Brenda Leonard
Cape May, NJ
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Brenda Leonard

Brenda L.

Cape May, NJ
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I have over 30 years of experience teaching cello. Every student has different needs; I work with you at whatever point you are at; beginners through advanced students welcome. I have a doctorate in cello. I've played cello all my life; in recent years I have learned (and can teach) 5-string cello, as well.

I recommend lessons 30 minutes in duration for beginners, particularly children. (Adult beginners can choose 30 or 45 minutes.) Students who can play longer pieces definitely need a little longer lesson so we get through everything.

I use Suzuki books for their inexpensive repertoire but I do not teach using the Suzuki method nor do I teach rote playing. I supplement these books with technique materials from Rick Mooney (Position Pieces, Thumb Position) and studies by cellist-composers of the past. If you have an interest in another area of playing, let's talk and find pieces that interest you.

About Brenda L.

I love teaching cello! I’ve spent 30+ years of my life doing it and I think I’m good at what I do. :) One of the best parts of teaching is connecting you with your dreams. I’m open to teaching music you’ll enjoy playing and I love talking about cello and my love of classical music. I’m happy to help you find music you can play at your level and will love playing.

Many of my students find they really enjoy taking lessons with me because I speak their language—I understand their love of different types of music, I hear their frustrations and can help them solve their problems, and I’m happy to spend a few minutes in a lesson “nerding out” about whatever exciting cello-thing came across their radar this week.

I have a reputation for students with solid technique who have learned how to solve problems and play in tune, in rhythm, with good sound and musical understanding. Let me help you do so!

DMA in cello performance from the University of South Carolina
MM in cello performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University
BA in music history, also from NIU

I’ve taught cello at Clemson University, North Greenville University, Anderson University, and the University of South Carolina, as well as for 30+ years in my private studio. I've been playing for over 40 years. Please note that I ONLY teach students age 10 and up.


Write a Review
29 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is an amazing teacher, our 7 year old loves her and looks forward to meeting with her every time! He says that she is so funny and makes cello feel so fun for him. He has grown and learned so much in just months and is excited to continue learning cello!

Posted May 6, 2021
Cindy T.
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is an excellent teacher; she makes learning cello fun.
I look forward to our weekly lessons, and I’ve learned so much from her in just a few months.

Posted Apr 19, 2021
Deborah W.
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is absolutely a great knowledgeable teacher. She is very patient. She has a gift for music. She is flexible with scheduling.

Posted Mar 16, 2021
Cindy T.
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is a great cello teacher; she is a patient instructor, superior in music theory, and actual playing. I feel at ease at our lessons and look forward to them weekly.

Posted Feb 26, 2021
Naomi S.
Profile-location-online Online

I'm on my 3rd lesson and already feel like I've learned a lot! She's very helpful and even though it's an online class, Brenda's really observant so she can catch things right away and correct them. She's also the nicest person with a good sense of humor. I'd definitely recommend her!

Posted Jan 17, 2021
Karen P.
Profile-location-online Online

Very patient and encouraging. Good use of imagery to help me achieve and remember correct positions.

Posted Nov 4, 2020
Profile-location-online Online


Posted Nov 1, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda was very patient. I am a total beginner and she was great! I am excited to practice and see her next session.

Posted Oct 22, 2020
Cindy T.
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda “knows” the cello, and she is such an effective teacher.! I learned so much in my first two lessons with her.

Posted Oct 2, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

My first lesson was just what I needed to get back into the practice of learning cello.

Posted Sep 28, 2020
Deborah W.
Profile-location-online Online

Very patient.Very likable. Look forward to my next lesson.

Posted Sep 23, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Such a great instructor! Down to earth, approachable, didn't make me feel bad for never learning to read music. After a 9 year hiatus, a great way to get back to cello.

Posted Sep 17, 2020
Cindy T.
Profile-location-online Online

She is an excellent teacher. I felt at ease with her and learned a lot in my lesson.

Posted Sep 4, 2020
Andrea B.
Profile-location-online Online

I loved my first lesson! I really enjoyed Brenda's sense of humor and felt very encouraged by her!

Posted Aug 24, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is very patient

Posted Aug 13, 2020
John Forrestal
Profile-location-online Online

Amazing teacher and immensely informative lesson! She is a fantastic teacher!

Posted Aug 11, 2020
Bonita (Bonnie) Banfield
Profile-location-online Online

She is spunky and patient. I’d recommend her to anyone.

