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The registration period for Dr Sophie Cello Lab 1.0 Spring 2024 has now closed.

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A transformative 12 week online course for cellists

Next Lab... SEPT- NOV (exact dates tba)

Olympic athletes today don’t just have raw talent. They eat well, practice effectively, and analyze their performance to fine tune every detail. Playing the cello is no different… it’s both an art form AND a science.

Whether you’re a casual player or first chair of a symphony orchestra, Dr Sophie Cello Lab aims to dissect and examine your playing within a supportive community of like-minded cellists. We will challenge hypotheses, perform meaningful experiments, and evaluate our results. We will investigate positive and negative patterns in our practice and performance habits. We will seek to create a more natural relationship with the instrument by uncovering our technical and mental roadblocks (oh yes, we all have them).

With Dr Sophie’s coaching and the encouragement of the Cello Lab community, you will gain musical, technical and performance tools tailored to your needs to unlock your potential to play cello at the next level.



  • An increased collection of musical analytical devices to deconstruct musical phrases and compositions

  • An expanded library of technical building blocks and solutions

  • A richer, more singing sound

  • More engagement between bow and string, your intention, and the audience

  • A deeper understanding of the language and structure of music

  • More focused, effective, and rewarding practice

  • Increased confidence, freedom, and ease while playing


Instructional Videos 


Each week, I’ll post a new video featuring advice/demonstrations on a specific technical/musial/ performance topic… along with a weekly hands-on goal to help reinforce this goal through active learning.


Individual Sessions

I'll meet individually with you for one hour each month. We will work together to develop a comprehensive plan to help you advance with tools customized to your specific merits and areas of weakness.


Weekly Live Studio Class 


Each week we will have a one hour live studio class. This is your chance to perform works in progress in a supportive group setting, ask questions, get feedback from your peers, and participate in group discussion.


​​Weekly Workout 


Each week I’ll lead a live one hour workout. These workouts are designed to increasingly challenge you mentally, musically, and technically in a fun, supportive community environment.


Bi-Weekly Challenge 


Every two weeks, I’ll set a new challenge related to a current topic we're exploring. For example,  I could ask you to play a short musical phrase/technical excerpt and record/post this video to the group        or to document your own practice as you work through a tricky passage.


Guest Masterclasses 

Every month, we will have a 2 hour guest masterclass with top international performers and teachers from the esteemed music schools.


Small Group Sessions 

Work with two other students in small groups, learning from each other and the personalized feedback you receive from Dr. Sophie and your peers. These 90-minute sessions will occur once a month and focus on one of several topics you choose.


Online Cello Community Forum 


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.


Richard Markson minus cello an baton__edited.jpg

Richard Markson’s musical destiny was foreshadowed at the age of twelve when Paul Tortelier invited him to Paris to become his pupil. He later worked with Pierre Fournier, whose lifelong support became instrumental in the development of his solo career.

A much acclaimed London début, following which The Times proclaimed him “A quite outstanding cellist”, led to engagements throughout the world. In addition to appearances in his native Britain, the USA and Europe, he has completed twenty-six world tours extending from the Far East to Latin America.

Wider musical interests led to 8 years of intensive study with the American conductor Ezra Rachlin. Forging relationships with numerous orchestras worldwide, conducting has since become an integral part of his concert engagements.

Chamber music has been integral to his artistic life. For many years

he partnered pianist Michael Roll and his wife, violinist Mayumi Fujikawa. He has also enjoyed musical collaborations with Peter Frankl, Nobuko Imai, Jean-Rodolphe Kars, Gerald Robbins, Cristina Ortíz, John O’Conor, Jorge Federico Osorio and Bernard Flavigny. The Markson/Osorio Duo which began more than thirty years ago, has performed notably in the U.K., Latin America, and Japan.

In addition to his Senior Fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and his Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, his commitment to teaching has led to an association with many of the principal musical educational establishments of Australia, China, Japan, Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil and the United States. 

His CD releases include the complete Bach Suites for Meridian Records, the complete Beethoven and Brahms Sonatas with Jorge Federico Osorio for ASV & Regis respectively, the Dvorak Cello Concerto with José Guadalupe Flores, and the Haydn concerti in C & D as conductor and soloist for Urtext Classics.

