my life. I encourage all my students to look for ways to perform. Sometimes that may involve simply playing for your cat, (ha, ha). I know my cat likes music. Beyond that, I look for groups for my students. Some play in student orchestras, community orchestras, amateur chamber groups, you name it. I have formed a cello quartet of young lads who call themselves "Cello S Quad." They perform in concerts, Kiwanis Festivals, for Seniors Groups and even in coffee shops. Wherever I can, I try to create performing opportunities for students. This is how you can get the icing on the cake after all that practicing." Some of my adult students have performed with the Toronto School for Strings Orchestra. They have found that to be a welcoming experience.

cello music picture of mycellomusic.com professional cellist with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Alan Stellings

 

 

"Some of my students who play in the Guelph Youth Music Centre String Orchestra will be joining the Guelph Symphony Orchestra in a gala concert."

cello music picture of mycellomusic.com metronome of cellist Alan Stellings

Do you have more advanced students?

"Many students come to me for lessons having studied previously. Sometimes students want to study toward Royal Conservatory of Music (R.C.M.) Examinations. That works out well, because I was an Examiner on the RCM Board of Examiners for many years. In fact, I have trained some of my former students to be examiners! I am proud to say that one of the last things I accomplished before leaving the RCM was to complete the new Cello Syllabus, which continues to be in use today." 

"Some students are getting ready for entry into University Music Degree Programs and others are trying out for professional orchestras while others are getting ready for solo appearances. That is an exciting time for students. It is fun for me to work on the subtleties of performance with my students. It is especially gratifying to see them do well."

 

How do you work on improvisation?

"For me, improvising is making music from the heart. I find that when students let themselves be free of the notes on the page, they discover wonderful things about music. So, free improv is a good way to start. Then we go to modes, which sound exotic. I play in duet format with my students, to give them ideas to bounce around. Last summer, we began our annual "Improv Camp". Students of all instruments were invited to share in a week of learning to improvise on the blues. At the end of the week, they impressed themselves and their relatives and friends by taking solos in our "Final Jam Session." Everyone had fun. One young lady who played violin seemed to be floating on air after that week!"

cello music picture of improvisation teacher cellist Alan Stellings
How can you be contacted?

"Call at one of the numbers below and I will be happy to discuss your plans for musical study. If you wish to email me, I will respond to set up a time when we can talk on the phone. Then we can arrange a time for you to come by my studio. We can meet and get to know each other before starting to embark on the exciting road of musical study." 

Local call in Guelph: 519-766-1094

Toll free: 1-877-715-2507

cello music picture of email contact of mycellomusic.com cellist Alan Stellings