Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Earlier this year, N. began taking cello lessons from a friend of ours. Given N.'s love of playing and writing music, Tim had been encouraging him to take up another instrument in addition to piano. Why cello? N. didn't want to play a wind or brass instrument, so Tim suggested cello because we already had my cello and N. liked it. It turned out he isn't quite big enough for a full-sized cello, so we had to rent a 3/4-sized cello, but this means I can use mine to practice with him, which is quite fun. On the day pictured here, April 1, N. suggested we practice outside in the gorgeous spring twilight, so we sat on our front walk and serenaded the tulips and cherry blossoms. It was lovely!
If N. was to take up a second instrument, it needed to remain a low-pressure and low time-commitment project. N. currently practices two hours a day on piano, sings in a chorus that rehearses two hours a week, and takes a weekly music theory lesson which has its attendant homework (plus weekly ballet class). Enough! He has to have free time too! We explained our goals to the cello teacher, and she understood. N. practices cello a minimum of 10 minutes a day, after supper (while he practices piano mid-day when he is at peak energy). Sometimes he ends up playing longer as he gets interested in playing around on the instrument.
I started cello lessons in 6th grade at age 11, so just a year older than N. is now. I've enjoyed comparing N.'s initial experience of the instrument with my own. Piano and music theory have given him such a thorough understanding of the structure of music that he picked up right away how the cello is organized -- how the strings, positions, and intervals relate to each other. At first he was frustrated with how hard it is to make a clean sound on a string instrument, but he's persisted and I think appreciates his slowly developing skill.