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Teacher Spotlight: Kyra Saltman, Suzuki cello instructor


Kyra Saltman, Suzuki cello 

Interview by Erin Cano, violin


Kyra joined MIC in 2017


What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

 I was in graduate school, studying with Dr. Tanya Carey. We’d be working on some complicated passage in a concerto and she’d say, “This isn’t hard. It’s just like (x part) in Suzuki Book 1!” That got a little frustrating, so I decided take Suzuki Book 1 training with her. I ended up getting training in eight books in three years. I loved the method and the clarity, organization, and confidence that it brought to both my teaching and playing.

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

Brandon Vamos taught me how to find expression in everything. I would come in to lessons believing that I was playing musically, and he would show me that there were a million more colors and characters to be found. He never allowed me to play a note without purpose, or play it safe. When I began studying with Tanya Carey, she showed me how to bring more intelligence and efficiency in achieving expressive ends. She taught me how to practice, and how to problem solve at the instrument in a spirit of curiosity and love.

What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

 “The Two Grenadiers” is a great piece for showing students that playing a musical instrument is about telling a story, not  just about remembering the right bowing and fingerings. If they are the right age, we read the Heinrich Heine poem together. We talk about how they soldiers are both stirred by patriotism for their country and also afraid of battle. Then we return to the music and show how the music captures the complexity of meaning and emotion.

You’ve performed extensively around the country in chamber ensembles. What are some of your favorite experiences?

I’ve traveled to some pretty wonderful places to play chamber music. My chamber group went to the Bahamas one year in February and played two concerts there. In between, we went snorkeling and had amazing sushi. Another memorable trip was traveling to Lander, Wyoming in January. We flew into Salt Lake City and drove north for three hundred miles through empty, beautiful terrain. Then we came around a bend and we were in a cool town with cafes, a bookstore, and a bakery, and played for an audience of 1,000. I feel very lucky to have seen so much of the country.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love cooking, traveling, and being outdoors. A few years ago, my husband and I started getting a weekly CSA vegetable box from a local farm in the summers. I started a blog about our experience. It’s got recipes and some unfortunate mishaps, too. The address is https://radishconfidential.wordpress.com for anyone who wants to follow along this year!

Teacher Spotlight on George Radosavljevic, piano
Teacher Spotlight on George Radosavljevic, piano

"I love listening to performances by legendary pianists such as Rachmaninoff, Gilels, Richter, Horowitz, Lipatti, and Rubenstein. The list goes on and on…"