Friday, September 22, 2006

Learning the Cello

Patti asked in the comments about my cello playing. So I thought I'd make it into a blog post, instead of answering in the comments.

I started playing cello two years ago this October. I have played piano since I was five. However, piano is a solitary instrument, generally, apart from accompanying, and I've always been fascinated by string instruments. The Bible college president at the time I was at Bible College was a cello player and I've always thought it was a beautiful instrument. So it was on my "things I'd like to do before I die" list.

Three years ago, my oldest daughter started the violin. A year after that, my youngest child was three and a half and for some reason, I don't recall all the reasons, it seemed like a good time to start learning the cello. I really wanted something to work on to challenge myself. I had also found out through my daughter's experience that we could rent string instruments from a string shop in the city, which made learning a new instrument possible. $36 a month is a lot more accessible than $1200 upfront. Part of the motivation was also that my daughter & I could make music together.

So I started making some phone calls. After a couple of "interesting" phone calls with potential teachers, I found my current teacher. She's an experienced Suzuki teacher. She hadn't done a lot of work with adults but she was willing to take me on, even with once a month lessons. As we've gotten farther into the process, I've realized what a good teacher she is and how providential it was that I was able to find her.

This year, we've made the switch to biweekly lessons in the city for my daughter and that has given me the opportunity to go biweekly with my lessons too. Although I was learning and progressing over the past two years, it felt to me like I could be progressing faster and further if I had more regular lessons. Sometimes it would be six weeks between lessons, just depending on the circumstances. So I'm looking forward to being there every two weeks and to moving ahead with it.

Eventually, I'd like to play more for church or have other performance opportunities. My daughter & I play together sometimes but we'd like to do more. I'd really like to find some relatively easy piano trios (violin, cello & piano) that we could do with a pianist but they seem to be hard to find.

We have two younger daughters and so the girls have it all mapped out - the next one will learn violin and the 3rd one viola and in just a matter of time, we'll have a string quartet. Considering that the violin teacher we found this year also plays viola, we're actually somewhat hopeful that this could take place!

We're off to the city - I may add later reasons why I think it's good for adults to learn new musical instruments.


Jacqueline said...

I love the idea of a string quartet! I wish we had access to a violin teacher for Sarah. She's always wanted to learn violin.

Patti said...

Oh, neat, Juanita. I've wanted to do something similar, but I'm holding off until I have one more child out the door (this is my fourth's last year of hsing). My son Sam has a natural ability with instruments and made wonderful progress in cello in the 15 months that he took lessons before leaving for college in Oregon. I found out something funny this year in that Sam's cello teacher, who also is the homeschool orchestra leader, actually studied cello from Dave Spotts's father! Isn't that amazing? Sam hasn't found a teacher in Oregon yet, but Gracie has been playing violin for about 15 months now and her teacher also gives viola lessons. I'm planning on taking up the viola....although I love the sound of the cello.

Anyway your family music sounds wonderful!

Patti said...

If you do find trio music for cello,violin, and piano, let me know. Since my daughter Abbie plays piano, I've wanted to find some music for the three of them to play. My daughter-in-law says that clarinet/piano music works for cello/piano.

Kim said...

I love string instruments. I am still considering a violin for my 12 year old.