American String Teachers Association Greater Los Angeles Area Section Nomination for Outstanding Studio Teacher of the Year
Nominee: Dr. Joyce Geeting, D.M.A. 40 Years of Service
It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I nominate Dr. Joyce Geeting for Outstanding Studio Teacher of the Year. Dr. Geeting has dedicated more than forty years to the study of music education and the advancement of cello students of all ages. She received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in performance and pedagogy from the University of Oregon. Over her career she has served on the faculties of Cornell College, University of Wisconsin, and the University of Redlands, and is currently teaching at California Lutheran University. During this time she taught many award-winning cello students and developed several professionals.
Dr. Geeting is an outstanding mentor to her students, as well as an accomplished soloist and chamber musician in her own right. She has performed on stages in Salzburg, London, New York, Washington DC, and Hong Kong, among other locations. She completed her post doctoral study with the renowned Janos Starker, arguably the greatest cellist of all time. While studying with Mr. Starker, she became so familiar with his life and work that she authored his biography “Janos Starker, King of Cellists” published in 2008.
I mention Dr. Geeting’s schooling and musical background because they are the cornerstone of her teaching style and an influence upon her students. She teaches with a warm heart and a love of music that translates directly to her pupils. I have observed her teaching my son Samuel for the past nine years, as well as many other students. She makes her lessons fun and has an exceptional ability to motivate her students. She is the catalyst for their desire to improve through dedicated practice and self discipline. Her students learn the technical aspects of playing the cello and in addition she teaches the intrinsic value of music. Students acquire a love of music from her. They desire improvement and to create beautiful music with their cellos for their own enrichment, as well as being able to bring the beauty of music to the community at large.
Dr. Geeting has served as the director of the California Lutheran University Conservatory of Music for over ten years. She and her cello students perform several concerts each year. In 2013, her Conservatory performed at Churches, Schools, Libraries and Guest Homes. All of these concerts are free of charge and a gift to the local community. By doing this, Dr. Geeting is giving back to her community and at the same time teaching this valuable lesson of giving, to all of her students. In addition to inculcating the love of music and honor of community service to her students, Dr. Geeting teaches the importance of “self-improvement” through challenges and goal setting.
Each year, Dr. Geeting’s students participate in the Music Teachers Association of California, “Certificate of Merit” program. Her students are encouraged progress at their own pace, and set higher goals for themselves each year. After achieving success at a level, her students are filled with the pride which comes with hard work in reaching a higher goal. This is such a valuable “life lesson” which so many in our society fail to understand and which her students develop naturally, with Dr. Geeting’s teachings. In 2014, my son, Samuel will be playing cello at Level 10, the highest level. His achievements, pride and self confidence he has developed can be greatly credited to Dr. Joyce Geeting.
I have read numerous letters of thanks and congratulations written to Dr. Geeting from appreciative students, parents, professors, music directors and the general public. All attest to her mastery of the cello and to her astonishing ability to pass the art and love of music to her students. Dr. Geeting truly deserves to be honored as Outstanding Teacher of the year. I have attached several examples of accolades to this nomination.
Sincerely, Robert Grandfield
Of all the choices I have made in my young life span, undoubtedly one of the most impacting has been my decision to seriously dedicate myself to becoming a cellist. Prior to taking lessons, I played in a middle school orchestra. The pieces were appropriate and entertaining for an eighth grader but did not stimulate a desire to master the instrument. Upon entering high school, I decided to pursue playing cello playing and met Dr. Joyce Geeting.
When I had my very first lesson with her, my mind was completely blown! Like jumping into a cold pool of water, I was completely shocked at the complexity and depth of the cello and was overwhelmed by how much there was to learn. Needless to say, the first year went by roughly, as I often could only play about half the music in all the cello concerts. Who ever knew Jingle Bells could be so hard? Little by little I expanded my level of playing under her tutelage.
What makes Dr. Geeting an inspiring teacher is her didactic teaching method and encouraging attitude. All the pieces I have worked on are not only fun and interesting but have also helped to expand my technical skill and intellectual understanding of music. Her attitude is one of kind yet firm expectation. At times, it might seem daunting when I had a week of finals during the day and concerts to perform at night. As much as I wanted to just skip the concerts and study, I felt an obligation make Dr. Geeting proud. Quite simply, Dr. Geeting sets high standards for all her students. She knows they are capable of reaching them.
Under Dr. Geeting, so many opportunities have opened for me, such as the privilege of playing in the CLU University Symphony, conducted by Dr. Dan Geeting. This has not only given me a taste of professional symphonic playing, but also influenced me to apply to CLU.
Looking back on my four years with Dr. Geeting, I feel I have grown immensely, not only as a cellist but also as a person. Though I still have much to learn, with the continuing help of Dr. Geeting I am confident I will be able to achieve much more.
1. Structuring the lesson. First decision is what will be accomplishd in the time given. Dr. Geeting will ask what the student has worked on the most and what they want to work on in the lesson – then structure the lesson accordingly.
2. Student will play something old and something new - play the scales and arpeggios in the key of the piece with different bow patterns, always pushing forward with new ways of playing them.
3. Students will learn that good form is basic to good playing. Effective, balanced body use is essential.
4. Look a new piece over and discuss how much the student knows about it before playing a note: clef, key, meter, tempo, mood, dynamics, form, style, historic era. The student is responsible for figuring things out, directed by Dr. Geeting’s questions.
5. Dr. Geeting uses positive reinforcement, avoiding negatives. Verbal rewards throughout the lesson for doing something right, if only one small thing at a time.
6. As the student goes through a new piece, Dr. Geeting gives information and helps students do it right the first time.
7. Dr. Geeting demonstrates how the music should sound, sometimes recording the piece for the student. Cell phones are handy for this purpose. Students focus on how Dr. Geeting , and capture her hands in the video.
8. Students develop fingering patterns and good intonation first, perhaps left hand only first. After which, they work on out bow patterns, and with good sound production add the bow.
9. Students establish goals for the week, how and what to practice, how long, and how often
10. Dr. Geeting assesses how much a student can process and encourages them as far as they can handle, playing things hopefully on a high level.
11. Students will periodically give performance classes and public concerts, thus giving the students goals for their practice.
Aspects of Dr. Geeting's Teaching Approach
Dear Dr. Geeting, Five years ago when I first started playing cello, I had no idea that I would ever get this far. Every lesson I took from you, you helped me grow to love the cello more and more. Thank you so much for your patience and inspiration as well as your incredible performances. You really helped shape my playing and showed much insight in the many things you have performed. Honestly, you have been the best teacher I could ever hope for. I hope you will continue to inspire young people through our teaching. Your student, Aidan S.
"Your students could be the next "Yo Yo Ma's!!!
Hope you celebrated Joyce. Keep me informed of all your activities. I look forward to working with you wherever that may be.