Greetings future musicians! My name is Harris Banks, and I am a classically trained cellist. I’ve been playing the cello ever since I was eleven years old and have been loving it ever since. I wish to share my love of the cello with as many young artists as possible. I received my B.A. in Music from Presbyterian College in 2016, and my M.M. in Cello Performance from Temple University in 2022. I have studied with some of the greatest cello teachers in the nation, including Jeffrey Solow, Robert Jesselson, and Irene Sharp. The lessons I learned from my teachers have turned me into the artist I am today and have also made me into a better human being. I want to share these lessons with the next generation of artists, and hope that I can do my part in shaping them into well-rounded human beings.
When did you begin playing cello, and why?
I began playing the cello at the age of 11 when my parents put me in the 5th grade orchestra program. I was very upset about it, because I had no interest in playing an instrument, but once I picked up the cello, I was instantly hooked!
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I can play a little piano at an intermediate level. I mostly use it to study music theory.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
Teaching is one of my highest priorities as a musician. I want to share the joy of music making with as many people as possible! I also plan on performing my own chamber recitals when the opportunity arises.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I’ll never forget my first lesson with Jeffrey Solow at Temple. He explained the aspects of bowing technique in such a concise and brilliant way that it entirely changed the way I think about the bow.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
The most important advice I think I ever got was to record myself as much as possible. There is so much that you can miss during practice. Listening to a recording of your playing will reveal so much you don’t notice!
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
I’d say that every moment is more challenging than the last when learning the cello. My current challenge is fine-tuning my intonation to reach the highest level of musicianship I can achieve. I’m sure a new challenge will emerge after this one. But that is what makes learning the cello constantly engaging!
What is your biggest musical achievement?
By far the most proud I’ve been as a musician is when I successfully performed my Master’s Recital at Temple. I was able to work with the greatest musicians at Temple to shape a magnificent performance. It was one of the highlights of my life!
Favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is when I can see that a student truly understands and applies what I’m teaching. It puts a huge smile on my face when they successfully learn a new piece of music, or even simply learn a new technique. Helping others learn brings me great satisfaction!
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Be prepared to work like an athlete! The greatest athletes only make it to the Olympics after they have put in years of intense practicing. If you wish to excel in the music field, you must put in the work! However, the human body and mind are very fragile things. There is never shame in taking well-earned breaks from your instrument. I will work with you to develop a healthy practice regiment that will fit your individual needs and goals.