About - 1
Lifelong Teacher and Professional Cellist
Carolyn Hagler
Founder of Cello Discovery.
Elem School
The cello has been a part of my life since I was in elementary school.
About -Yo Yo
One of my most treasured professional moments was when I met Yo Yo Ma. I sat right next to him and played on his extraordinary Stradivarius cello.
About - GMS
I spent many years teaching in the public schools. I taught hundreds of students how to hold their instruments & advanced them into state-wide award winning ensembles.
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Carolyn Hagler is the director & primary instructor for Cello Discovery. She is a tenured member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and holds Master of Music degree in performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a K-12 teaching certificate in the state of TX.

While attending UT Austin, Carolyn was awarded a position as an instructor in the world-renowned teacher training program, The UT String Project. It was at the UTSP where Carolyn honed her skills as a string teacher under the guidance of the legendary pedagogue, Phyllis Young. Carolyn spent many years teaching in the public schools, and her orchestras consistently won top honors in contests and festivals throughout the state. Carolyn is dedicated to the principle that anyone can learn. If pedagogy is presented in small, systematic steps, learning a stringed instrument is absolutely achievable at any age.

Carolyn has performed all over the globe and garnered international acclaim with her "soulful stirrings" as a cellist - both in the US and abroad. She has performed on many recordings and movie soundtracks as well as on stage with Harry Connick Jr, Steve Wariner, Andrea Bocelli, Smokey Robinson, Kat Edmonson, Itzthak Perlman, Joshua Bell and a host of others. One of Carolyn's performance ensembles was featured on NPR and on National Radio Spain. Carolyn was also one of the earliest members of the New World Symphony in Miami FL - (America’s Orchestral Academy, preparing highly-gifted graduates of distinguished music programs for leadership roles in orchestras and ensembles around the world).

Connecting people through music is Carolyn's true calling and teaching students the magic of music is the ultimate goal of Cello Discovery - at any age or stage of life.

Teaching Philosophy

Hi there. I am Carolyn Hagler, and I’m the principal instructor for Cello Discovery. I’d love for you to read a little more about the road I’ve travelled and to understand my thoughts on teaching.

I believe one of the concepts which defines a good teacher is the amount of time they spend reflecting on teaching. What worked? What didn’t work? How can I do that better the next time? I’ve seen a LOT in my 30-plus years of teaching but I still reflect on how I can give the best instruction so that a student can be successful. I spent many years in the public school classroom teaching as many as 30-45 orchestra students at one time – BY myself – and I HAD to learn how to do it right. I had to take the time to foresee what might go wrong and avert the set-up and tone disasters which were inevitable without a good system in place from the start. Fortunately, through my years of reflection, I maintained highly successful orchestra programs with all orchestras consistently winning top honors in contests and festivals throughout the state. I’ve got all this knowledge in my pocket so that I can – now – help YOU learn how to play.

Music has opened doors to experiences I never dreamed were possible and it has brought many cherished people into my life. I cannot imagine a life without music. This is one of the main reasons I decided to develop a website for adult beginning cello students. I REALLY believe you can become a cellist later in life. It’s absolutely achievable and I want to share with you my lifetime of experiences teaching and performing so that you too can share the joy of the cello in YOUR life.

So here’s a little bit more about me:

I began my studies on the cello as a fourth grader in my neighborhood public school in Northern CA. We had orchestra class only once a week but it was what I looked forward to the most in school. My parents set me up with private lessons when I got to the 5th grade.

Fast forward many years when I attended undergraduate school in the San Francisco Bay Area –  Dominican University of San Rafael. It was there that I had the opportunity to work with some of the nation’s most distinguished and talented musicians and teachers. I learned and performed music ranging from the early Medieval era through the most avant-garde 20th century literature. I even had the opportunity to make a couple Medieval instruments.

My graduate work was spent in one of the nation’s premier teacher-training programs under the guidance of the legendary Phyllis Young. This is where my love and understanding of string pedagogy flourished – at the University of Texas String Project.

I have spent over 30 years as a professional cellist and educator. Thousands of hours have been logged in practice rooms and performance halls. I’ve taught all levels from pre-K through the University level as well as many eager adult learners. I am what is referred to as a trained, classical musician but I’ve performed with many varied ensembles along the way including jazz, rock, singer-songwriter and world music…just to name a few. I’ve toured internationally, recorded soundtracks for movies, performed on albums of world renowned musicians, and taken the stage with some of the most talented people I have ever met. I was one of the earliest members of the New World Symphony in Miami FL – (America’s Orchestral Academy, preparing highly-gifted graduates of distinguished music programs for leadership roles in orchestras and ensembles around the world). I’ve also been a tenured cellist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra for 20-plus years. Every different genre of music teaches me something new about music and helps me understand the “big picture” of what music really is.

