The cello teacher is Teacher Ren. She has a music degree from Germany, with a specialisation in cello.
In the last fifteen minutes, Teacher Ren varied the activities and got the children to identify the notes she was playing. They had to throw a beanbag at the correct letter name. She made the task more challenging for J and he had to throw the beanbag with his back facing the letter names. As J performed this more advanced task, Little An got to pluck the strings of the cello for J to identify the notes. I must say Teacher Ren made it a point to engage Little An suitably. The children enjoyed themselves.
In the subsequent lesson, the children were taught to play the accompaniment for Pop Goes the Weasel and the D major scale. They played the open strings in the rhythm of titi titi ta ta (or busy busy stop stop). The children were familiar with this as Little An is in a Suzuki violin class in another music school and practises almost daily at home.
The fingering on the cello was similar to that on the violin, so J could play the scale fairly easily. However, Little An found it difficult to stretch her fingers. The strings were also thicker and needed more strength to press on. Teacher Ren gave Little An an interesting gadget to help her sense how the cello hand should feel like. She also concentrated on correcting J's bow hand as he was used to slanting it at an angle for the violin whereas the hand should be perpendicular to the bow when playing the cello. She frequently reminded him to maintain a good posture and I think this was very necessary at the beginning. It would be deplorable if the student becomes used to the wrong posture as it will be harder to correct him later on.
Teacher Ren is patient, encouraging and tailors the class to suit the needs of the children. The children are looking forward to their next cello lesson. Check out the blog for more updates in two weeks' time.
For now, if you are interested in Suzuki classes, Juzmusic Academy offers Suzuki violin, Suzuki cello and Suzuki piano classes. It offers regular classes in other instruments too. Check out their website for more information.