Posted Jun 24, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is an amazing musician and teacher! She is personable, a great listener, and is obviously incredibly talented in her craft. I am proficient at the Flute, and was looking to try something brand new. So glad I found Brenda! This was my first time taking a lesson online, and it was amazing how she could pick up so many details through the online medium. I really feel like with her lessons the techniques I’m learning feel less intimidating, and the music feels more fun. I would recommend Brenda to any musician, whether you are picking up an instrument for the first time or trying to hone a specific part of your craft. Seriously no need to look further!

Posted Jun 15, 2020
Hayshan -.
Profile-location-online Online

My daughter has been studied with Mrs Brenda for 3 weeks. She loves to study with Mrs Brenda. Mrs Brenda is a very professional teacher, she is always patient and fun. my daughter learned many new skills from her. Thank you.

Posted May 16, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Great experienced cello teacher! Thank you Brenda!

Posted May 10, 2020
Hayshan -.
Profile-location-online Online

My daughter had a amazing first lesson with Mrs Brenda. She is very professional and fun. She use very nice way to teach my daughter, She enjoy the class a lot. She can't wait to see her again in the class.

Posted May 4, 2020
Eric Derks
Profile-location-online Online

Brenda is a keen and thoughtful instructor and musician. As an adult returning to music, she has really made the pathway enjoyable and fun.

Posted Apr 30, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Wonderful teacher! She was the first private instructor to really understand the way my son learns, and taught him appropriately. He made so much progress under her tutelage. We highly recommend her!

Posted Apr 6, 2019
Ruth Ann
Profile-location-online Online

First lesson went great. Brenda started me with the basics and was very patient. Answered all my questions. I feel that I will be off to a good start with Brenda guiding me. PS I’m 53 years old, brand new to cello. I’ve always dreamed of playing.
I used to play French Horn 40 years ago. Bass clef is all new to me.

Posted Feb 23, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I originally learned how to play the cello on my own in my school's orchestra. When I went to college and decided to bring my cello with me, I knew it was time to take proper lessons like everyone else. Brenda was able to help me iron out all of the bad habits I had developed over seven years of playing cello with no formal corrections. She clearly cared about me and my interests as a student. I can confidently say Brenda equipped me with the tools, techniques, and attitude I needed to play the cello for the rest of my life.

Posted Jan 27, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Dr. Leonard has been my daughter's cello teacher for six years. She has been amazing in every way. My daughter has enjoyed playing the cello, in large, part due to Dr. Leonard's teaching style which is intellectually stimulating, humorous, inspiring, and caring. She is a relatable to my teenager. We have never thought of moving to a new teacher because Dr. Leonard always brings something new to the table in her lessons.

Posted Nov 24, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I wish I could've had the time and money to take another semester of lessons with Dr. Leonard here at NGU. She is a fantastic communicator with brilliant teaching strategies, plus helpful hints and tricks to make a student's learning experience easier. I absolutely loved my time with her, it was a blessing of an experience I'll never forget.

Posted Nov 24, 2018
Profile-location-online Online

Dr. Leonard is an excellent teacher! She genuinely cares about the student and does not hesitate to answer any questions the student may have! She is efficient with her time without making the student feel rushed or as though they have a time limit. Most of all, she is enthusiastic and kind, making her a wonderful teacher!

Posted Nov 23, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have studied with Dr. Brenda Leonard for the duration of my college career, and recently performed my senior recital as a Music Education major. Dr. Leonard is not only one of the most accomplished performers I have known personally, but is a truly superb educator. She holds her students to an appropriate standard of excellence in their playing and gives them the support to attain it, adjusting her teaching style based on the needs of each student. Furthermore, she blends down-to-earth practicality with artistry better than anyone I know. Dr. Leonard not only teaches the cello excellently, but invests in her students' lives personally. It has truly been a pleasure studying with her as a mentor.

Posted Nov 23, 2018

Photos & Videos

7 Photos & Videos


Private Studio Teacher
Apr 1986 - Present


I've been playing since I was 8 years old and teaching since I was 16. I'm a much better teacher than I was 30+ years ago, but I know I've connected with every student in some way and all of them have improved at the cello!


DMA Cello Performance
Aug 2004 - Jul 2012

University of South Carolina

MM Cello Performance and Pedagogy
Jan 1992 - Aug 1993

Northern Illinois University



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


American String Teachers Association
Jan 1994
The American String Teachers Association, founded more than 60 years ago, is a membership organization for string and orchestra teachers and players, helping them to develop and refine their careers. ASTA's members range from budding student teachers to artist-status performers. The organization provides a vast array of services, including instrument insurance, an award-winning scholarly journal, discounts on publications and resources, annual professional development opportunities, and access to collegial network of colleagues throughout the string profession.

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