“From fall 2017 to spring 2019, I attended the School of Music at Texas State University as a graduate student, where I eventually earned a master’s degree in cello performance. During this time, I worked closely with Dr. Karla Hamelin, who was my mentor, principal teacher, and chamber music coach.
My first encounter with Karla Hamelin was back in 2015. On this occasion, I attended the master classes and recitals she performed at the Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey and the School of Music of the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon. I was delighted by the masterful performance of the duo and dynamic and inspiring cello clinics, imparted on this occasion. Two years later, as a graduate student under the tutelage of Dr. Hamelin, I was able to deepen into the subtlety of the cello performance and pedagogy. In Dr. Hamelin, I discovered a highly knowledgeable cello teacher with a profound understanding of the cello technique and mechanics. Under her guidance, I refined my technique and explored new repertoire. Subsequently, during my second year in the master’s program, I was accepted to continue my studies in the doctoral program at Ohio State University.
The graduate program in music at Texas State University is small and selective. String students often are part of the prestigious Graduate String Quartet. In my first year at Texas State as a cello major and member of the Graduate String Quartet, I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Hamelin as a chamber-music coach. During the 2017-2018 school year, we performed two full-length concerts, featuring pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Dvorak Prokofiev, and Copland, in addition to five educational concerts for elementary and middle schools in San Marcos. An experienced and sought-after chamber musician on her own, Dr. Hamelin had a lot to offer to her advice. She worked in detail in verbal and non-verbal communication, and stylistic diversification. Dr. Hamelin created a strategically comprehensive rehearsing plan, which kept the stamina of the ensemble high during the semester and naturally led to successful performances.
As a cello major at Texas State University, I was also part of the cello studio, a fast-growing musical organism, and a welcoming place for everyone who commits with a hard-working routine. The studio, led by Dr. Hamelin, meets regularly every week. Students' integral development is nourished trough regular reading assignments on cello history and pedagogy. In addition, the cello studio is the proper place for discussions on playing Iowa), and Andrew Yee (Attacca Quartet). The public face of the cello studio is the cello choir. The ensemble is regularly requested to perform in high-profile university events. In February 2018, the cello choir premiered two pieces by Thomas Clark, Lidice Remembered, and Raising Rainbow in the Stars at Night Concert Series at the Texas State Performing Arts Center.
Being part of the Texas State Cello studio was one of the most rewarding experiences in my professional life. Under Dr. Hamelin’s guidance, I rearticulated my professional aspirations, reaffirmed my playing, and reconsidered my teaching commitment.“
Boris Chalakov (M.M./M.M.Ed)
“Dr. Karla Hamelin is a truly talented cellist and a very unique teacher. I had the great pleasure to become her student during my time at Texas State. One of the main characteristics of her teaching is that it is very dynamic and energetic. Dr. Hamelin is constantly searching for her students to understand every concept clearly through the different learning process every student has.
After being part of her studio for 3 years, my technique and perception of the cello changed for the good. Some of the many things I perfected with Dr. Hamelin were bow technique, orchestral repertoire, cello choir, sight-reading, playing faster, musicality, chamber music, practice techniques, time management, audition preparation, and learning how to become my own teacher after I graduated from Texas State School of Music. I also learned very much from all the beautiful concerts she performed along with the faculty from the School of Music.
Last, but not least, Dr. Hamelin is one of the very few professors I know that has the ability to teach a wide range of ages with successful results. I learned a very big amount of pedagogy from watching her lessons with students from 3 years old to students on the graduate program. I am truly thankful that I had the opportunity to study with Dr. Hamelin, she is a phenomenal cellist, teacher and human being.”
Belinsol Martínez Muñoz, M.M
“I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Karla Hamelin when she began her work at Texas State University in 2011. Her role at the time was to be the cello professor for the students at Texas State and master teacher for the Texas State String Project. However, like every great teacher, she played a role much greater than her titles imply. She is an integral part of the school of music as she not only teaches cello, but she also inspires all students who are lucky enough to cross her path.
Students under Dr. Hamelin’s instruction are educated at the highest quality and walk away from her studio with the skills necessary to perform, teach, and collaborate in their respective musical careers. She not only provides for the students a fine technical foundation, but she makes each student feel seen and heard. She has an amazing ability to meet students where they are and provide for each individual a tangible education. Her generous and positive spirit is infectious and she continually puts the needs of others ahead of herself. Dr. Hamelin as a teacher is, in a word, selfless.
However, Dr. Hamelin is not only a great teacher. She is also a fabulous player with an active performing schedule. It is important for a teacher to not only describe technical ideas and practices, but also be able to demonstrate them. Dr. Hamelin effortlessly demonstrates a beautiful, rich tone, which only enhances her artistic playing. The combination of her high caliber teaching and playing has both retained students at Texas State and recruited new talent.
The cello studio at Texas State has grown exponentially in the last nine years, which is a living testament to her success as a teacher.
I was privileged to be among the fortunate students who have blossomed under Dr. Hamelin’s care and I am honored now to be her colleague."
Dr. Ruben Balboa
“Studying cello with Dr. Hamelin was a highlight of my college experience. Her enthusiastic teaching style was what drew me to Texas State in the first place. Every lesson felt personal and carefully geared toward growth and success. She radiates positive energy that creates a uniquely nurturing learning environment. In addition to what I learned as her student, I feel that she prepared me to continue learning and growing as a cellist beyond college.