Hamilton Cheifetz headshot_edited.jpg

Hamilton Cheifetz has been described in Fanfare Magazine as“unquestionably a magnificent player" and “an expressive lyricism reminiscent of Casals combined with the precision of Starker” for his solo recordings.  He has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in Europe, Australia and Asia.   A student of Janos Starker beginning at the age of 16, he performed at the White House and the Sydney Opera House and was the winner of the Piatigorsky Prize at Tanglewood.  Concerto appearances include the Toronto, Milwaukee and Oregon Symphonies.  He has also performed at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York and Chamber Music Northwest, and he was presented in solo recitals and master classes in China in 2010 and 2012.   A tour of South Korea with Julia Hwakyu Lee included duo recitals, concerti and master classes.  2018

concerts included solo and chamber music performances in Germany, and he was guest artist with the Takacs Quartet in Portland.  He is Florestan Professor of Cello and Professor Emeritus

at Portland State University and a founding member of the Florestan Trio with Carol Sindell and Janet Guggenheim.  Cheifetz has also established a program which features performances in prisons and assisted living facilities.

Brant Taylor headshot_edited_edited.jpg

Brant Taylor’s varied career includes solo appearances and collaborations withleading artists in chamber music, orchestral, and pedagogical settings on five continents. Before joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he was cellist of the Everest Quartet, prizewinners at the Banff and Fischoff competitions. He made his solo debut with the San Antonio Symphony at age fourteen.

Mr. Taylor frequently combines performance and pedagogy in master classes, audition training, and articles on a variety of musical topics. He serves on the faculty of DePaul University’s School of Music.

Mr. Taylor’s seven-year association with the band Pink Martini led to appearances on late night television and in nightclubs and theaters across NorthAmerica.

He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, studying with János Starker and Paul Katz.


How much does the course cost?

The cost for the entire 12 week course is $1200. Several payment options are available.

How do I register for the course?

To register for the course (during an open registration period), please schedule a "no obligations introductory call" with me to discuss  your goals. If we decide the course is a good fit, I will send you a link to register. Can’t find a time that works for you? Send me an email at and we’ll find a time to chat.

When does registration close?

Places are limited. Registration for the course will close when 12 students enroll or on Wednesday, January 16, whichever comes first.

What do I need for the course?

You need a reliable internet connection and a device that can run Zoom. A quality microphone and hi-speed internet connection are recommended, but not required.

How long does the course run?

The course runs from January 30, 2024 through May 7, 2024. There will be "reflection" weeks spread out through the course when no group activities will be held. Use this time to catch up on material you’ve missed or simply take a break.

What is your refund policy?

Participants may receive a full refund within 14 days of the start of the course. After that point, students are committed to paying for the entire course.

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.

When will the group sessions be held?

Weekly workouts will be held early in the week, usually on Monday morning or early afternoon. Weekly studio classes will be held on Saturdays. Guest masterclasses will be scheduled about once  a month. Regular class times/days may be rescheduled occasionally when I have performance conflicts. 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 at just about any level can benefit from this course. Schedule a call with me by clicking the button below and we can determine if the course is the right fit for you.

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."



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.

Comments (14)

18 déc. 2023

Looking forward to class and improving my playing.

En réponse à

Looking forward to working together soon! :)


01 déc. 2023

I'm really looking forward to this innovative and excellent course! Thanks for your hard work in preparation. Steven Strand

En réponse à

Thank you, Steve! So glad you can be a part of this journey :)


22 nov. 2023

This is such a comprehensive and rich course. I am looking forward to absorb all the wonderful materials Sophie prepared.

En réponse à

I'm excited to start working with you all... we already have some great participants for the course, and I predict engaging and insightful community discussion!


22 nov. 2023

I know I can make the Thursday workshop in person and will try to make it for Friday as well! Looking forward to it.

En réponse à

Wonderful! Looking forward to seeing you there! :)


22 nov. 2023

I won't be able to do this live but look forward to working with the material. Many thanks!

En réponse à

You are welcome! Perhaps you will be able to join us on a future occasion. Best wishes!


11 nov. 2023

I am so excited to take this course. I've just had my call with Dr. Sophie Webber to talk about the course and it sounds fabulous. I am looking forward to improving my playing with better bow techniques and sound production. I think this course will be just the instruction and inspiration that I need and I look forward to collaborating with other cellists. Thank you so much for offering this course! Pat McClure

En réponse à

It was great to speak with you, Pat, and I'm thrilled to have you on board :). Looking forward to continuing the conversation regarding your cello goals for this course, and topics that may most benefit you. Hope you find the bowing exercise we discussed helpful/enlightening (it's one of my favourite warm up workouts).


10 nov. 2023

Wow! This course sounds amazing! I will check and get back to you to see if my schedule permits it. I really think it would benefit anyone on any level. Thank you for offering it. I'll be in touch. Ines Mondragon

En réponse à

Great to hear from you, Ines, and thanks for the lovely feedback! I'm excited to be moving forward with this --I've been wanting to create an online course for so long --and finally it's taking shape 🌟... please do let me know if there is any particular topic you'd like to see the course cover, and hoping you can join us :)

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