'Thinking Aloud' - 1 day course in Lewes to refresh your approaches to practising

Different courses for adults & teens or adult learners

About cello practise

We tend to spend way more time tucked away in a room practising our cello than we ever spend in lessons. Early on your knowledge base is usually tiny so it may be a bit tricky suddenly directing your own practice. This is the reason for these workshops.

I have noticed that even though I teach my students methods and ways to practice in our time together, they make bigger strides once they have been on these workshops. There is a difference to how people perceive, understand and then implement ideas when we go to a different room and focus entirely on this vast area called Practice. This is when shift happens.

Practising is another world, skill and art to hone. Only by slowing down and getting off the Achievement Roundabout can we give attention to becoming more analytical, encouraging, creative and give attention to checking that we hear as well as listen. No matter how long you have been playing, everyone needs time to stand back and have a rethink from time to time.

In 2011 it became clear that to make real and deep change, the workshops needed continuity and so I created a course of four workshops. This helps students to keep a sense of development and deepens their understanding of how they personally work. It is possible to join after the first session as we join all the dots up relating each session to the others. You can, if you want, do an earlier workshop later.

Introduction to the cello practise workshops

So what do we do? Each workshop in the quartet has an overall theme we explore from our present experience. We begin with taking a look at The Inner You - aspects of our personality we can use constructively to enable you, even with a little knowledge, assume and develop the role of Teacher. We look at planning, goal - setting and preparing; at the varied ways to practice even if you don't have an instrument with you. We explore technical issues that are relevant to you and by the time we get to workshop three, you are having a go at teaching in the group.

  • Workshop 1: What is practice all about? We get an overview of what's going on for each of you and how you currently work. We look at planning, goals,dreams, your personal management and methods you can use as well as set new practices in motion.
  • Workshop 2 : Step forward the teacher in me (even if I don't feel I know much...) Becoming your own teacher and coach has to start somewhere because this is what you are doing with the knowledge from your lessons. Learning more about this role with other cellists increases confidence which in turn sparks ideas. You will teach an aspect of technique without being scared.
  • Workshop 3 : Now I'm focussed and working better We draw on our work so far - at what's going well and sticking points. We look at a particular technical issues in detail, movement and how to express the music more.
  • Workshop 4 : Now I'm joining all the dots up and have a tool kit by me. You will now be more confident and self-directed in your work. Hopefully you feel more creative and a bit of an explorer. You have more solutions and confidence on board.

Students leave each of the days with informative packs. We also keep in touch with each other to check how things are evolving. This is vital since it's important to implement changes within the first two weeks following a class.

As a teacher, one of the foremost things I see needing addressing is our emotional management. We come as adults with a lot of ancient history associated with the learning process. A lot of it frankly needs dumping so you are free to truly learn at many levels.

Who are the workshops for?

Adult Learner workshops are attended by cellists who have been learning for as little as a few months to as long as ten years. Those who have been learning for longer, whether teenagers or adults still benefit, as we all do, from spring cleaning our approaches and absorbing new ideas. Long term Adults and teenage cello students have their own workshops posted.

How do you choose the workshop(s) to attend?

Some cellists do a one-off Practice workshop while others come on a regular basis and yet others dip in and out.

I go with whatever works for you as each workshop addresses different topics so you will develop your skills anyway - largely because you have made space to think about what you are doing.

Gift vouchers

Catherine's gift vouchers now available for all lessons, workshops and courses


There will be NO practice workshops this year, 2019, but they will resume in 2020.

The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice at the age of 90. "Because I think I'm making progress" he replied.

Cancellation Policy for workshops

If booking a 1-day workshop included in the fee is 30 deposit. If you cancel the workshop, for what ever reason, up to six weeks before the course begins, I will reimburse the fee minus the deposit. If you cancel during the six weeks leading up to the course or on the course itself the fee is payable in full.

Privacy Policy

I hold your email address and sometimes, your mobile numbers. I do not give these out to anyone including third parties. Sometimes, a cellist will ask ME to forward an email from them, to members of a group they have played with. You can then choose whether to make contact or not.


Because these groups are small and personal it becomes easy for students to share their experiences and dreams. I'm moved by the openness shown.

"I had such a nice time. It feels like everything has started to open up. Just to reiterate how immensely useful the workshop was - both in terms of helping me to examine the psychology of my practice, and why I tend to stick at certain points; and also the opportunity to share the experience with others (which was a terrifying prospect, but in the event was great!) It's really brought home to me that so many things I struggle with - frustration, self-criticism, lack of commitment are shared difficulties, and as such are neither unique nor insurmountable. I really feel that the workshop has given me an opportunity to not only revitalize my practice, but more fundamentally shift my approach to self - directed learning time and infuse the whole process with a real sense of excitement and potential."

Cate C

"I have to say it was quite a revelation to me in many ways. It made me question my approach to playing and my motivation. It was very revealing to hear you describe learning the cello as a spiritual journey."

Lucy P

"I arrived not knowing what to expect, but I was much taken by your presentation. It became clear that it is when we are left to ourselves, without a tutor, that we need to be able to follow a system that enables us both to prepare for practice, and then to apply what we have been taught. You gave me a very good basis on which to begin."

Michael C

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