For every thing there is a season

There are some times – blissful, joyous, delightful times – when playing the cello is a relaxing respite from the rest of my world. Times when even challenges are exciting opportunity for growth and learning about life, myself and this beautiful instrument I’m lucky enough to have come into my life.
Photo by Warner Kunz @Flickr

And then there are other times when I’m not wearing my Disney colored glasses and the cello becomes just one more thing piled on the heap of other things that needs to be checked off the list. Whatever piece I’m working on feels particularly ridiculous (May Song) or especially challenging (Minuet 2) and making it through a WHOLE hour of practice seems like an insurmountable obstacle.

Dramatic much?

Well the last couple of weeks have been sorta like that. I’m not even sure where it came from – I’m still in love with my cello (in spite of the fact that he’s now calling himself Raúl – long story) and I’m excited to finally be finishing Suzuki one after two long years.

I’ll blame it on the weather – cause why not? – which has been by turns glorious and depressing. On the glorious days the idea of forgoing a lovely evening reading by the lake seems ungrateful. On the depressing days, sitting in front of the windows playing and watching rain makes me feel like an early bedtime is in order.

The new job has been great – but way more demanding than I thought it would be – I’d forgotten what it was like to be a full-timer (not just a hired gun) and I’m finding my time and mental space occupied with work way more often than not.

Also, the novel is demanding more attention than ever now. It’s a good sign, because for a while there I was just staring at my screen for much of the hour I allot to editing a night. Now I seem to be on a roll. I have a lot of clarity and a regular dose of “ah-ha” moments during the day over characters and plot points that have been sticky. I’ve been running way over allotted editing time and into sleep time, TBF time and of course cello time.

I have luxury problems (good weather, a working novel, a cello, a demanding full time job)…but they’re mine.

Instead of going crazy about the situation I’ve just accepted that there is a season for everything this season just may not be the best for cello in my life. After all, if there is no right and wrong; no “should do” only “do” the only thing left is to make peace with the way things are and proceed, trusting that this is exactly the way my life should be unfolding at the moment and live it.

I’ve decided to take a break from my regular lessons, for a couple of reasons. 1. I’ll be starting teacher training in the fall which will eat up all of my weekends for the next two and a half months. 2. I’m exhausted driving back and forth from the Eastside to Seattle for lessons once a week (it’s the only day I wind up in traffic for over an hour after work) and it’s not suiting me well. 3. I think I have enough material to work on in what little cello time I’ll have over the next couple of months. The goal is to just maintain – and not worry about making too much progress into new territory.

Don’t worry, I know enough to know I don’t know nearly enough to be on my own for very long but this will give me some breathing space to figure out what works best for me when I do when it comes to lessons and where I want to go next.

And now that I don’t feel so guilty about my lack of cello news, I won’t stay away for so long. Plus, with a few new topics, this blog just might get way more interesting to the peeps who stumble along for other reasons than the four strings and a bow.


About Eddie

Watch what happens when you give a writer a cello.
This entry was posted in Life and other such oddities, Practice, What I've Learned and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to For every thing there is a season

  1. Yee says:

    It seems like what you are going through is normal. It’s just life…. It helps to not think about the slower pace that you are learning versus the fact that you are still progressing or maintaining.

    Due to circumstances, there have been stretches where I wouldn’t have a lesson for a month or so. I would just spend that time playing what I’ve learned. It helps to review old pieces; and of course, it is much easier to play pieces you’ve already learned. I would concentrate on my tone, or rhythm, articulation, etc. – things I wouldn’t have time to work on before. I’d experiment with my bow hold and possible modifications to my left hand technique. You’d be surprised how much you can work on without moving on to new pieces. In the end, you will still improve… It also feels good to no longer have to keep the pace set by your teacher. I see those stretches as nice breaks whenever they happen.

  2. Totally agree with Yee. Sounds like a good next step for you, one that is not totally loose, but forgiving enough to relax into growth. I like that.

    Congrats on the new lease on your writing!

  3. Pingback: On what I’ve been up to while not behind the cello… | Strings Attached

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