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Teacher Spotlight on Daniel Hoppe, cello


Interview by Erin Cano, violin


Daniel Hoppe joined MIC in 2018 as a Suzuki cello teacher.


What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

My father is a Suzuki cello teacher, and it is because of him that I was drawn to teaching. When I first registered for teacher training, he decided to retake the first three books with me. We were able to share what we were learning, and he often let me in on little tricks he had picked up over the years. To this day, we still share ideas and help each other grow. I find this aspect of community one of the most powerful components of the Suzuki philosophy. I love witnessing teachers and students supporting each other’s growth.


Which of your teachers inspired you the most? What aspects of their teaching have you integrated into your own style?

My teaching has many different influences and will hopefully continue to evolve. My foundation is based on my work with Tanya Carey. Both as a private teacher and as a pedagogy instructor, she helped me foster a robust framework. In addition, my wonderful Alexander Technique teachers, Daria Okugawa and Debie Adams, have shown me the profound interconnection between mental approach and physical execution and the value of exploring an issue from multiple entry points. These lessons, as well as the support I have received from my cello teachers Andrew Mark and Benjamin Karp, have instilled in me the importance of cultivating the growth of my students as people, not just developing their cello technique.


What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

My favorite piece to teach is Allegro in Book 1. I love the energy of the martele strokes and exploring how the bow changes the character of our sound. Plus, the smiles that result from learning about fermatas are delightful!


You’ve performed with many orchestras and chamber ensembles across the globe. What are some interesting performance experiences you’ve had with an orchestra or chamber ensemble? 

Performing with the Verdi String Quartet in Deauville, France was a spectacular experience. Not only did it offer a chance to work intimately and deeply as a member of a quartet, but it was also a thrilling performance. We were hosted by the city of Deauville in a house directly on the Atlantic Ocean and celebrated the concert with a reception with the mayor. Part of the richness of the experience was the satisfaction of carefully preparing a piece and giving multiple performances of it, with a culmination in an extraordinary setting. 


Do you play any other instruments besides the cello? If not, what other instrument would you like to play?

I have taken lessons in violin, saxophone, piano, and drums in addition to the cello. However, because I would only regularly practice cello, I never advanced very far in the other instruments. I am still grateful for having dabbled in them, because I think it helped broaden my musical horizons. I sometimes fantasize about being a jazz pianist. But then I remember that their concerts typically happen long after I like to be in bed.

Teacher Spotlight on Aubrey Faith-Slaker, piano
Teacher Spotlight on Aubrey Faith-Slaker, piano

"Hiding a Nancy Drew mystery book in the piano bench while keeping one eye on the front room window so I could go back to practicing when my mom drove up was NOT effective practicing."