The aim of this critical commentary was two-fold. Initially, this paper was an opportunity to observe and attempt to summarise the essence of my cello teacher's teaching method, (Mei-Lee Stocker), from beginner through to intermediate levels, whilst referring to other opinions found in the literature on this topic. Secondly, this was also an excellent opportunity for me to practise and analyse the study and method books that her approach is based upon, namely Feulliard's The Young Cellist's Method and The Technique of Cello Playing. I, like many other musicians, particularly from the more regional areas of Australia, or indeed the world, had always felt that I had missed out on the solidity and logical understanding of playing that comes from a traditional European approach to teaching technique. In preparing this paper, I have developed greater security in my own playing and teaching. Hopefully it might also be useful to other teachers, especially violinists forced to teach cello, in helping them to give their students a solid technical grasp of the instrument which would allow them to enjoy the comfort of playing with security.
The first section of this paper discusses the need for this kind of approach to teaching technique to young cellists. After this, I describe briefly and discuss the Feulliard method and technique books. The bulk of the body of this commentary discusses particular teaching strategies, with photographic examples, for a wide range of difficulties of cello technique. To a lesser degree it also refers to other literature on the subject. The appendices include recommended sequences for teaching standard repertoire, musical and technical, as well as teaching notes for all the lessons in The Young Cellist's Method and the first 58 etudes (volumes 1- 3) from the Technique of Cello Playing series. The first appendix summarises The Young Cellist's Method into stages. This is intended to help teachers see an overall course of instruction, and to help in choosing the appropriate point to introduce other outside repertoire. The second appendix is a lesson by lesson commentary, and the third includes comments on each of the studies. These two appendices are intended to help particularly non-cello playing cello teachers teach each lesson or study in these books.