New Cello Teachers – Yeliza Aleman Gaetan

Yeliza Cello Teacher

Yeliza is the kind of person that can put you at ease from the first moment you meet her. She’s incredibly professional, but also relaxed and exudes positivity. This is the combo you want in a music teacher. She’ll offer students the discipline needed to learn an instrument, as well as the encouragement and light heart to wade over challenges along the way. In talking with Yeliza about future workshops and programs at Philly Music Lessons, I learned quickly how passionate she is about teaching. Though she teaches all ages, her and I have been excitedly planning our Spring Strings 2016 workshop for kids ages 4 – 5 and 6 – 7. I loved her reference to the early cello training workshops that inspired her in Puerto Rico. In these classes, as well as many beginner cello lessons for young kids, its common for students to start out on cardboard instruments, which they have spent time making themselves. This, she explained, teaches students how to care for their instruments, earning the opportunity to play on the real thing (On top of that, getting to craft a cardboard cello is pretty fun!).

Starting out the workshop with this mindful approach speaks a lot to the importance of patience and respect when you’re learning music (muscle memory comes in due time, just as getting to handle an expensive object like a cello comes with learning how to respect and care for instruments). It also speaks to Yeliza’s understanding of how to teach kids cello in a fun and creative way.

In private lessons, Yeliza offers excellent guidance for beginner and advanced students of all ages. With the Suzuki Method as her primary teaching tool, Yeliza offers violin lessons as well as cello. She also offers instruction for voice and piano too. Being bilingual, Yeliza teaches music lessons in Spanish as well.

Here’s Yeliza, playing Bach:

You can read more about Yeliza in her own words below (from our Teachers Page profiles):

I teach piano, violin, cello and voice lessons. I am 23 years old, and I was born in Puerto Rico. I came to the United States 4 years ago. I am bilingual, and I know the Suzuki Method in Spanish and English. I began playing the cello when I was in 7th grade in Puerto Rico with Professor Fermin Segarra. I also have an extensive background with the violin, piano and voice, having sung in multiple choirs throughout high school and college. After I graduated from Escuela Libre de Musica de San Juan, a school specialized in music, I went to the Conservatory of music of Puerto Rico for 2 years to focus on Cello Performance with Professor Luis Miguel Rojas. Afterwards, I transferred to Temple University to finish my bachelor’s degree in Performance with Professor Jeffrey Solow. This is my senior year at Temple University. I utilize the Suzuki Method with most of my students because I find it to be the most logical and progressive method of teaching. I was one of the piano, violin and cello teachers for children ages 4-18+ years old for two years in a specialized program at the Conservatory of Music. I am planning to stay in Philadelphia to build my studio with students of all ages.

Keep reading for a brief interview with Yeliza:

When did you begin playing cello, and why?

I started playing the cello when I was 12 and it was the best decision that I made in my life. I do not regret any moment that I spend with my cello making beautiful music.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?

I play violin, piano and sing, as well. Piano was my first instrument growing up which gave me a very good foundation for reading music and understanding harmonic and melodic relationships in compositions. It also helped me better understand the string instruments that I would gravitate towards later in life. I began learning the violin shortly after the cello. They are very different instruments, despite being in the same family, but there are certain techniques which apply to both. As forvoice, I’ve sang all of my life. I’ve had three years of formal training in private lessons and have sang in choirs throughout middle school, high school and college.
 
What are your personal goals as a musician?:
My personal goal is to conduct the best piano, violin, and cello lessons that I can and teach my students everything that I know. I want my students to have the same passion that I have for the music and teach them how to transmit it onto the instrument.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
 Two things one was vibrato and second one was shifting. For vibrato I remember my professor singing to me ” Shake the maraca” because that is the same motion that you do when you are doing vibrato. And thanks to the professor that I have now I really understand shifting and how the motion works of my left hand.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
I remember the first time that my first teacher told me that we need to separate each hand and after you practice them separately you can then put them together. When you practice that way, it speeds up the learning process. Practice everything slow then it will be easier when you take it in fast tempo.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
The most challenging moment was when I moved to Philadelphia to study with Jeffrey Solow. He changed all of my technique. It was like starting with the basics again; Frustrating in the beginning but definitely worth it in the end.
What is your biggest musical achievement?:
I recently won a competition in Temple University, and I played in a concert the Elgar Cello Concerto. That was my biggest achievement up until now. But I am working very hard so that this will be the beginning of even bigger achievements in my musical career.
Favorite thing about teaching?:
To see the progress of my students and know that I am passing my knowledge on to the next generation.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Never give up! Music is a very complex , but is totally worth it.

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