Friday, August 28, 2009

I say hello

I've decided to take up the cello.  It's not as completely random as it sounds, as you'll read below, but it is inspired by something completely unrelated to music.  I really haven't had my brain to myself since my boyfriend and I broke up in January. I think about him constantly, and when I'm not thinking about him I fixate on other men. I needed something new in my life. I decided that, rather than go on moping, I would spend that energy doing something productive, hopefully something beautiful.

When I was in third grade, I was given the choice of learning the violin, the viola, or the cello. After a year or two of private piano lessons, the idea of music as a group activity was different and exciting. I chose the violin because it seemed the most manageable, and listed viola as my second choice. When the woodwind and brass instruments were offered in fourth grade, I stuck to my guns and my violin. We were once again given a choice in fifth grade, and this time I listed violin as my first choice but cello as my second. My orchestra teacher, Mrs. Ramsden, noticed this change and asked me point blank if I wanted to switch to the cello. A little part of me did, but it was still a very big instrument and it seemed impractical. Even as a child I was considering storage, schlepping, etc. I once again stuck with the violin.

Once I stopped growing, my parents bought me a violin (rather than continuing to rent) and my fate was sealed. I stopped thinking about the cello.

I don't know what got me thinking about it lately, but when the opportunity to join an LGBT orchestra came along, I found my chance to take up the cello. I didn't want to go back to playing the violin. I was never very good at it, and it's just such an awkward instrument to play. You have to hold it in place with your chin and your shoulder. Your left hand holds the neck of the instrument, but it's there to press the strings, not to hold it up. A cello is anchored to the floor. It just seems like a more comfortable performance situation.

I also decided I would buy the instrument, rather than rent it. The idea came to me gradually, and I started my search lazily, posting a call to my Facebook friends and browsing Craigslist fruitlessly. As the search picked up, I was directed to a fellow band person who manages a Sam Ash in Midtown. I also found a cellist friend of a friend to look at cellos with me and offer his opinion on them. Once I started really looking, things happened fast. I found a cello I liked last Thursday at Sam Ash, Mathew (the cellist friend) gave it his seal of approval on Monday, and I bought it right then and there. I asked them to hold it for me because I was meeting friends as a bar, and I left the store. I'd gotten about a block away when I decided to turn around, get the cello, and bring it home.

I'm excited to be starting something new, but I'm also concerned. I've never been a good student, especially of music. As a young pianist I was prone to fits while practicing, when I actually bothered to practice. Even as a college student I was irresponsible. I'm hoping things will be different with the cello, as it was entirely my idea to take it up and I'm very motivated to do well at it.

1 comment:

  1. If this doesn't sound like a statement of purpose, nothing does!
    I see you've given your blog a Beatles-related name. It's an appropriate reference, because the song it comes from is loaded with cello!
    Congratulations on your new blog and that resonant instrument you're studying.