all-state auditions


It seriously is the best. When I was in high school, playing cello in a medium-sized school with a smaller-sized orchestra, I lived for the opportunity to play with other musicians that loved doing the same things I did. Honor orchestras were awesome, and the friends you make at these events are vital to enjoying the process.

But All-State – that was the JAM. It was truly a competition to get the best players in one room, and then ask them to make blissful < real > music together with 3 days to really dig into it. I loved (and sometimes feared) getting to know other cellists and the spurts of freedom in downtown Lincoln that we could steal. Bagels and Juice Stop for breakfast – #adulting.

For any string students that are looking to get a leg up on the audition and see the scales, etudes, and excerpts broken down, my friends at the University of Nebraska – Omaha created some quick videos to point out how to practice and then what they should sound like in the end.

You can find all the cello videos for UNO here. Enjoy Greg and his colleagues walking through this year’s challenge course, and happy practicing!

Video playlists are here for violinviolabass


mix it up

Abstract record 2

People. I just needed to share this as a super fun way to explore new-to-you musical ideas from different countries AND decades: Radiooooo! Now, it’s not complete as Cody and I were anxious to hear 1920’s music that was popular in India, but perhaps one day.

So go, pick your country and decade, and enjoy what pops up!


ocmi 2018: professional presentations class

ocmi18 ppI had the extreme privilege to teach a course that is very near and dear to my heart during our OCMI camp this year: professional presentations. What is it, you ask? Really it changes each year, so my focus this year was about helping students prepare for what life as a musician looks like, as well as how to earn money as a musician right now – even at their young age.

ocmi18 chris and macMy incredible colleagues from our camp joined me to help inspire and challenge our preconceived thoughts about life as a musician, and I am so proud of the intelligent questions and ideas our students brought to the table.

A HUGE thank you to my colleagues for opening your stories to these students:

  • Maestro Ernest Richardson, Omaha Symphony
  • Dani Meier, Omaha Symphony
  • Jeremy Powell, NYC
  • Ellen Sommer, KU
  • Tal McGee, Manhattan School of Music
  • Chris Holtmeier, Foton-Foto
  • Jay Wise, Omaha Chamber Music Society
  • Diane Owens, Creighton University
  • Melissa Holtmeier, MAHR Quartet
  • Yulia Koloshonikova, Omaha Conservatory of Music
  • Rachael Griggs, Omaha Conservatory of Music
  • Cody Jorgensen, Omaha Conservatory of Music

Ocmi18 Ellen            ocmi18 Ellen and cody

Students heard about the logistics of choosing a major and career path, how auditions really work, what a casting director is thinking, how to work with a collaborative pianist, how to manage your emotional well-being, how to program a gig, and oodles more.

Students, per my promise, please reach out to the professionals that shared their time with you, as well as your new colleagues you met in class! You can find the presentation HERE.

Thanks, everyone, and see you next time!ocmi18 pp kids


Ok, once I get past the mortification that I haven’t written a post in a whiiiiiile and you forgive me, we can proceed. Good? Good.

It’s really a travesty because so many wonderful, creative, and challenging moments have happened and collectively I and my students have learned SO MUCH. But to practice what I preach, I need to just make progress, so instead of waiting for the stars to align for me to have time to write, I’m just going to get it out there.

To start, here is a list of things that make me so thankful and proud to be a cellist and teacher of such precious people. (air kisses to you all.)

sprout notesMy String Sprouts classes keep me full of hope for the future. These families work so hard with their kiddos and just LOVE their kids. That’s the best.


Candace and Amy

Amy Barston came and worked with our cellists and I am so thankful to have her as a cello friend. We all need these, and her willingness to share her expertise and experience with friends and strangers is such a gift.



My Pipsticks subscription makes me so happy. And my students happy. And the other teachers happy that get random sheets of stickers because they make me think of them.


izzy and zuill

I have had students selected for multiple masterclasses with incredible artists, and I am beyond proud. To put yourself on display to show your strengths and weaknesses and then be dissected by a brilliant musician in front of a large audience takes guts and grit. And my students have both, which is rad.



And to the liquid that makes all of this possible: I am grateful for good coffee. Or even bad coffee. I’m just grateful.

pink coffee

>> photos by @creativecoffee, filters by a color story and afterlight

lessons begin this week!

Prep for lessonCan you believe it’s that time again! I can – it has felt like ages since I’ve seen all my favorite cello pals. To get ready, let’s be sure to update your checklist:

  • Practice what we mutually agreed on
  • Fill out your practice chart
  • List questions to ask during lesson
  • Trim yo’ nails
  • Bathroom break before lesson
  • Wash your hands
  • Get ready to be positive and creative!
  • Keep an open mind
  • Don’t forget to take notes!Desk

see you this week! gray smaller