Tag Archives: cello

Oh Em Gee. Can I play this?

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This is my latest cello piece to practice and it’s so hard! There are so many shifts on the fingerboard which need to be effortless given the speed this piece is supposed to be played at. Cello’s don’t have fretboards. If you get it wrong, you get it way wrong. This piece is not only ridiculously fast but there are some funny, syncopated rhythms that keep catching me out. I’ve been working in this piece for about just over a week now and I’m just about starting to get somewhere with this. And by that, I mean I can play all of the notes in tune (most of the time). Not that I have mastered any musicality or control in this piece.

If I’m feeling brave, I’ll post a video of me trying to play this piece (gulp!)  It’s really great to be able to take videos of my practice. I took a video right after my very first lesson on the cello and it’s going to be so interesting to be able to look back at these videos in the future and see how I progressed over time 😀

Learning the cello as an adult.

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I love playing my cello. I can’t believe it took me 26 years to decide to pick up the cello. I love making music. I love that I can now play cello, albeit of a beginner standard. I can’t wait to improve and progress in the pieces I am playing. And I know to be able to do that, I need to practice. Every day!

As a teenager I played Violin and Viola and I don’t ever recall feeling so excited about practicing my instruments. I liked playing them but I saw practice as a chore, often. I was quite good at the time but I couldn’t play them now!

As an adult playing cello, my practice IS my playing. At the age of 27, I am never going to be a soloist in an orchestra. I’m probably not going to perform for people. When I play, I play for me. The practice, the playing is soothing. It’s happy and fufilling. I like to practice new pieces. I like to play older pieces and hear how my playing has improved and how even pieces I had previously found tricky are getting easier. I enjoy working on phrases or bars that I find tricky. I accept that my practice might sound scratchy or out of tunes at times, but over time it will improve. I have already noticed a much richer, deeper sound to the tone of my cello when I play it which I attribute to me having more confidence and strength in my bowing/ playing. When I have lessons, I really take on board the advice given and I go home determined to work on the areas of improvement such as left hand position or bow hold. As a child, I enjoyed lessons but I don’t recall ever giving them such importance. As an adult, my lessons form a vital part of my week and I look forward to them. They help guide me on my journey in learning the cello. I play scales and don’t hate them! Instead I understand their function in key signatures and how they will affect a piece of music.

When I played the violin and viola as a child, I really did enjoy making music, but except for one specific period of about a year where I practiced every day, I didn’t play with such motivation. I played in string orchestras, a quartet and a ceilidh band. But I didn’t LOVE playing the Violin or Viola. I enjoyed it but it was just one of the many things I did alongside my other hobbies such as Karate, drama and other sports.

I have always loved the cello as an instrument and I’m so happy I decided to take the plunge and buy one in Singapore. I was really inspired by Sally, a colleague at the school I was working in in Indonesia. She had begun playing the cello as an adult. It made me remember how much I had always wanted to play the cello. So I’m over the moon that now I can and that my pro active choice had brought such enjoyment and pleasure into my adult life. That singular choice to start learning the cello as an adult has been an excellent choice. I’ve only been playing 6 months and I can play relatively well for having been learning for 6 months.

I wish I’d done it earlier.  There are so many instruments I’d love to play; the saxophone, the oboe and the harp spring to mind. I finally realised that it didn’t matter how slow my progress was on an instrument as an adult, it was the actual choice of choosing to do it and to make the investment in an instrument and lessons, and to make the investment in my time to practice. Imagine how good I’ll be in another 6 months? In another years time? I already see such a difference in my playing.

Have you ever wished you could play an instrument? If you could choose an instrument to play now as an adult, what would you choose? Has anybody else enjoyed learning an instrument as an adult and how have you found it difficult to your experiences as a child if you played an instrument when you were younger?

Here is a video of me practicing my cello from the other night. It’s not perfect but I’m so happy with my improvement!

On another note, check out these cool cello videos …
Like start wars? Check out this excellent spoof video …

These guys from Apocalyptica know how to rock out on the cellos … love this.

Finally a wonderful, wonderful video of an amazing double bassist, Renaud Garcia-Fons.  I found this whilst browsing the web. I’ve never heard anybody make a double bass sound like this. Superb. I can’t embed it here but this is the link and I really recommend watching this guy.

http://www.npr.org/event/music/160103516/renaud-garcia-fons-tiny-desk-concert#