Cello Lessons, Chamber Music & Orchestral Coachings

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is a commitment to sharing musical knowledge, joy, and help students  a supportive, encouraging, fully engaged learning environment to help students benefit of my vast professional experience.
I enjoy
working with students of all ages and abilities through private lessons, group classes, performance interaction, masterclasses,
summer festivals, & youth orchestra coachings. 

Each student receives individually custom-tailored attention in their lessons. They are encouraged to play in ensembles and chamber music, attend concerts, listen to recordings, watch videos, attend master classes and music camps to build their skills, awareness, and musical knowledge. Lessons include building awareness, efficient, and healthy playing. Students are encouraged on how to practice, work effectively, and ultimately independently, with adaptive instruction to meet each student's needs,  blended with attentive mentoring and moral support.  
Look no further if you are looking for consistent lessons and approach, good communication with parents, and not be bounced around between various graduate students every year. Lessons are available daily throughout the year (with exceptions for holidays). Some students study weekly per semester, while others study on a less regular basis, or a compressed schedule when performance and audition deadlines are looming. As a parent, I try to be flexible and understanding due to student's and their parent's busy schedules.

My goals are to help guide students to enjoy and be more informed about the music they are working on, be empowered to develop and learn to maintain healthy playing skills; expand sight reading abilities, learn how to overcome sight reading
anxiety; prepare for auditions and competitions; cover a broad range of repertoire and styles; develop a beautiful, strong
tone; learn orchestral playing survival tips, prepare for upcoming performances and/or careers; enhance their awareness of the many facets of the "music business", and benefit from the positive lifelong benefits of studying and playing music.
Cellobration Ensemble June 2007 Cancer Center Benefit Concert
 My  extensive career as a professional cellist/teacher/arts 
 administrator, publisher, and award
winner has been an asset
helping students achieve their goals. Many of my students and
have continued their studies in graduate programs, and
successful in performance and academia as section leaders,
full scholarship, audition and competition winners, orchestral
 performers (Pittsburgh Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Peoria
 Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony,  S
infonia da Camera,  
Illinois Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Millikin-Decatur Symphony, Lafayette Sy
mphony, Eastern Symphony, Danville Symphony, Prairie Ensemble, Eastern Symphony, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Santa Fe University of Art and Design, NW Symphony, New Mexico  Symphony, Opera Illinois, and Sugar Creek Opera companies); earned graduate scholarships & teaching assistantships & fellowships (Cincinnati Conservatory, Juilliard, Indiana University, UC Berkeley, Williams College, University of Southern California, Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois, Illinois State University, and University of Utah); military band members, and became arts administrators (the owner of Stringworks, Internet Cello Society Web site monitors and contributors, orchestral personnel managers, librarians, music educators in public schools, universities, and theatre companies).

Barbarossa says"Get off the computer & go practice if you want to improve your playing skills."  
Teaching Affiliations 
Present: Cellobration Studios,
East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra 
cello sectional coach,
competition adjudicator

Previous teaching affiliations:
Wilkes College, Illinois Council of Orchestras Strings at Allerton Symposium, University of Illinois School of Music Guest Faculty & ISYM Summer Youth Music Camps, UI OLLI Program, Illinois Wesleyan University & Summer Music Camps, Illinois State University Guest Faculty, Parkland Community College,        
Conservatory of Central Illinois, Springfield Summer Strings Camp, & Eureka College
Summer Arts Strings Festivals                                                                                                                                                                        David Furholmen photo 

Teaching Comments from parents, students, and professional colleagues

Roger Garrett, IL Wesleyan University Professor of Clarinet, Director Concert Band, Titan Band & Symphonic Winds, Principal Clarinet Peoria Symphony - "Our cello studio at IWU  has never been as large as it was when you taught here. I attribute this to your good recruiting. Your work for the school was great.”

Dr. Robert Kvam, former Director Illinois Wesleyan University School of Music - “Mrs. Hedlund's students perform at a consistently high level and obviously enjoy their work with her. Her wealth of experience and broad knowledge of all types of repertoire serve her well as both teacher and coach. We are indeed fortunate to have Barbara in this capacity."

Jack Ranney, Professor Emeritus UI School of Music, Conductor CU Symphony Youth Concerts & Parkland Orchestra - We received many positive comments about your coaching and clinic sessions. I feel this was one of our best symposiums based on the reactions of so many of the participants.Thank you again for your contribution to the success of the event.” Visit the Strings@Allerton Facebook page.

