I want to learn to play the Cello

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Yes I know, rather random but those who know me, will know I often do and say random things. In this case, Sally has inspired me! Having been invited to her house for a rather lovely meal last Friday, I was so excited to see her very own Cello. I thought it was so cool that she played the Cello!  And her story of learning it as an adult beginner made me think about it myself! I have always wished I played the Cello. What a wonderful instrument, what a gorgeous tone, so elegant, so graceful. Well when played by a good cellist. I’m sure my neighbours are not going to be as into my new hobby as I am.

Now I’m not new to stringed instruments … I played both the Violin and Viola when I was at school. Sadly however much I loved playing them, it stopped soon after I left for University. I remember heading to the String orchestra there and being pretty daunted. This was very different to my youth orchestra. Everybody here practiced throughout the breaks whilst I was definitely more inclined to pop out for a drink or an actual break. Everybody here played music fluently and beautifully and could read the pieces without difficulty. This ease had never been mine. If I had practiced more, I’m sure I could have been a pretty good string player. I’m sure I would have been able to sight read with more ease and do all the tricky bits better than I ever did. I did practice lots, at one point, inspired by a music summer camp. I practiced every day for hours, determined to be better. Unfortunately this spurt was shortly lived and about a year later I was back to my teenage lack of practice. My most embarrassing moment at the University Orchestra and which totally ended any effort on my part in going there, was when my phone rang during the practice. Now it would have been okay had it been a quiet beep or even a simple tune. Nope, what was my ringtone? Only the loudest possible rendition of Lulu ‘You make me wanna shout!’. When it rang I cringed deeply as the ‘Weeeeeellllllllllllll … ‘ resonated loudly around the room. Even more so when the conductor who had been stopped us playing to go over some frilly part, looked very put out as the whole room got louder with the song. Obviously the phone considerately got louder and louder to tell me I hadn’t answered it yet.. She asked that the person should turn their phone off. The phone rang for forever and ever. I tried to pretend it wasn’t mine. The ringtone would end eventually. Everybody was looking at everybody. Whose was that phone? It stopped after what seemed like an eternity. Only to start ringing again seconds later. Oh the embarrassment of having to get up to find my bag on the other side of the room to turn it off. Total silence. Well that was the last time I went there.

Still I enjoyed playing music a lot. Even if I didn’t totally appreciate it at the time. I was so involved at school with music and outside in my youth orchestra. I met some great people and I played some beautiful music. Now, having not seriously played an instrument for a long time, I am inspired to play the instrument I always loved. I simply can’t wait to start learning lessons and playing music again. Music; playing it, making it, appreciating it is a joy. I can’t wait to begin learning again and I know I’ll be a hundred times better than when I was a child learner. Just to give you a little perspective, I was that irritating brat you’d hate to teach … who despite not listening to you would instantly answer correctly the very questions you shot at them which were designed to catch them out. My physics teacher, with whom I did not see eye-to-eye  with – wrote in one of my school reports ‘The whole class would benefit if Kielly stopped talking so much.’ I know I’m a better learner now and as an adult living in BSD, I can’t wait to be able to dedicate time to playing and learning the cello. There isn’t that much to do in BSD and for a while I’ve thought I needed a real hobby, here in BSD to fill my time. This is it! This is what I’m going to do. Sally, I hope you’re ready for some cool playing sessions together!

Bit of an issue getting a Cello either IN Indonesia or IN TO Indonesia. I’ve seen how they load baggage on a plane and I’m a little worried if I get a Cello online it would arrive unplayable. To compound the quandry, I can’t have lessons in Indonesia without a Cello. Yes that’s right. I have to HAVE (IE. BUY) a CELLO in order to have lessons. I don’t remember this at school with the Violin. (Well I wasn’t paying the bills) Surely you can try out an instrument for a while without buying? And a Cello would be like top of my list to NOT have to buy to learn it. Now choosing your first instrument wouldn’t be a problem normally if you were knew anything about the instrument you wanted to buy … as in you’ve had lessons, even just one or two. It would also be useful if you hadn’t chosen some ridiculously large and expensive instrument to play. Not a flute, no. Not even a guitar. A Cello. Yes you’re choosing to play the cello. At least my heart isn’t set on the Double Bass.It would be useful if you hadn’t chosen an instrument which is so EXPENSIVE. Google the price of Cellos. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Hmm. It would be useful even more, if you could try it out in the shop, even if you knew nothing about cellos to see how it felt, sounded and looked in real life and not in some rubbishy internet pictures. I would love to find a cello here in Indonesia so I could at least try it out, however ridiculously totally unknowledgeable I would be …  but I’m not hopeful.

I actually found a music centre which SELLS Cellos in BSD. Yes, stop the press, you did just hear me right, IN BSD, Jakarta. Yes that’s right, the city to the far west of Jakarta which if, this is where you live … when you want to find something, you’re probably going to have to travel for hours in traffic to get into Jakarta. When I started googling Cello Lessons in Jakarta, I emailed about 5/6 companies who said they had cello teachers and could offer lessons. I finally started receiving replies the other day. One of the first was a music centre which not only offered me a teacher/ lessons but also the chance to be able to buy a Cello with them which seemed promising given my situation that I need a Cello to BEGIN lessons here in Indonesia. Not only that … but they were in BSD. If I’d been eating or holding something, I’m sure I would have dropped it in some comedic shock effect. I genuinely could not believe there was a music centre here in BSD that stocked and sold Cellos.

I went there this afternoon and it was okay. I’m not convinced. A lovely music centre. A lovely man ‘Jap’ who talked to me about the 3 types of Cellos he had at his centre, all handmade from a guy in Shanghai. He insisted that although the cellos were not branded, they were worth the $3000 upwards price tag. And not available for hire. The cellos were all the same make … ‘just with better wood’ he said. Hmmm, this sounds like a sales pitch. ‘So have you got any other cellos for sale? Any made by a different maker?’  ‘No, these are our own that this guy makes for us.’. I genuinely cannot justify spending three thousand on an instrument I don’t even know how to play or know yet that I really really want to invest in. I’d rather get a cheaper model. Not so cheap almost nobody could make sound playable, but a nice student outfit. Which I’ve found online at a music shop in Manchester. They can ship it to my sister in Newcastle who is visiting me in March. Very exciting. I could ask her to bring the cello. I did actually, and she exclaimed loudly ‘What? Bring a Cello to Indonesia with me!?’  She will I know because she’s awesome and I’m hoping she’ll read this : ) Anyway its’ probably going to be thrown about a bit on the plane. Sods law, it will be; because I’ve bought an instrument I love and have spent quite a lot of money on. It’s fact that that beautiful thing you’ve just paid lots of money for … will be much more likely than any other piece of baggage on that flight to fall off as they’re loading it, or bounce off the irritatingly slow luggage conveyor belts and bang loudly off the floor. Sigh.

What a quandry. I’ll update when I know what I’m doing. Either way, I’m learning Cello soon … and I’m excited 😀

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One response »

  1. I have always loved the Cello. But alas, I will spend the rest of my life with the guitar. Though I realized I am 37 years old and have never held a Cello. That needs to change soon. Thanks for inspiring me with your thoughts and words and actions.

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