Welcome to my life as an adult beginning cellist. I’ve been playing cello officially for three weeks. I own a Cecelio beginner cello, now named Cecelia. More on how we met later.
“Happy Birthday” was my choice – from a couple of weeks I spent combing the internet for instruction before I was in a stable enough mode to start regular lessons. It still amazes me how much you can learn from You Tube. However, internet videos can’t provide feedback, tips or correction. That’s what a real teacher is for. Enter Kaia Chessen and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”
Kaia teaches in- for those of you who were not tipped off by the song title – the Suzuki Method, a style that’s become nearly ubiquitous for beginning student instruction. Makes sense, after all the style has revolutionized the way children all over the world have learned to play musical instruments. Broken down into digestible bits, the complex task of learning to read and play music becomes almost simple.
Turns out there are endless variations of TTLS for a reason. Playing the cello well requires coordination, dexterity and that delicate combination of strength and grace that can only be learned with lots of practice. Lots. And. Lots.
I’ve flirted with instruments all my life: from the piccalo in elementary school, to the e-bass but I’ve always known I would be a cellist. Now here I am: 30 years old and picking up the cello for the first time. What I’ve discovered so far that unlike the bass there are very few if any “cheats” for the cello, no frets to tell me where to find notes or tabs to teach myself songs.
With Cecelia between my knees and clutching my bow I feel clumsy, awkward and content all at once. I am both humbled and excited to begin this journey a true novice. I intend this blog to be a record of my first year learning to play the cello for two reasons:
- Purely selfish: I want to be able to track my progress in all it’s glory.
- To share: Maybe there are others out there interested in tracking the journey of a beginning musician. Or perhaps others wonder if it’s ever too late to learn (quick answer: no!) and want some first hand reporting from the late bloomer music acquisition department. Welcome!
In the next few days I’ll (hopefully) be posting some recordings of myself playing a couple of variations of TTLS. Beyond proving I have a sense of humor (and am unafraid of a little public embarrassment) I think even more telling to mark my progress than my thoughts on learning will be actual clips of my playing as it improves (again, hopefully).
For now, a brief credit for the gorgeous image of the bridge used in my header. This image is used under a creative commons licence and belongs entirely to Andrew Sutherland who, in addition to being a luthier, is also an incredible photographer.