John Belk is an award-winning cellist currently teaching and performing in the Houston area. He believes that musicianship and teaching are best with a generalist approach focused on conceptual understanding rather than with a hyper-specialized approach focused on small detail, and as such he holds both a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from Rice University and Bachelor’s Degrees in Cello Performance and Computer Science from Bard College.
John has performed in venues across the United States and Europe as both a soloist and chamber musician, and has been a fellowship recipient at many renowned music festivals. Recent concert highlights include a performance of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet with David Shifrin, a recital in Peter Serkin’s Haydn Project series playing with Peter Serkin and Todd Philips, and a solo performance of the Walton Cello Concerto with Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now.
As a teacher, John believes that the art of practicing is both the most important and the most universally applicable part of music. Good practicing teaches you how to find and analyze problems, how to break them down to find solutions, and how to fit your short term work into a larger vision. Because music is an art and not a science, it also teaches you how to go beyond all of that and find enjoyment and meaning in what you create. The vast majority of any musician’s time is spent alone with their instrument, and John believes a teacher’s primary job is not to guide the student during the lesson, but to show them how to find their own path forward outside of the lesson.