Christian Schrock, Drake University Cello Professor &  Orchestra Conductor - "I have often thought back on the way that you helped me prepare for the youth orchestra auditions right after I started studying with you [as my first cello teacher]. Your way of tailoring the "curriculum" to my method of learning and where I was as a player, rather than following a prescribed course through a method book has definitely shaped me as a player and also a teacher."  

The late Dr. Robert Henderson, UI Professor Emeritus Special Education - We appreciate your interest in Matt. I know the reason he continues with the cello is because he values you as a human being as well as a cello instructor.”

Jenny Chi, Eastern Illinois University Art Professor/former cello student - Last summer I thought I was just looking for a cello teacher, but she turns out to be a good friend & a good connection for my artistic career. Amazing! Thank you so much for your words of support & friendship. I will cherish them. I have learned a lot from you and made good steady progress in learning to play a difficult instrument. Getting to know you has been such a positive development in my life. At this minute I am gathering newspaper reviews & reports for my annual portfolio required for my tenure track evaluation. And guess what, I REALLY have to thank you. Half of my "accomplishments" are because of your referrals and connections. I just could not believe it!" 

Keith & Michelle Singletary, UI Professor of Foods & Nutrition -“Michelle and I want express our sincere appreciation for the excellent and patient cello instruction you have given Larissa the past couple years. Your musical input has been outstanding. We consider it a privilege for her to have studied with you.”

Mrs. Susan Boston
- “You have great gifts as a teacher, administrator, communicator, and you're a good friend too. You're loaded!!

Lani McAuley - 2017 - 
 I can't tell you how much I am enjoying lessons with you. I appreciate all your insights and loved playing with you. The best sign of a good teacher is if the student wants to do well at lessons....and you inspire me to do well and work hard (even if it doesn't come easily). So thank you, thank you!

Dr. Chee Hyeon Choi, Instructor of Music in Residence at Bradley University 2018 - "
I first collaborated with Ms. Hedlund through the music concert series she used to organize at Carle Hospital in 2012. Soon after, my son was fortunate to be her cello student for a year until we moved to other city. She has been extremely encouraging, patient, and influential teacher and mentor to my son even after we moved. Under Ms. Hedlund's guidance, my son was able to successfully made cello principal in East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra (ECIYO) and honor quartet, 3rd place in the Young Artist Baroque Competition and performed as one of the soloist for the concerto at Eureka Summer String camp.

She is such a dedicated teacher as much as attending almost every concert that my son was involved and gave invaluable feedback. Ms. Hedlund is also very resourceful in music scores and in connecting with other musicians that my son was able to obtain reliable scores and be introduced in other musicians to learn from. She frequently shared us with good performances, recordings and scores to enhance understanding. Her passion on teaching and performance exceedingly qualifies for college music faculty position.

Her invaluable mentoring, insights of the music not only elevated my son's performance quality, but also greatly influenced me. I am a piano faculty at Bradley University, and I have performed with her 2 times of my faculty chamber recitals at Bradley in 2016 and 2017, and 2 trio performances at Windsor of Savoy music series. Ms. Hedlund is an outstanding teacher, musician,  collaborator, mentor, active performer, and a scholar. I believe she will be a great asset for your college."

Mrs. Hyunjung Noh - 2018  "Jeana loves the cello and enjoys playing because of you. There is no one like you." 

UI OLLI Course Evaluation
- 2014
  • Excellent Instructor - Encore!  'Hope Barbara makes this an ongoing course, year round for years to come!
  • Instructor’s knowledge, friendly personality, willingness to include class member’s interests in the information she presents, free exchange back and forth.
  • Learning about what I’d been curious about and didn’t know!  Great!
  • What some of us didn’t have background for, Barbara kindly explained w/o talking down to us.
  • Insights into the concert process: From the performers, conductors and audience’s perspective, as well as her guests (Luthier W H Lee, Viola, Professor Rudolf Haken, & Maestro Stephen Alltop).
  • Dress rehearsal at Krannert – CU Symphony & backstage visit
  • Unique stories - YES !!! history and people behind the scenes.
  • There were several articles she shared online which were good.
  • Details of her experience as a musician and orchestra member; descriptions of other instruments; visiting speakers, & more. All with good humor.
Lesson Fees
We enjoy teaching and use established teaching methods & materials, but willingly make adjustments to accommodate a student's age, technical levels, learning ability, concentration levels, and musical interests.

  • Group Classes (Cello Ensemble, orchestral sectionals, or chamber music coachings) - $10/student per weekly class (minimum 4 per class)

  • Private cello lessons & audition preparation coachings - $20 (1/2 hr), $40 ( 1 hr.)
    ote - Highly skilled, qualified students may be considered for paid professional engagement referrals, scholarship referrals, competitions, & performance opportunities.

