I’m generally not a big fan of “aids” when it comes to learning something new. By aids, I mean artificial devices meant to either:
- Accelerate the learning process
- Prevent the building of bad habits
- Increase the fun quotient.
For me, the process of learning is the adventure. It’s not always fun, or easy, but the reward is worth it. I kind of think the best way to prevent building bad habits are a combination of diligent self awareness and a good instructor. And as far as acceleration goes, we all learn at our own pace for a reason.
I’m mildly skeptical when things like the “Cellophant” cross my radar. At the risk of tainting my summary with my own biases, lemme just say briefly that the Cellophant is a cutely named grip designed to help students get the proper bow hold.
Now that I’ve revealed the inner Spartan driving my skill acquisition process, I realize some of you (parents) may be wondering what planet I come from or if I ever lighten up. (That would be Mars, and actually, this is me, pretty light) Come to think of it, I actually enjoy the Galamian scales, so you might have a point. I’m acutely aware that I might not be your average cello student. After all, I’ve waited over half my life to play the cello, and there’s very little that would keep me from the strings now that I am the proud owner of a cello.
Sometimes, and in some instances, I’m sure these things serve a purpose. I have no idea what it would be like having a cello handed to me as a kid. While I was really impressed with the performance of the youngins at our recital last Sunday, I’m totally aware that behind their 45 seconds of music is often daily cajoling by one or more parents trying to get practice time out of the little tykes. Maybe in that case, any little gadget that gets a kid to pick up the bow is worth its weight in gold.
I’d like to put it to you – students, teachers, parents, and interested parties –what are your thoughts on devices like this? When do you think these tools are appropriate? Tool or gimmick? Have you (or your students) tried it and have raves? Rants? Think I’m nuts? Are there others out there that are really worth the $29.95 (or whatever)?