While attending Juilliard, where I studied with Leonard Rose and Harvey Shapiro, (click here to see video of Shapiro masterclass)I was a cellist in the New Jersey Symphony. After graduating in 1972, I continued to play in the New Jersey Symphony and studied privately with Harvey Shapiro. I then moved to Europe and was principal cellist in a Swiss Orchestra for 3 years. After moving back to the states I continued my studies with Eric Wilson (2nd place Geneva Competition) and James Kreger (Winner of the Tchaikovsky competition). I am not embarrassed to admit that I will always be a student of the cello and music. I now teach and perform recitals with composer/pianist Peter V. Stevens, Lisa Maria d'Aquila, Akiko Kinney, and cellist Eric Wilson. I have performed recitals in London, New York, Belgium, Germany, Vancouver, and Seattle. I have my students perform twice a year at the Good Shepard Performance Center here in Seattle. Performing is part of the learning process and I push my students to get onto the stage as part of studying with me. Our next recital is on December 14th 2017 at 7:00 PM and you are welcome to join us for this cello recital. The Good Shepard Performance center is at 50th and Sunnyside Ave in Seattle.
At the age of 17 I left Seattle to audition for Juilliard
in New York. It was a very tough city for students without much money.
The lessons I got from Leonard Rose and Harvey Shapiro made it worth my
being there. The technique they taught has been handed down through many
generations from cellist’s names you may not know but were the best
teachers here in America, I want to give these techniques to my students
as many of my earlier teachers did not teach rudiments of tone and bow
control from the fingers.
I teach each student differently. Teaching the same posture and technique to everyone just does not work well. Some students are tall and some are short. Some have long arms and some do not. Some students are tight physically and some are very loose. Taking into account all the different types of shapes and different personalities people come in means that a good teacher should teach what is in front of them rather than teaching the same posture and technique to everyone. Rudiments of technique are important but how a student uses these rudiments varies from student to student. Finally, I really believe each cellist has their own tonal sound which develops over time. The tone one makes is what expresses the phrase and one's personality and developing this is my primary goal.
I teach cello to all levels and ages. Because I think performing live on stage is an important step in learning, I urge my students to perform at student recitals at the Good Shepard Performance Center. They have a really beautiful recital hall which I rent twice a year for student recital. I start teaching students at 8 years old. I rent the Hall and set up recitals which are attended by families and friends. Our next recital is March 29th 2016 at the Good Shepard Performance Center in Seattle at 7:00 PM and you are invited to attend this recital of my students. Please do contact me if you have questions.
I teach cello over the internet using Skype or Face Time depending on your use of Windows or Mac. Families and students have continued to grow with my lessons and can continue their training even if they are unable to attend in person. Making sure my students have access to becoming a great cellist on or offline is my main goal. Please contact me for more info.
In addition to teaching I also perform for events such as weddings, memorial services and at dinners. I perform solo or with pianist if needed.
Beginner to advanced levels
Suitable for students who play or are currently in performance arts and need offsite training
I offer my services to play social events or weddings. Able to play as a single piece, or 2 piece with piano
By Isabel A. on 11/2/2015
Great instructor, very patient and his focus on bow holding is very helpful for someone who has never played before.
By Sara on 7/16/2015
As an adult beginner, I found Don's approach of focusing on the fundamentals key to producing a strong sound and forming good habits when practicing cello. I played violin for six years growing up but in that time never received such great instruction on technique of playing a stringed instrument as I did in a few months of cello lessons with Don. He is a very knowledgeable cellist and quickly recognizes adjustments in technique required for improvement. Additionally, he organizes recitals for his students, giving us a nice opportunity to perform. His knowledge, patience, and gentle manner make him a great instructor.
By Greg on 7/14/2015
My son thoroughly enjoyed the cello lessons... Don is a very gentle and patient instructor. With his level of knowledge and experience, I was very confident that my son was receiving the best instruction. Highly recommended!
By Immanuel W. on 4/29/2015
Don is a gentle, patient, and caring teacher. I am grateful that he chose to first focus on the fundamentals for my son.
By Qilin T. on 1/28/2016
I have taken two lessons with Mr. Don Larson through FaceTime. Even though there is a 3-hour time difference, he manages to fit my lesson into his schedule. I have not taken private lessons previously, but I was in school orchestra for over two years. He has been correcting my bow hold and bowing, helping me make my cello produce nicer sounds. I really appreciate his focus on the rudiments. Mr. Don is very patient and funny at times.
By Colin M. on 12/4/2015
How awesome to find Don. Colin had such a great first lesson and can't wait to go back.