Teaching Philosophy


Music is about the process of creating something, working towards a larger goal with daily focus and hard work, and most of all sharing these experiences with one another. This is the foundation of Isabella's cello studio.

Why are private music lessons beneficial?

Music teachers have a unique opportunity to engage one-on-one with students on a regular basis.  This provides fundamental intellectual and philosophical support to the student, enabling them to explore their potential and develop their musical skills for applications within music and beyond.

For children in particular, private music lessons can complement their school education by supporting them to develop a range of transferable skills. Of particular importance is the need to foster problem solving and communication skills, and a developing ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Employers value self-discipline, incremental goal setting, regular practice and excellent communication, all of which are skills children and teenagers can develop through music lessons. Isabella aims to develop these skills from the ground up - students guide their learning programs with goals and ideas, and Isabella shapes a curriculum to suit their needs.

What are the core components of lessons with Isabella?

While training in the Dalcroze approach Isabella embraces the "experience before explanation" philosophy, guiding her students to experiment, improvise and discover musical concepts through curated activities. 

With individual lessons, Isabella strives to provide her students with tools necessary for finding solutions during practice time. These include self assessment and reflection, listening and aural skills, music theory, time management and motivation strategies. Often these skills are developed through student-led exploration of pieces, technical exercises, scales, chamber music, exam and audition repertoire, and an agreement between the teacher, student and parent on appropriate milestones and practice commitments. 

Duets and chamber music form a central part of lessons to develop aural awareness, musical communication skills and team work.

What types of classes are offered?

Isabella's students participate in weekly cello lessons of 30, 45 or 60 minutes duration. Other classes are run periodically, including theory classes and special workshops involving professionals from the field.  

At the end of each term, students can choose to participate in a concert that includes solo performances, small ensembles, and student compositions. The focus for these concerts is to create a supportive, safe environment for students to share the results of their hard work. Participation in these concerts is optional but encouraged.

Should I choose to do exams?

Examinations can be useful as a means to structure practice and measure progress, as well as providing evidence of achievement for auditions and applications. Examinations usually include a set of scales and technical exercises, 3 to 6 pieces to be prepared, a study of general knowledge, and the development of music theory and aural skills aligning with the AMEB or Trinity syllabuses. Isabella will only enrol students for exams if it is their choice, if they are adequately prepared, and if they are committed to regular practice and taking ownership of their learning.

However, for students who don't enjoy the examination process, a warm concert environment provides a wonderful platform for sharing music and a meaningful way to structure the musical learning process. Aiming to perform regularly at concerts is a significant goal for many students, and a strong alternative to preparing for exams. For example, a student learning a Bach Solo Cello Suite might prepare one or two movements each term to share at the end of term concert. Over the course of a year, they will learn the full Suite, ready to share at concerts and auditions, and having already practiced performing in public.

Is it too late for me to learn cello?

For those seeking a new hobby, the cello is an expressive instrument with a breadth of repertoire suiting all musical styles. It is easy to get started and the growing network of adult beginners in Brisbane is a wonderful community to be a part of. Once a term the adult cellists learning with Isabella get together to learn a piece together, share something they've been working on, and share their cello stories over a cup of tea. It is never too late to learn an instrument.

Book a trial lesson to find out more.