Felix Umansky, Yari Bond, Tyler James and students in Merkin Hall

Teaching Philosophy

“By studying in depth why we talk the way we do, by abstracting the logical principles of language, we may be in a position to discover how we communicate in a larger sense—through music, through the arts in general, and ultimately through all our societal behavior.”

-Leonard Bernstein 


As a kid from from Virginia who started out working on a ranch to pay for lessons, I wouldn’t be half the cellist I am today were it not not for the generosity of my mentors growing up. As a teacher, my goal is to pass on what they gave me— technique, musicality, and the ability to think for one’s self. I have taught students from totally different worlds; all the way from El Sistema Middle Schoolers in the Bronx to folks in their nineties picking up the instrument again. I believe in my heart there is a place in music for everyone.


My goal for my students is to take them wherever they wish to go. It’s important to create an environment where a student’s curiosity is the driving force behind their artistic development. Every lesson I try to incorporate practical cello-playing habits alongside idealistic musical expression. More than anything else I seek to build trust with a student so we can work together in solving problems and preparing for the concert platform. 


I spent much of my life trying “keep up” with my peers. It took a long time to realize that music is not a race to the top; rather it is self-realization. Thankfully the qualities that make you a good musician tend to make you a quality person: preparedness, commitment, compassion, curiosity, and thoughtfulness. The study of music is not just a way to develop these skills; it is also a pathway to a richer,  fuller human experience. It is my strong belief that aesthetic is inherent to our cognitive biology; that the study of music should be just as universal as learning to write, read, and speak regardless of what you look like or where you come from. I am grateful for everything music has given to me, and I hope to pay that forward to my students. 

                 Teaching Biography

Tyler began his teaching practice as part of the Orchestra of St. Luke's Education Program. He has also taught at the Kaufman Music Center's Summer Stringfest, the Montecito International Music Festival. and at Upbeat NYC--an El Sistema Program based in the Bronx, NY. While on the revival tour of Miss Saigon, Tyler led sectionals and coachings in public elementary schools across the country.  Tyler has completed pedagogy courses by both his mentors, esteemed teachers Marion Feldman and Dr. Terry King. Tyler is currently working as a teaching assistant at the Conservatory Lab Charter School and the Boston String Academy while maintaining a private studio in the Boston Area.