From Students

“When we’re playing Pachelbel Canon from the CD we get to play our own things. I can play whatever my brain and heart wants me to do. I get to release my feelings. She gives us solutions.”
—Devyani, age 7

“I love the way she helps me remember how to do things. It’s hard for me to remember how to keep a wiggly thumb or a relaxed bow elbow but she makes it fun and easy to remember. She also teaches me bow budgeting which is hard but makes the songs really amazing after I learn them.”
—Perry, age 7

“When I cannot remember something clearly in my head, Ms. Lisa makes up a story and suddenly that element much easier to remember. She also makes a practice list each lesson for me to take back to my house and that helps me to keep working well at home. She has a lot of imagination, which makes me want to be a partner with her in music.”
—Stevie, age 10.

“Ms. Lisa is a very good teacher and is very imaginative.  She is funny and plays cello well with little kids.  My favorite thing is that she has us pick a color that is associated with a piece.”
—Audrey Deck, age 11

“Her teachings are really fun because she takes you through everything in a way that makes you really want to practice.”
—Thomas, age 11

“I have studied chamber music with Lisa for 5 years and her influence on my playing and how I interact musically with my chamber group has been invaluable. Her wisdom in music extends far beyond the confines of the cello studio. With each piece she helps us to learn, she molds us through both encouragement and challenge and seems to know how to get each other player to express themselves to best of their current ability. I leave chamber coaching sessions feeling confident about my playing and filled with new creative ideas or images to try to express or communicate in my individual practice. One of the problems our quartet was having was that we all tended to play technically very well as four individuals with little interaction. Lisa helped us connect our individual selves together as a group that moves as one. We went from playing as a group with little eye contact to one where we physically interact and connect. This helped link our phrases together in an expressive manner which brought our piece to a whole new level, making it more fun in the process! I don’t think we could have done that without Lisa.”
—Anna Smith 15, violinist

“Learning to play the cello has been a life-long goal. Understand, I am not Lisa’s typical student. I am an adult beginner — a former teacher, an award winning faculty member in teacher education, a university administrator (now retired), and eons ago a wind instrument music major. I am extremely honored to be one of Lisa’s students, as adult beginners bring to the table a unique set of challenges. Challenges may range from being frustrated at not acquiring each new skill as quickly as I think I should be able to; repeatedly asking for technical explanations which cut into our lesson time; or –a big one — struggling with improvisation rather than sticking strictly with Suzuki! Lisa meets challenges with patience, a much-appreciated sense of humor, and an understanding of how to balance when to push and when to praise. I might come into a lesson feeling frustrated or full of new questions, but I consistently leave with answers, accomplishment and inspiration. When struggling with a particularly difficult passage, Lisa offers me not just one way to tackle it but instead uses a well-honed repertoire of approaches that help me – an adult beginner. These skills and approaches represent what it truly means to be a master teacher. How fortunate and thankful I am to be able to study with and learn from Lisa Liske-Doorandish.”
—Sandy Moore



“There are not many music instructors who accept adult learners. After all, due to their unique challenges, adults will never be the ones that will showcase any studio that seeks to grow in numbers and prestige. Lisa L.- D. graciously overlooks the issues inherent with adults and creates opportunitites for them to thrive. As an adult learner who started in her 40’s, I have grown in cello proficiency enough to play in family music groups, adult chamber groups and community stage productions, all groups that she has helped facilitate along the way. Lisa’s far-sighted vision of what individuals are capable of goes beyond the product of music and addresses the immense value of the creative process in realizing the self actualization and emotional health of individuals as well as the strengthening of family and community ties. Lisa is also wise enough to recognize that if she can effectively engage and immerse the parent in the pursuit and experience of classical music, then the rest of the family will follow suit, generating both the performers and appreciative audience members of the present and future, benefiting the entire realm of classical music.”
—Carolyn Smith
Parent of David Smith, cello, 13
and Anna Smith, violin, 15

From Parents

“Mrs. Liske-Doorandish is an extraordinary teacher. Her passion for the art of music exudes in her teaching, which is exhibited in her students. Her skills to overcome the learning difficulties s that are often met with teaching children and youth is unparalleled. She exhibits keen discernment to detect what teaching technique works best for each of her students. Her dedication, concern and love for each of her students is reflected in their outstanding technical and expressive musical performing. We feel that Mrs. Liske-Doorandish would excel in anything she put her hand to do.”
—Carl and Cherie Shelor

“Lisa makes music practice accessible to my family. She is kind and patient and she always encourages us to pursue our own ideas about sound and expression. Our lives are so much richer because of Lisa’s cello studio!”