Dr. Hamelin not only made me a better cellist but also a better teacher. I was lucky enough to observe her teach in several different capacities and it was never anything short of inspiring. She was a fantastic mentor to me as I developed my teaching skills and began to grow a private studio of my own. I reference her methods and techniques in my teaching daily. Her guidance was an invaluable resource throughout my college career. As a teacher, I strive to teach with the same passion and skill that I learned from Dr. Hamelin. I am incredibly grateful to have been her student.”
Anna Trevino, Bachelor of Music Education
“Dr. Karla Hamelin is an exceptional cellist and a phenomenal teacher. I studied cello under her at Texas State University for five years and I would not be the cellist I am today if it wasn’t for her. She is very disciplined in her instruction and makes sure her students are proficient in the fundamentals of technique and musicianship.
When I began my studies at Texas State University, I was not at a level of cello playing that was sufficient to be a music major. She saw how much I wanted to study cello and had me take a year learning under one of her graduate students before I auditioned for the School of Music. Once I was finally admitted to the School of Music, I began my lessons with Dr. Hamelin.
Even though I got into the School of Music, I was still far from where I needed to be. My first year was structured with lots of technique and fundamentals that I was missing since I didn’t have a proper instructor when I began to play the cello. My lessons were thoroughly structured and I always knew what was expected of me every time I went into a lesson. We began with scales and scale exercises, followed by the etude I was to have studied for the week, sometimes a technique exercise, and then into the repertoire I was working on that semester. I have also learned a lot from watching her teach other students. I have observed her teach students of all kinds. From five-year olds to adults and from beginner to professional, Dr. Hamelin has a skill of adapting to her students’ needs and has a game plan to tackle any obstacles her students face in their learning.
After five years of having been her student, I had learned and grown so much as a musician. A lot of what I learned from her, I take into my own teaching with my students. Because of how well she prepared me during my time at Texas State University, I have become confident in my performances, I am now a member of a semi-professional orchestra, I now have a small private lesson studio of my own, and I feel very confident preparing to pursue a Master’s degree in music."
“Texas State’s School of Music was one of my favorite parts of college!
As a transfer student from a university with a huge music school, l loved the change of atmosphere at Texas State’s School of Music. Here, I was more than a number. The instructors knew my name and were interested in my life, not just in how well I played my repertoire. The school was big enough to meet new people, but small enough that when I would walk in the lobby there was always a familiar face.
I had the privilege of taking private lessons with the same cello professor, Dr. Hamelin, for my entire time at Texas State, which is an experience so unique to the School of Music. Very few teachers have the same students year after year, and I loved knowing that after summer breaks Dr. Hamelin and I would pick up right where we left off.
Dr. Hamelin was the main reason I transferred to Texas State. From the first time I met her she was welcoming and kind, encouraging and full of energy. She always pushed me to excel in cello and supported me even with non-cello related interests. I have not for one second regretted transferring to Texas State because I grew so much musically and made friendships that I know will last for a lifetime.
My time as a student in Texas State’s School of Music was incredible and I would recommend Texas State to any aspiring musician looking for a great education in music.”
Terri Boutte, B. Mus. Performance
"I began my freshman year of college at Texas State University with plans to enter the medical field. I did not want to completely stop playing the cello, so I reached out to Dr. Hamelin and asked to take private lessons. Without hesitation, she accepted me into her cello studio, introduced me to other cellists in the studio, and I began taking private lessons. After each lesson, I walked out feeling confident, motivated and honored to be
learning from the best.
Dr. Hamelin’s approach to teaching is so effective, unique, and truly one of a kind.There was never a moment where I felt that I would not be successful in a lesson because I knew she would always find a way. By the time that I reached my Senior recital, I was playing repertoire at a skill level that I never imagined myself attaining. Thanks to Dr. Hamelin, I was able to and was successful at it. Her love and passion for music education is contagious and inspiring. It was not long after I began private lessons with Dr. Hamelin that I decided to pursue a major in Music Education. She directed me throughout the process and I am grateful every day for her guidance. I cannot help but reflect on all of the amazing support, knowledge, memories, and wisdom that Dr. Hamelin shared with me. I am now a Texas State School of Music Alumni starting my career as an orchestra director. I am excited to take what I have learned from her and apply it in my own teaching. I would not be where I am today if it was not for her. Dr. Hamelin is a selfless, kind, unique, empowering individual and it was a privilege to be her student."
Izayah Gomez, B.M. Music Studies
“Karla is a very dedicated performer and teacher and very active professionally, reading articles on teaching and performing, attending concerts and planning instructional strategies related to her responsibilities as a private cello teacher and performer. In my 37 years of teaching, I can honestly say that Karla’s skills, as a young professional is exceptional in comparison to others with whom I have worked. I have no doubt Karla will be a leader in the field of string education."
Dr. Laurie Scott, professor of Music and Human Learning, The University of Texas at Austin
“Her tireless work as a musician has been an inspiration to me, and I imagine to many others, particularly the many students fortunate enough to study with her. This talent for teaching others – such a critical talent in the arts – is a natural one for Karla, and the music community is lucky to benefit from her dedication."
Dr. Adam Glaser, Conductor, Juilliard School of Music, New York
“The members of Hope Chapel community in Austin, as well as all the artists who count themselves a part of this larger fellowship have been very grateful to have had a chance to hear – to experience Karla’s beautiful performances.”
David Taylor, Arts Pastor and scholar, Austin, Texas