Cello Lessons

Cello Lessons

5.0 (1)
2 hires on Lessons.com

About this pro

Principal Cellist of Lyric Opera of Chicago offering online cello lessons, regular spaces available.

In person lessons, Chicago area, by arrangement.

Any age or level welcome. 

Variable lesson lengths to suit your requirements and budget.

Teaching is a huge responsibility. It has always been a passion of mine and I love how I am challenged in a different way by each student to find ways to communicate the immensely complex and technical movements we have to make as cellists. I am driven by the possibility that my students may continue to rely on my guidance long after they have stopped regular lessons from me and I am constantly reminded of the great teachers I have had over the years. I draw on them as inspiration every day in teaching, as well as in my own practice. I strive to connect with each and every student this way, giving them the fundamental building blocks with which they can, over time, become their own teacher. A solid technique creates musical freedom and is the essential platform from which to launch one’s musical ideas. The more you push your limits, the wider the possibilities.”

“It’s so exciting to see the development of my students, whatever their age or end goal in music. I get equal enjoyment from helping someone to play those first open strings with a straight bow, as I do from guiding a young professional through their first orchestra audition. Of course the music world is a highly competitive environment, and having sat on both sides of the audition screen multiple times, I enjoying having the chance to prepare my students for what lies ahead.”

“In my opinion learning an instrument, especially in the early years, develops so many important life skills, including time management, work ethic, problem solving, individuality and self confidence, creativity… the list goes on and on. There are so many instances in everyday life where one can apply the same group of skills and principles to achieve success.”

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Chicago, IL 60605
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1 Review


  • Ruolan Xue

    I usually don’t like to write anything... but here I really want to talk about how a fantastic teacher Calum is! He is really professional — we usually go through a piece together, and however hard I practiced, he always provides many more insightful thoughts about how to get it better. Also he pointed out my tiny bad posture and habits(via zoom, impressively!) so that I will not be bottle-necked by them when I play higher level pieces. I really value his advises because they turn out correct every time. Also, Calum is very patient and willing to help. He offered me a ton of advices about buying cello and cello accessories via email(many tips when trying a cello, many recommendations in my price range that performs surprisingly well). I really appreciate how much extra time he used to help me out those little time consuming problems. I self-taught for 3 months and then learned with Calum for another 3-months. I can feel the HUGE improvement on my sound quality, my posture and my details. I started playing cello just for fun, but now it is more than fun to me! Influenced by his scholar-like attitude on cello, I desperately want to practice and play better. I definitely recommend knowing him. You will be impressed!


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Typically I spend some time getting to know the student through conversation, where we can discuss what their goals are, as well as how much time they can commit to practise. That way I can come up with a teaching strategy which will be of a suitable workload for the student, with the right balance of technical and musical elements.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

Principal Cellist of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Northwestern Faculty 

I have extensive experience in orchestra performance, and I have appeared as guest Principal Cello with numerous UK orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, amongst others. 
I moved to the US in 2014 and my current positions are Principal Cellist of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Section Cellist, Grant Park Festival Orchestra, and Cellist of the Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, Faculty member Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University, Chicago, specialising in orchestral studies, audition/competition preparation.

What types of students have you worked with?

I have always taught regularly throughout my busy performing career, and I previously held a teaching position at Chichester University while based in the UK. Now I have joined the faculty at Northwestern University, Chicago. I also teach private students, online and in person.

I have taught all ages, from 7 year-old children to University students launching their career, but also professional cellists looking to sharpen their skills before an audition or performance, as well as adult beginners, perhaps rediscovering a passion for music.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

It is important to feel comfortable with whoever you choose to learn with. Being relaxed is one of the key aspects of playing an instrument, and if you don't feel at ease with your teacher, your progress will likely be hampered because of tension in your body and also perhaps because of the inability to communicate freely.

Everyone has a slightly different approach to teaching an instrument. Ultimatley it should be fun. It is an incredibly complex skill to learn, but incredibly rewarding.

Lessons offered