“Something I sincerely appreciate about Lisa’s teaching style is her ability to engage with each student as a unique individual with unique learning needs. She makes sure they know their thoughts matter, which builds confidence that shines through in their music making/literacy and as they grow/develop in other areas as well. It never ceases to amaze me how she is able to infuse little musicians with energy, motivation, drive and a personal sense of responsibility/artistry.”
—Tiffany, parent of 2 students


“She uses the children’s imagination to enhance their musical education instead of shutting that part of them down. She is gentle and kind and teaches me to be a better parent.practice.”
—Alex, parent of 2 students.

“We are both music teachers, so when we started our son’s formal music education we wanted to make sure that it was something we did “right.” Studying with Lisa has been a great fit for our family. Her teaching is playful, patient, adaptive, thoughtful, and engaging. Our son was the youngest member of the studio at the time he started, and not only is Lisa very encouraging to him as a new musician but also to us in our new role on the other side as “music parents.” Lisa has fostered a wonderful community of cellists and their families who support and encourage each other, and we are lucky to be a part of her studio!”
—Annie Chilcote, music teacher and parent in Lisa’s studio.

“Lisa is one of the finest musicians and teachers of the instrument on the planet. Both our daughters studied with her and their lives have been transformed by it. One is at Oberlin conservatory now after beginning at the Royal College of Music, London. Our other daughter has developed fine musical sensibilities and technical capacity that could easily take her anywhere she would wish to go with music. Lisa’s enthusiasm, insight, musical approach, and masterful understanding of the instrument and its traditions and horizons, has opened the door to music and the joy of playing both solo and in ensemble to our daughters and many, many other young musicians and their families.”

“My daughter, now 11, began her cello journey with Lisa Liske-Doorandish at the age of 4.   We chose Lisa because of her reputation for developing curiosity, enjoyment, and musicality even in the youngest of children.  Although Suzuki is designed with the young child in mind, I was hesitant to start my daughter so young because I wasn’t sure I had the patience as the parent partner!  Lisa’s pre-Suzuki cello book, Ants, helped us both through this incredible adventure. Ants leads the child (and the parent!) from pizzicato on an open string, through open string “accompaniments” to Suzuki pieces, simple harmonics, and finally a few of Lisa’s own 1st-position pieces.  I thought “Twinkle” would be insurmountable, but Ants provided the bridge with its small, well defined, incremental exercises.  We could both feel the progress week by week.  As our daughter enters middle school, we are delighted to be continuing her study with Lisa.  Lisa motivates with games and activities.  Her annual Cellofest event and other workshops introduce ensemble playing, Celtic cello, baroque cello, and even jazz improvisation.  Her annual Friends and Family concerts embrace all genres and all instruments.  One can clearly see that Lisa loves the cello and its literature as much as anything in the world, and with enduring patience and peerless generosity she shares this love with all of her students, regardless of their future ambitions.”
—Carla Deck


“Lisa Liske-Doorandish has been a treasure to our family both musically and personally. Though we first met Lisa at a summer camp over four years ago Lisa has been teaching our 9 year and 6 year old sons on the cello for two and a half years and has been coaching our 14 year old daughter’s (who plays the violin) quartet for over a year. When we first met Lisa at camp she connected with our then five year old son in a master class in a unique and powerful way. I distinctly remember she used a tiny train traveling up his A string underneath his fingers to aid him with his left hand position. She sat on the floor in front of him, spoke with a quiet and loving tone, inviting him in to the lesson with her placid demeanor. Our son sat and attended to her instruction in a way that he had not ever done before. We were disappointed to learn later that Lisa lived and taught over four hours away from our home.

A couple years later when our family parted from “city living,” we sought out Lisa and and moved to the area where she taught. Since then we have seen exponential musical growth in our older and now younger son as well. Lisa embodies the epigram attributed to von Goethe, “Do not hurry, do not rest.” She inspires her students to work hard and at their best but she does not pressure them to achieve simply for the sake of achievement. Her lessons are full, intentional and challenging but bathed in patience and tenderness. Lisa excels at gauging where a child is emotionally at the start of a lesson, meeting them at that place, and gently turning them toward music. She uses techniques including games, small toys, bells and numeric goals to draw the best from her young students.

