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The registration period for Better Bach Summer 2024 is open until 7pm PT on June 11

(or when the maximum number of 25 participants is reached).

Save my spot!

In order to save your spot in this summer's Better Bach program (focusing on the G Major Prelude), please enter the required information below and click "submit." I will respond via email with a registration link and google calendar link to schedule a 30 min technology orientation/set up session.

BETTER BACH SUMMER

2024

An immersive 2 week online course for cellists

JUNE 18 - JULY 2

 

 

 

You know that gorgeous, famous cello piece everyone wants to play? The one you always hear on movie soundtracks and ads that you can’t stop hearing after just a couple of bars? This is your chance to deep dive into it…

Immerse yourself in a two week summer Cello Lab experience with Dr.Sophie, exploring the watery scapes of Bach’s G Major Prelude. Identify the biggest technical hurdles of the piece and how best to approach them (with musical exercises customized for learning this piece). Uncover the fascinating historical musical context of Bach’s Solo Cello Suites and his approach to composition. Learn approachable tools to help analyze the score and better understand its narrative structure (from identifying intervals, keys and chords to the significance of melodic contour and harmonic rate of change). Learn alongside and build a community with like-minded cello and Bach enthusiasts.

 

Join us now for an experience you don’t want to miss!

Total Program Cost: $299 

Early Bird Discount (if registered before 7pm PT on May 31): $249 

RESULTS

Better Bach_Summer 2024_Wix_05-15-2024.jpeg
  • An expanded musical-technical toolkit for approaching a new piece of music, and in particular the Bach G Major Prelude

  • A toolkit of some of the most essential tools for shaping a story in music 

  • A deeper appreciation of Bach's genius

  • A deeper understanding of one's own strengths and weaknesses in playing

  • More focused, effective, and rewarding practice

  • Increased confidence, freedom, power, and ease while playing

METHODOLOGY

Individual Sessions

I'll meet individually with you for two 30 mins sessions. The first will be a chance for us to meet, plus a technology orientation/set up session the week before the course begins. The second is for us to go over any questions you may have about my observations and feedback on your video recordings. This time can also be used for us to together try out some ideas to help you.

Customized Feedback on Two Video Recordings 

 

For this program, you are required to record two short videos of your playing. If you have the Bach G Major Prelude ready, I encourage you to submit that (even if only a section of it). If not, please record a short piece selection of your choice.

 

The first recording (to be submitted before June 15) is to give me an idea of your playing level, as well as for me to give you some initial written feedback.

 

The second recording (which can be the same piece/section of a piece) will be the discussion point for our second 30 mins Individual Session, in which I'll be providing more detailed recommendations for your playing and approach to the G Major Prelude.  

Cello Toolkit Workout 

 

Each week I’ll lead a live one hour toolkit workout. These are designed as an introduction and group discussion of some of the most important technical aspects --and appropriate exercises --to prepare for playing Bach’s G Major Prelude, as well as their to relevant spots of the G Major Prelude. Each workout will be accompanied with a detailed Cello Toolkit pdf. 

Live Studio Class 

 

This 90 minute class is a chance for you to bring any individual trouble spots in the G Major Prelude to the larger group for discussion and helpful feedback. Participants will sign up with trouble spots they would like to discuss ahead of the class.

 

Storytelling (Score Analysis Toolkit)

A 60 minute class to introduce you to some of the essential Score Analysis Tools (many of which are intuitive to a degree) for storytelling in the Bach Suites, as well as application of these in the context of the G Major Prelude. Each workout will be accompanied with a detailed Score Analysis Toolkit pdf. 

 

Small Group Sessions (on your choice of topic)

Work with three other students in small groups, learning from each other and the personalized feedback you receive from Dr. Sophie and your peers. These 60-minute sessions will focus on your choice of one of the following topics:

  • storytelling

  • bow changes

  • string crossings

  • double stops

  • bow distribution

  • more freedom and power

 

Online Cello Community 

 

This exclusive access forum is where you'll come to share questions and discoveries about your cello work with the rest of us. I’ll also be regularly monitoring the forum and providing feedback.

Online Social 

Each week, there will be a 60 minute optional online social for you to get to know your cello colleagues better, discuss your cello journeys, and brainstorm any roadblocks you may be encountering en route... from performance anxiety to warm up methods to favourite pre-practice cereal.

 

Student G Major Prelude Discussion

This is a 60 minute optional opportunity for asking for advice and sharing information with your colleagues, specifically on the topic of the G Major Prelude.