  • Travel fee for lessons at school or your home: $5/lesson

  • Location: Cellobration Studio ___ Your home____ In school ____ (with school & parental approval)

Payment Method
Semester lesson fees are to be paid in full at the first lesson payable to Barbara Hedlund.

Lesson registration form: An attached Word Document is available to download at the bottom of this page.
Please type information and submit the form by e-mail or in person with payment at the first lesson.

Studio Etiquette
  • Please be on time for your lesson - ready to play at the appointed lesson time with needed materials (instrument, music, rosin, mutes, etc)

  • To help with your concentration and energy levels, try to have a healthy snack before coming to your lesson - especially if you've just come from a full day at school.  

  • If you cannot attend your scheduled lesson, 24 hour notice is appreciated.

  • Excused absences from lessons include illness, family emergency, or a family vacation. If your child is ill and is contagious, do not worry about coming to the lesson. Rescheduling an excused missed lesson may be possible depending on Professor Hedlund's availability.

  • Unexcused absences require payment for the lesson and are not required to be rescheduled. 

  • If lessons are cancelled due to teacher illness, unintended error, or weather issues, a rescheduled lesson will be arranged  - Or you will be refunded for the missed lesson, or have extra lesson time added to make up for the lost time.

  • Parents are welcome to attend lessons in the studio or listen & observe in the adjoining waiting, observation room.

  • Students are encouraged to practice 5-7 days per week and participate in studio recitals, school or community concerts every semester.

Maud Powell's Ten Practice Rules
from The American Girl and Her Violin
by Maud Powell Etude Magazine, July 1909

I. Concentrate. Concentrate your thoughts on your work, completely and absolutely. One hour of absorbed practice is
    worth forty of the casual sort.

II. Play in tune. The worst of all violinistic crimes is to be untrue to pitch.

III. Practice scales religiously. Play them slowly and with perfect evenness, both as to fingering and bowing. 

IV. Practice slowly all difficult or intricate passages; also, jumps, trills, spiccato, staccato, arpeggios, etc. 

V.  Practice long bows slowly, slowly, slowly. Draw out the tone. Pull it out, spin it, weave it, but never press it out
     or squeeze the string. By pressing the string with the bow you can check the natural vibration, and without
     changing the position of the left hand the smallest fraction, you can actually lower the pitch of the note you are

VI. Memorize everything, including scales, etudes, pieces and difficult passages in chamber music.

VII.Keep in mind the structure of the composition while practicing separate phrases, difficult passages, etc. Do not
     let your playing or your memory become "patchy"--keep each measure mentally in its place; that is, in its correct
     relation, structurally, to the whole.

VIII. "Vorspielen."  This German word means "to play before." Play your studies or pieces over in their entirety before
       any long-suffering friend who will listen. You will be amazed at the sore spots that will reveal themselves, and
       will make it your business to heal them as quickly as possible.

IX. Hear other violinists. You will listen in spite of yourself. Then apply that kind of listening to your own work. There
     will be more surprises in store for you.

X. Love your instrument as yourself. But love your art more than either. Keep the fires of enthusiasm burning.   
    Nothing was ever accomplished without faith and enthusiasm.

Strings Magazine Tony's Top 10 Practice Tips  - August 2015 by Antonio Arnone, associate professor of cello at the University of Iowa, offers ways to succeed in the practice room

A lot has been written over the years on how to practice stringed instruments effectively. There is a good reason for this, as probably 95 percent of the time you spend with your instrument is in the practice room trying to improve your playing. Over the years, I have become more and more focused on teaching my students how to succeed in the practice room, as I believe there is really an art to practicing. 

I often ask my students, “Why do you practice?” They almost always know the correct answer, saying, “to get better!” But so often you lose sight of that when you actually step into the practice room, even when you’re focused. One of my goals is to take the mystery out of practicing, in order to really accomplish the most in the time provided and then ultimately get better. So, with that in mind, here are my top 10 practice tips for string players.

10. First things first: Get a great recording in your head
I can’t tell you how many times students have come in trying to play a piece without really knowing how it goes. In order for your hands to know what to try and achieve, your brain needs to have a clear idea of sound, shape, articulation, and intonation in order to guide the hands. That’s not to say your artistic vision can’t continue to develop as you learn the piece, but you need that foundation to tell your body what habits to get into from the beginning. 

