Many many years ago I was listening to an NPR show where Itzak Perlman was the guest speaker. He is an amazing, awesome, lovable violinist, and was speaking to the Washington Press Club. At the end of the program there was a Q & A. One question posed to Perlman was something like, ‘I’m 40 years old and I’ve always wanted to learn to play the violin. What do you recommend?’ Perlman’s answer was “Get a piano”. This was probably 15 or 20 years before the thought of a cello was even a spark of a thought in my mind. But that comment has stayed with me throughout the years. It’s possible that Perlman was saying that playing a violin (or any stringed instrument) is laborious, time consuming, and frustrating. Much easier to press down on a key and get a sound. (Although pianists would take exception to this as well.) Maybe Perlman only thought of performance in a major symphony orchestra or teaching on the college level as the end result of studying a string instrument. What I’ve learned throughout this endeavor is that the process of learning to play the cello has been exactly as Perlman intimated: Laborious, time consuming and extremely frustrating. I probably owe my teacher a case of Kleenex for all the tissues I’ve used up while crying tears of frustration during my lessons. But it’s also been the most joyous times of my life. You can play in a community orchestra. You can teach beginning cello students. You can go to string camps. There is nothing that compares to playing duets/trios with newly made cello friends. There is nothing that brings a smile to my face faster than sharing cello experiences with cello friends that have been on the same journey for many years. So yes, this is, as I say repeatedly, this is complicated. This is not easy. This is a mountain that never ends. And this is the journey of a lifetime. I’m so glad I came.
P.S. Dear Itzak, a cello may be big, but it’s a helluva lot easier to tote than a piano! Hugs.