With her older students Lisa speaks with a manner that conveys mutual respect and admiration. She is encouraging and positive but not soft. Lisa has a keen sense of when she can ask for a passage “one more time” and when she needs to move on. She addresses essential technique while emphasizing expression and imagination. My daughter welcomes and responds to Lisa’s quartet coaching. Even in a single coaching the result of Lisa’s work is obvious and exciting. Lisa also understands larger group dynamics and the importance of sharing music with peers. Lisa has built a musical community in our area through weekly group classes and annual music workshops for her students in addition to her private instruction. This musical community of peers has been an anchor for our children and adds a joyful and essential dimension to their music. Finally, Lisa has a strong and unwavering commitment to personal excellence as a cellist. She truly “leads by example” with her continued solo, chamber and orchestral performance. Because of her ongoing personal musical goals and experience Lisa is able to help navigate professional musical paths while also coming along side, encouraging and strengthening amateur musicians.

For our family, Lisa commitment to personal growth in her cello performance as well as tireless and sacrificial investment in building the musical community through teaching has been priceless. She has lead and loved our children into a lasting love for the cello and chamber music.”
—Rania Rosborough, MD, parent in Lisa’s studio

“Both of my daughters have had the great fortune to be students of Lisa’s.  One, now 15, didn’t continue to play the cello, but she was given an excellent musical foundation.  The other, now 19, studied cello with Lisa from the age of 5 to the age of 18.  Lisa’s work with her was a profound influence on her life.  Lisa not only taught her to be an accomplished, expressive cellist, she also connected her with college contacts which resulted in my daughter being offered a large scholarship for college.  Lisa is skilled at working with students of any age, and is without a doubt the finest early-childhood music teacher I have ever encountered.”
—Sharon Stacy, preschool music teacher and parent

From Colleagues

“It is my pleasure to continue to be a colleague of Lisa Liske-Doorandish, spanning fifteen years to date. Over this time, I have had the privilege and singular opportunity to watch snapshots develop of her cello students. ALL have immaculate technique: ALL, regardless of age, play with musicianship well beyond their age, and with evident love of the cello.  I have heard her speak with depth and passion about the importance of students playing chamber music: her performances, solo or in quartet, communicate warmth, enthusiasm, profound understanding of the music. She is thoughtful, creative, tempered with a sense of humor, and, perhaps the most well-spoken musician I have known.”
Ruth Johnsen
Outstanding Educator Award, DPI, NC
Director of Orchestras,
Ligon GT Magnet Middle School
Raleigh NC

“In the many years I have been playing and teaching the cello, I have rarely come across a colleague with the combination of brilliant insight, dedication to her art, and such powerful skills of communication, combined with a warm and positive persona, as I have found in Lisa. Lisa is a fine cellist, a tonal artist, and an inventive, creative force in her community and in the world of cello teaching. Her hugely successful record of preparing students for professional careers speaks for itself, and she is also an inspiration to the many students she encounters teaching at workshops and summer music programs around the country. My own studio has benefited immensely from her regular visits and workshops, and I as a colleague, have grown as an artist, teacher, and friend because of her constant seeking of the highest and best that lay within all of us. Her firm belief that everyone has musical ability and expressive capabilities informs her every interaction with students and musical collaborators, and elevates the dialogue around making art as very few can. It is an honor and a pleasure to recommend her.”
—Alicia Randisi-Hooker
CelloLEAP Studio


“I have been privileged to see Lisa Liske-Doorandish teach all levels of cellists in many master classes over many years. She is a remarkable teacher of cello, music, and life. She has a rare ability to tune in to what each student is capable of learning in that moment, and always seems to effortlessly find her students’ perspective early in her interactions with student cellists. In ways I often marvel at later, she can move mountains in small periods of time with students, always in a gentle, thoughtful way, but often through paths of exploration that don’t immediately seem directed towards a resolution of a specific challenge until the moment of discovery emerges in her student. Then one can see that Lisa was subtly directing them towards this discovery from the outset. She is a master teacher, and a marvel to see at work.”
—Dr. Wesley Hale Barrick Baldwin
Professor of Cello, University of Tennessee
Founder and Director, Tennessee Cello Workshop