Frequently asked questions

How much do you charge?

Tuition: Payment is due on a monthly basis and must be paid during the first lesson of each month. Please contact me for current rates and schedule.

How old do you have to be?

Students need to be at least 3 or 4 years old depending on their level of maturity and ability to focus. Students of all ages are welcome including adults; one is “never too old or too young to Twinkle.” If your child is between 18 months and 6 years old please consider taking my early education music classes at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton to kickstart their music education.

I have x-number of children. Do you have group rates for my children or may I bring younger ones to the lesson?

A variety of options are possible: parents may want a lesson and any number of children may take lessons. Family members and friends are welcome to observe lessons.

I am xx+ years old, am I too old for lessons?

Absolutely not! All ages are welcome. Currently half of my studio is comprised of adult students of all ages and experience levels and some are the most eager learners of all.

Can you come to my home to teach?

No, I do not do that.

Where are you located?

I teach out of my home studio in Woodbridge, VA as well as the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA and the Music and Arts in Springfield, VA.

Can I schedule lessons once a month or on an irregular basis?

No, I do not do that. However, if you are looking for coaching for a specific event I would be happy to schedule that for you. Sometimes a student needs extra help in preparation for an audition and misunderstandings can arise. Be clear and specific about what you want.

What methods do you use?

I use the Suzuki method, which allows me to adapt to the needs of every child while having a common path for all students. For younger beginners reading is delayed to allow for development of the ear and listening skills. For older beginners I incorporate reading into the lessons much sooner so they are able to keep up in school and play in orchestras. All students learn scales and basic music theory. I also offer a variety of supplemental books/activities to incorporate every student into my studio on a personal basis.

A special note for older students who have only studied in public school: Even at my advanced level, if I were to begin study with a new cello professor at a university they would start me over using their own methodologies so you will need to do that, too, though your progress may be faster than someone who has never studied at all. Patience is required particularly when private instruction is started later on, but the rewards are substantial.

I heard parent involvement is necessary for the Suzuki method, do I really need to be at every lesson?

Yes, it is ideal and strongly encouraged that the parent stay during each lesson until the student is a teenager and is required for students ages 7 and under. The role of a parent is to be the at-home teacher for the child – to aid them in instruction when the teacher is not there. Please do not worry if you are not a musician because all necessary information will be provided during the lessons. For more detailed information on the Suzuki method and parental involvement please see links below and feel free to ask me specific questions.

"As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as ‘home teachers’ during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands what the child is expected to do. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment."

More information on the Suzuki method can be found here:

Where can I purchase a cello?

Your own instrument is required for lessons. If you do not already have one I can recommend places to rent/buy from depending on where you live so please feel free to contact me for suggestion. While the student is little and growing they will require smaller or fractional size instruments so renting is a good option until the student is fully grown and a full sized instrument can be purchased.

What do I need to bring to my lessons?

A full list is included in the studio policy, but a short list includes an appropriately sized instrument, bow, and chair (for young children) plus rockstop, rosin, pencil, sheet music, and notebook.

What is your background and how long have you been teaching?

My biography can be found in the About Me section of this website.

How do I contact you with further questions?

For scheduling, exact location details, and further questions please email me at JoanTeachesCello@gmail.com