November Teacher Spotlight: Ellen Stephens

Ellen Stephens.jpg

Ellen Stephens

For the November Teacher Spotlight, we are featuring Ellen Stephens. Ellen is originally from Nashville, TN, but moved to Cincinnati, OH in 1998 so she could attend the University of Cincinnati- College Conservatory of Music (CCM) for graduate school as a cello performance major. Following graduation, Ellen was offered a teaching position. Since then, she has discovered a love and passion for teaching and helping students grow. She is currently the orchestra director at Northern Kentucky School of Music of Immanuel. She looks forward to their tours and competitions every year, probably because they perform at such a high level and are recognized with many awards every year! Along with all of that, she has performed at the Luca Italy Opera Theatre for two summers and is currently a member of the Southbank Quartet. Ellen has an impressive musical history and we can't wait to see what her future holds as a teacher and performer.

What city do you currently teach in?

Northern Kentucky (Lakeside Park)

Where do you teach?

Northern Kentucky School of Music of Immanuel

What instruments do you play/ teach?

  • Cello
  • String orchestra
  • Perform with the Southbank Quartet

How did your career in music get started?

  • I started music with the piano at age 5.
  • At age 9 my mother suggested that I choose another instrument. She suggested the bassoon or the cello.  I picked the cello.
  • I just loved the sound and playing from that moment on.
  • I went to school as a cello performance major.
  • When I graduated from CCM, I was offered a teaching gig and I took it thinking I would continue to practice and someday audition for an orchestra.
  • I discovered that I loved teaching and being a part of student’s lives.
  • It was fun to discover this passion that I did not know existed in myself.
  • The students and families helped me discover my own passion.

What’s your favorite song to play?

Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata

What other hobbies besides music do you have?

I LOVE to garden and work in the yard.

What has been your favorite moment as a teacher?

We were in NYC at a competition and performed Barber’s Adagio.  I will never forget the magical moment of that moving work and how well the students played.  The auditorium was so silent, you could hear a pin drop.

What do you find to be the best motivator for students?

Definitely your personal passion and personal work ethic. 

What are your future goals as a musician and teacher?

  • To impact student’s lives in a positive way. 
  • Sharing love and inspiration to every student.
  • Help nurture each student’s identity and soul.
  • Create outstanding citizens for our community.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

  • Follow your heart.
  • Do not be afraid to create your own job to fulfill your passions and dreams.
  • Some students need your attention and love more than the physical instruction of playing an instrument.  Music is sometimes just a tool to fulfill these needs.

Fun fact?

I love ice cream.

Courtney Kappa