I started taking lessons in 2003 from a lovely woman in her 70’s who had played with several symphonies which more than qualified her to teach me.   She wouldn’t allow tapes on my cello and didn’t let me out of first position.   I did play through many Suzuki books, one piece per week, for which I received stickers on the page and “very good” remarks.   When I had to play a B flat or F sharp, her advice was to “STRETCH”.  I never heard the words “extended” or “open” position (more on that came with my next teacher).   I would practice the pieces for 30 minutes per day and each week, after the sticker, we would move on to the next piece.  Schroeder and Dotzauer books were added and I dutifully played each piece as best I could.  (We skipped the hard ones.  She’d write “come back” at the top of the page.)  I don’t remember any discussion of technique, bow, or tone.   It wasn’t long before Kummer was introduced.    I was playing lots of notes, still sounding awful.  I was getting discouraged, not understanding why I didn’t sound “like a cellist”.   (After all, I thought this process would take six months at best!)    More and more music.  After only 2 years I was playing Goltermann Concerto #4.  (Do not ask me how!)  So after years of playing alone in my room, sounding terrible, and going to lessons where my teacher told me “very good” and continued to give me stickers,   I realized something was missing.    Playing alone in a room with no improvement was starting to be depressing.   It was then that my teacher told me about an amateur string orchestra that didn’t require auditions (perish that thought!) and accepted all.     I didn’t hesitate and joined up.

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