Summer Challenge 

 

For those looking for an extra challenge, this is an (optional) post-course opportunity to make and email me a complete video recording of the Bach G Major Prelude incorporating approaches we discussed during the course. This should be emailed to me by 7PM PT on July 31. I will provide written feedback on all recordings received.

QUESTIONS

How much does the course cost?


The cost for the 2 week course is $299. Early bird registration, before April 1, is $249. Several payment options are available.

How do I register for the course?


To register for the course (during an open registration period), please email me at sophie@sophiewebber.com, letting me know a little about your cello journey to date, and I will reply with the registration link. 

When does registration close?
 

Places are limited. Registration for the course will close when 25 students enroll or on Tuesday, June 11, whichever comes first.

What do I need for the course?


You need a reliable internet connection and a device that can run Zoom. An ethernet cable (like this one) is highly recommended. A quality microphone is recommended but not required. Let me know if you'd like a recommendation! The camera set up for the program is also important in order for me --and for everyone --to be able to see your playing well. This is something we will go over during the first Individual 30 minute session.

How long does the course run?


The course runs from June 18, 2024 through July 2, 2024. 

I’m busy or my schedule changes frequently, what if I can’t attend some of the live weekly meetings?


Not to worry! Recordings are made of all classes and will be available within 48-72 hours of the original class date for you to review at a more convenient time. Access to these recordings is one of the highlights of an online course --you can replay any class as many times as you wish!

When will the group classes be held?


All group classes will be scheduled based on the group's collective availability. I have found that with a little bit of flexibility, we are typically able to find times that work for everyone most of the time (and again, any class that a student can't make live will be recorded for viewing at a later time). Upon enrollment, you will receive a link to a Google calendar where all session dates/times will be regularly updated.

I am a beginner, is this course for me?


Cellists who are at intermediate level or above will benefit most from this course. It is preferable to have some level of familiarity with the Bach G Major Prelude, but it is not required. The course can also be a teaser for you to start working on this beautiful work :).

ABOUT DR SOPHIE

"outstanding... every note has meaning rather as a look or a touch does; the resulting conversations she has with the music are endlessly absorbing... Her subjective narrative suggests the freedom with which Pablo Casals brought the music back to life a century ago."

 

~LAURENCE VITTES |  GRAMOPHONE

Dr Sophie's primary teachers and mentors include Richard Markson, Janos Starker, and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. In addition, she has had the privilege to study extensively or in masterclass settings with Dr Helga Winold, Mme Maud Tortelier, Menahem Pressler, Gary Hoffman, Csaba Onczay, Sharon Robinson, amongst others. Sophie believes strongly that performing and teaching are naturally interlinked, and she is passionate about passing on the knowledge that she has assimilated from some of the greats, as well as through her own 25+ years of teaching.

 

Sophie has served as cello faculty at Southeast Missouri State University, Jacobs School of Music Summer Clinic, Oxford Cello School, Trinity College of Music Junior Department, Lake Forest College and the Music Institute of Chicago. She is a keen music theorist and pianist, and held a position as Music Theory Instructor at Indiana University for four years. She has taught a variety of university level courses, and is frequently invited to give guest masterclasses at universities across the States. Following the pandemic's push to move more music teaching online, Dr Sophie has also given regular online cello lessons and classes for the past three years. In 2024, Sophie began teaching an online cello course, “Dr Sophie Cello Lab,” including group and individual instruction, international guest cellist clinicians, and with a strong community component.

 

Sophie's students have served as section and principal cellists in the Chicago and San Diego Youth Symphony Orchestras, have won or been placed in regional and national competitions (such as State Youth Concerto Competitions, the Society of American Musicians Competition, MidWest Young Artists Discover National Chamber Music Competition, Confucius Chinese Fine Arts Society Competition, and the Walgreen National Concerto Competition) and have gone on to study cello performance at some of the nation's top music schools.​

 

As a performer, Dr Sophie has performed across the States and in the UK, has received numerous awards and prizes for her playing, and has released three critically acclaimed albums, "Escape: Bach's Six Suites for Solo Cello" (2018), "b2c: Bach to Choir" (2020), and "Roots: Transcriptions of Romantic Works for Cello and Piano" (2022, with pianist Ines Irawati). Her music has been played on many of the top classical music radio stations across the US and in the UK.


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The registration period for Better Bach Summer 2024 is open until 7pm PT on June 11

(or when the maximum number of 25 participants is reached).

Save my spot!

In order to save your spot in this summer's Better Bach program (focusing on the G Major Prelude), please enter the required information below and click "submit." I will respond via email with a registration link and google calendar link to schedule a 30 min technology orientation/set up session.

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