A passionate teacher,
Glenna began teaching privately in 2002. In addition to maintaining a private teaching studio in Rochester, NY, she serves on the faculty of St. Peter's Community Arts Academy in Geneva, NY, and was recently appointed to the faculty of Hobart & William Smith Colleges.
Every inch of the experience and age spectrum is represented in Glenna's studio; her current students range from 4 to 80 years of age, from complete beginners with no previous musical experience to advanced, pre-professional players.
Glenna feels that making music is a profound way to appreciate and to participate in the shared human experience. She hopes, above all, to instill her students with a sense of joy and freedom when playing the instrument, to create a sense of community within her studio, and to help her students connect with their own communities by sharing their gifts.
"A solid technical foundation is essential. I spend a great deal of time helping my students work toward building ergonomic, healthy form and positioning. I prioritize injury prevention and often incorporate elements of Yoga and Alexander Technique to help students understand how to use key muscle groups efficiently and release tension. This is not because I have a particular end goal in mind for my students— each has their own goals in learning the instrument— but rather because forming healthy technique enables us to get the most enjoyment out of music making! I am privileged to have studied with some of the music world's most respected teachers and performers, including Alan Harris, Catharina Meints, Amir Eldan, Richard Aaron, and Steven Doane. These exceptional musicians have not only taught me how to play the cello, but they have taught me how to teach-- and I am so grateful to be able draw from this rich pool of musical viewpoints and teaching styles. With this background, I hope to help my students cultivate a clear and detailed understanding of the mechanics of playing the cello, and ultimately to become resourceful problem solvers in their individual practice. A cellist of any experience level can develop healthy, effective technique and enjoy making music.
The study of music must go beyond solitary practice. I frequently stress the importance of keeping a daily practice routine, but I also believe that the ability to connect with others through music making is the ultimate joy of playing an instrument. Thus, I encourage my students to learn chamber music together in pairs and small groups, and give them frequent performing opportunities in the form of studio recitals, studio get-togethers, and outreach performances at nursing homes and other locations. Through these events, cellists hone their teamwork and collaboration skills and enjoy learning from each other and getting to know each other. But perhaps more importantly, they become aware that they can share something positive with their community.
Every student learns differently. My teaching approach is centered around creating a personalized method for each student. I work hard to understand the learning style of each student, and strive to be able to communicate each concept in as many ways as necessary. Beyond demonstrating and having students mimic, I frequently use metaphors, visuals, and movement to help build understanding. Group ensemble meetings often include exercises in eurythmics (the study of feeling rhythm with the body) and ear training (using singing exercises to develop listening skills) to build musicianship skills away from the instrument.
Historical context makes learning more meaningful. I am excited to offer a unique perspective as a teacher who also specializes in "historically informed performance"-- or, the exploration of how to play music the way it was played at the time it was written. Simply put, musicians two or three hundred years ago played music differently from musicians today. I am constantly blown away by the interest my young students show in learning about this, and offer them historical context whenever I can: beyond learning how to shape phrases, students might learn to dance a basic baroque dance step to better understand how the rhythm of a minuet should feel, or get to hear or even try playing an historical instrument. It is a delight to watch a student open up and play with more feeling as their understanding of a piece gains depth; playing a minuet is certainly a lot more interesting if you experience how it feels to dance it, and try to imagine having to move gracefully wearing 50 pounds of clothing! Though this is not the only lens through which I teach my students, it certainly opens up a remarkable path toward making music that truly lives and breathes.
Yes, Glenna is currently accepting new students! Please see homepage for contact information.