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Elizabeth Richards Cello Studio

Chesapeake, VA 23320 (map)

Lessons Offered


Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home

About Me

Teaching Philosophy

It is my deepest belief that proficiency on a musical instrument can be accessed by anyone with a willingness to learn. As a cellist, I began playing at age 10 but did not receive any formal training until age 16. In every sense of the word, I was a late bloomer, but this delayed access to cello lessons has been the biggest blessing to me as a teacher. Since I was taught by patient and skilled teachers at a later age, I remember vividly what it feels like to learn. This is the basis for my effective, calculative, and thoughtul teaching. My philosophy rests on the foundation that students must be given tools for successful learning.. The playing of an instrument cannot survive merely on thoughtless execution, but rather mindful and conscious action. From the earliest lessons, I teach my students to listen, to appreciate beautiful sound production, to find natural ease of motion and posture, and to practice carefully and purposefully. Lessons are crafted with these practices in mind and expectations of weekly preparation are clearly defined at the end of the lesson. While effective teaching is my goal, success can only be achieved when dedicated, purposeful, and motivated practice take place. I believe that my approach to teaching fosters a deep love for cello playing. My conscious effort is to diagnose the learning styles, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses of every student. No path to cello learning is identical. Therefore, every student is treated individually and with careful guidance. I believe that no student should be bound to the conventions of learning literature, so I listen openly to the students' musical interests and adapt accordingly, but with care to adhere to pedagoical principles and skill level.

My Musical Education Background


Elizabeth Richards is a performing cellist and consumate teacher new to the Chesapeake area. As an active performer in the Washington D.C. area, Dr. Richards has played with the Annapolis Symphony, Fairfax Symphony, National Philharmonic, Alexandria Symphony, the National Gallery Orchestra, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players, as well as the Annapolis Chamber Players, District Chamber Players, and the Great Noise Ensemble. Prior to living in D.C., she was also a memeber of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony, and Louisiana Sinfonietta. Dr. Richards has performed on concert stages around the country, including the Kennedy Center, Baltimore Lyric, Lincoln Center, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts center, as well as numerous other venues across the U.S., Canada, and Italy. Currently, Dr. Richards is the acting Co-Artistic Director of the Annapolis Chamber Music Project, a week-long festival for high school and amatuer musicians alike, which will bring performances, masterclasses, and chamber music coachings to the Annapolis Arts District. ACMP is set to launch in July 2015.

As a passionate and dediated educator, Dr. Richards maintains a large private studio of cello students ages 6-76. She believes in patient and carefully guided musical instruction to create an environment where any student can make successful strides. She was the Director of Instrumental Music Studies at Academia De La Recta Porta, a small private school in Washington DC, as well as cello instructor at the International School of Music and the Richardson School of Music in Maryland. She has also been called upon by the College Park Youth Orchestra and the D.C. Youth Orchestra to lead sectional rehearsals. Pending approval, Dr. Richards will hold a New York State Teaching Liscence and will be certified to teach Instrumental Music grades K-12.

Dr. Richards has has participated in the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the International Festival at Round Top, the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival, the Heber Springs Music Festival, the Academie at Le Domaine Forget, the National Orchestral Institute, and the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. She was a prizewinner in the LSU Concerto Competition and a finalist in the University of Maryland Concerto Competition.

In 2012, she completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland. An avid chamber musician, Dr. Richards was a member of the Adelphi Quartet, the graduate string quartet-in-residence at the University of Maryland under the tutelage of the Guarneri Quartet and the Left Bank Quartet. She also earned a Master of Music in Cello Performance from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelors in Music Performance and Education (Instrumental Music K-12) from Ithaca College, where she graduated magna cum laude. Her primary cello teachers were Evelyn Elsing, Dennis Parker, and Elizabeth Simkin. She has performed in masterclasses for Steven Isserlis, Andre Emelianoff, and Peter Wiley and performed in an open rehearsal with the Guarneri Quartet.

Genres and Subjects Taught

Classical cello, note reading, basic music theory, arranging

Lesson Rates

Please contact me for lesson rates! I am happy to teach lessons in your home or in my studio space. Lessons are available throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

I am comfortable and experienced teaching ALL ages! My youngest student was 5 and my oldest was 76.

My Certifications and Awards

New York State Teacher Certification, Instrumental Music Education Grades K-12, pending approval Fall 2014.

My Musical Influences

My earliest memory of being drawn into the cello world was when I was 11 years old. I would listen repeatedly to a tape of Yo Yo Ma playing the Brahms e minor Sonata that was given to me as a gift. So, Yo Yo was probably my first influence. In addition, two special teachers also stand out for instilling a passion for cello. My high school music teacher was the reason I pursued music education in college. I loved her class and couldn't imagine myself doing anything else. However, my most beloved teacher was my college cello professor. She took me under her wing and taught me patiently and lovingly. She has influenced me to be the teacher I am today, one who sees the potential and positive nature of all students and invests whole-heartedly in their growth as both a person AND a musician.

Service Area

Student Reviews

Bethesda, MD

"Elizabeth has an amazing gift for teaching children and has allowed our daughter to blossom as a learner. Since learning with Elizabeth her enthusiasm for playing has grown as has the amazing sound that she now produces on the cello. We love the notes and pointers she writes down each week to help with practice, and as non musical parents they are fun, useful and make sense. However the real testament to her teaching is the way our daughter comes out of each lesson laughing and smiling. I always ask 'how was your lesson?' and the reply is always an enthusiastic "Great!" accompanied by a huge smile." -Louise, Ruth's mom

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