I currently live in Austin, TX, otherwise known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and it is in this city where I’ve performed in some of my most favorite musical collaborations. In my spare time I volunteer in the public schools mentoring new string teachers on curriculum, teaching strategies and classroom management. I also volunteer with the Austin Youth Orchestra as board president.

I still spend my summers on the NW coast taking in the ocean breeze, visiting with my extended family & contemplating life… but for now I call TX home.  It’s where I live with my husband, our dog Annie & our three grown sons.

So as you can see, my life has been about playing and teaching the cello and I am very excited to share my knowledge with you. I look forward to guiding you while you learn the cello. I also look forward to helping you discover the very special world of music.

(And if you haven’t yet become a member, check out our current Membership Options to get started. I’ll see you soon!)


"Cello Discovery is great because it allows me to take my time and progress through the lessons on my schedule, and re-watch them as often as I need to. Since joining, I’ve discovered that I was weak on some of the fundamentals that my previous instructor skipped. I think Cello Discovery is not only a great course to learn cello but would also be a fantastic and affordable supplement to anyone taking professional lessons."

- Michael Hardy, Cello Discovery member

"Carolyn is an amazing teacher. I was on my way to big, bad habits. But after joining this community, Carolyn’s feedback has been incredibly eye opening. I knew I was developing bad habits but I wasn't really sure what they were. Scouring the Internet for answers was confusing and frustrating. You are safe on this site and in such good hands with Carolyn!"

- Sarah Bondi, Cello Discovery member

"Cello Discovery is organized meticulously to walk someone through everything from the very first step. Honestly, one of the earlier tutorials about how to take the cello out of the bag effectively was way more supportive than I ever would have imagined: I'd never have even thought to ask for that! And the lessons progress from there through every detail and into playing in a way that is clear, digestable, and easy to follow. It is truly an incredible accomplishment."

- Maitreya Wolf, Cello Discovery Member

"I have developed a vibrato thanks to your videos...the warmth of the vibrato is just fabulous. Your left hand videos (and personalized help) and vibrato videos, along with the note reading, were just what I wanted and couldn't find anywhere else."

- Dianne H., Cello Discovery member

"Hi Carolyn - I am very happy with how (my progress is) going. I love that I can go at my own pace, and while the progress is slow it doesn't feel like high pressure. Cello Discovery is very well done!"

- Andrea Fredrickson, Cello Discovery member

"Hi Carolyn, I just wanted to take a minute out from my practice to tell you how much I am enjoying the “Interactive Music”.

- Sandra Richardson, Cello Discovery member

"Carolyn Hagler is not only a wonderful cellist and teacher, but also a great person. As a cellist and teacher she always strives for excellence while masterfully weaving motivation and fun into every lesson. Her middle school orchestra students always arrived at my program at the high school with a clear understanding of good tone and clear intonation. They were all well setup and produced a beautiful and full tone. When I would go visit her at the middle school, I always enjoyed watching her teach. She always demonstrated a wonderful combination of focus and high standards, in an environment where empathy & understanding were king. As a person, Carolyn is a caring individual with a very fun personality. I highly recommend her as a cello teacher."

— Giovanna Cruz, Former Bowie High School Orchestra Director.

"Ms. Hagler, We've felt so blessed to have you in our lives these last two years. You are amazing! From the moment you took time from a crazy day to help Sean fall in love with the cello, you've done nothing but instill love and excitement for music."

- Cory & Cynthia M., Parents of a former student

"Carolyn Hagler is a stellar teacher! She provides rigorous instruction in a fun atmosphere that makes her students fall in love with music! Moreover, Carolyn makes kids believe in themselves and their abilities. She positively impacts students as individuals in addition to making them excellent musicians. Having Carolyn as a teacher is a life changing experience for (beginning) musicians."

- Vickie Bauerle, Retired Gorzycki MS Principal

"Dear Carolyn, What a precious give you have given Paige this year - the gift of music. I will always be grateful for that. Thank you for all you do."

- Stacy B., Parent or a former student

"Dear Mrs. Hagler, You have been a very motivating and inspiring music teacher for Tariq. He has really enjoyed taking your class and his willingness to continue orchestra comes from your patience and dedication. I really feel he is very fortunate to have such an inspiring music teacher like you. Thank you for all you have taught him."

- Cynthia K., Parent of a former student


$20/month Introductory Special Price - Limited Time Only!

We're celebrating the launch of Cello Discovery with a special introductory price of $20/month for as long as you're a member with us!