9. Have a goal when you start practicing
Too many of us sit down at our instrument and just dive into a piece and hope to get something done. Before you start, make a plan of what you are going to try to accomplish in the next hour, 20 minutes, or even five minutes. Then stick to it. Then ask yourself every ten or 15 minutes if you are really making that passage better. 

8. Clearly identify the problems you are having
My students often say something like “That sucked,” after they play, or “I was really out of tune.” When you practice, you need to be as specific as you can. What sucked? My sound? Was I using too slow a bow? Was my bow losing contact? Was my bow speed too slow? For intonation, ask yourself, “Was I out of tune during a shift, or was my hand position at fault? Or was I just not hearing the pitches correctly?” The more specific you can be, the easier it is to fix things.

7. Separate the hands when practicing
This sounds obvious, but it isn’t done enough. If you have a problem with the bow, just let the left hand enjoy a timeout, then isolate and fix what isn’t working with the bow. 

6. Experiment
One of my favorite (and slightly obvious) tips to remind students is that you have to do something different with your body in order to sound different! Wind and brass players have it hard in that it’s difficult to actually see how to produce a sound, but string players are lucky because it is so physical. Learn to choreograph your motions, like dancers or conductors often do, and this will change how you sound. Try things that might even seem crazy: Play while lying down! Violinists and violists: Bend forward and see what happens. Or cellists: Stand up. How do the physics of making sound change?  

5. Ask yourself, ‘Is it better, worse, or the same?’
After trying things, it’s critical to find out what is changing, and whether it’s better, worse, or staying the same. I often use the analogy of going to the eye doctor, where they ask you about 50 times “better, worse, or the same” as they flip through different lenses. It’s a wonderful question to ask yourself when practicing and will help keep you from practicing a passage over and over and not having it get better—something almost everyone is guilty of at times.

4. Record yourself
As I stated in the beginning, you have to start practicing with a great recording in your head. But way too often, students then think they sound like this great recording when they actually don’t. One of the hardest skills for me to learn was to really hear myself honestly and objectively. The best way to do this is to record yourself and then listen. It can be a movement or a measure. Even better is to videotape yourself so you might notice what is physically getting in the way of your expected result. 

3. Take advantage of technology
I am not a lover of smartphones, but since we all have them, use them! Not only can you record yourself easily, but you have a metronome and a tuner/drone at your fingertips at all times. I am continually amazed when students know they have bad rhythm in a section, but don’t use a metronome to help. Tuners, and especially drone notes, also work wonders on developing your intonation. I love to suggest caution with a tuner. Don’t play a note while looking at it and let it do all the work. Try finding the correct pitch of a note without looking at it, and then check to see if you were right! You learn more quickly that way.

2. Don’t stop and fix a note, and think it will be better next time
This is a huge one! Almost everyone is guilty of this habit. You naturally want to stop and adjust something, especially an out of tune note, but if you play it wrong and adjust it, you are teaching your hand to play incorrectly. Missing is OK, but it’s critical to note where you are having the problem and then go back and do it correctly many more times than you do it incorrectly. When a student comes in and says something like “I am always flat on this note,” I know he hasn’t been practicing it correctly.

1. Slow things down!
Or, as someone once told me: “Don’t play it faster than you can.” This is the most important piece of advice for practicing. As I stated in No. 2, you must train your body to play a passage correctly a very high percentage of the time in order to have success in a performance. The best and fastest way to achieve this is to play the passage as slowly as you need to in order to be successful with it. It really works! 

Mind you, you don’t want to play it slowly and unmusically, but playing slower gives you the time to think through every nuance that you want to play and gives your brain a bit more time to process everything while you play. It also teaches the body the correct way to play from the beginning, so you don’t have to unlearn things later.  

Recently, I was preparing for a Brahms Double Concerto performance, when I happened to hear a performance of it on the radio while driving with my ten-year-old son. He said,“Oh, this is the piece you have been practicing . . . but you play it much slower.” This is really just the tip of the practicing iceberg, but I hope that these tips help you  use your time in the most productive way. I learned that I had less and less time to practice as I got older, got a job, and had kids. Efficiency becomes critical the older and busier you get! With all that said, don’t forget to have fun when you practice. I often even schedule a bit of “fun” time in my practice to just enjoy an old piece or play through a movement of Bach. 

As difficult as it can be to improve on a stringed instrument, we should never lose sight of what drew us to these amazing and beautiful instruments!

Contact Barbara Hedlund
9AM-9PM CST Daily | Music Studio - 505 Eliot Drive, Urbana, IL 61801- 6727
Tel: 217-384-0874, No FAX | E-mail: vcello1@comcast.net

Barbara Hedlund,
Aug 19, 2018, 7:14 PM