Welcome to Carlyn Kessler’s Cello Studio!

Suzuki and Traditional Cello Lessons


  • San Francisco, CA: Private Studio in Lower Pacific Heights at Congregation Sherith Israel

  • Oakland, CA: Holy Names University Preparatory

    Contact me for more information on joining my cello studio (space is limited).

I work with students of all ages and levels, ages four through adult and beginner through advanced. I tailor my teaching to the student and recognize the individual’s unique learning style and strengths to develop a personalized approach. My students have earned admission and leadership positions in numerous youth and community orchestras, college conservatories, chamber music ensembles, and summer music festivals. In my studio, students have the opportunity to perform in annual studio recitals, community outreach events, Suzuki group classes, and Suzuki book graduation performances.

I am certified by the Suzuki Association of the Americas to teach Suzuki cello from Every Child Can through Books 1-10. I received my Suzuki training at the Cleveland Institute of Music under renowned teacher trainer Melissa Kraut.

Before relocating to the Bay Area from Ohio in 2017, I served on the faculty at the College of Wooster and was Department Head of Strings at The Music Settlement in Cleveland, a large community music school and epicenter for the arts, as well as several other educational institutions and camps. It is one of my greatest joys to share my love of music with my students and the next generation of musicians.

Through lessons, we work together to cultivate the following philosophies and principals: 

  • Develop a system of left and right (bow) hand fundamental technique, balanced posture, and increased dexterity

  • Learning how to practice by addressing technical checklists to break down challenges

  • The Suzuki Triangle (Parent, Teacher, Child): Parents of young students attend the lesson and learn alongside the child to facilitate home practice/be the “home teacher”

  • Time management and performance strategies to meet goals including studio recitals and auditions

  • Ear and rhythm training, note reading, and music theory

  • Increased patience, focus, and self-confidence

  • Musical awareness: digging for emotional meaning and personal connection with the repertoire using imagery and storytelling

  • Positive reinforcement: striving for improvement and celebrating achievement while having fun!

  • Tying it all together: Turning to technique in order to voice musical intentions and instilling a lifelong appreciation for the role that the arts play in our world

My Education: Cleveland Institute of Music

  • Master of Music, Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy

  • Bachelor of Music, Cello Performance

Carlyn was my daughter’s teacher for about four years. She is extraordinary as a musician, teacher and mentor. We also enjoyed seeing her creative performances around town. Carlyn was truly engaged in sharing the power and beauty of music with a broad audience. We miss her but know she will do very well in San Francisco!
— Francisca R.
I was Carlyn’s student during my senior year at the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), where she was an adjunct professor. During my time at the College of Wooster, I had three teachers, including Carlyn. She by far left the most impact on my musical growth and desire to continue to further my education as a cellist during graduate school. Carlyn’s comments are highly constructive, and she conducts lessons in adaptive way that cater to your strengths and weakness as a cellist. In addition to a strong emphasis on technique, Carlyn pushed me to critically consider the phrasing of the given repertoire on which we were working. As a result, during my time as a student with Carlyn, I observed significant improvement in not only technique, but also musicality. I was sincerely sad when my time as Carlyn’s student came to an end, as she truly is a wonderful teacher and very talented musician.
— Lindsay R.