Strings and Hard Things

Last night I was talking to my friend who has just taken up the cello.  She’s slightly north of 60 years old and she’s never played any instrument before at all.  I talked to her about the difficult nature of fretless stringed instruments –  there’s just so much that goes into playing the things.  I suppose that folks who play wind instruments would argue that the holes/buttons/valves  they use for notes might make being in tune easier, but maybe they’d say folks playing with bows don’t have to worry about breathing evenly.  Of course we can then say that bowing is the breath of bowed instruments; not only do we still have to breathe properly, we have to breath with a foreign object, using our arms to make our breath cycles even, versus using the air compressor that came naturally to us at birth!

My Friend is a little frustrated, but not defeated.  She’s probably going to repeat the beginner lesson sequence she’s been in, though she’s only about halfway through.  I have thought about adding a group orchestra class into my lesson mix – I think my brother-in-law is correct, obviously, when he says that playing with others will help me improve in myriad ways.  I love my private lesson and strongly believe that’s the best way for me to progress overall, but adding a once a week group could be fun.  The Old Town School of Folk Music is an institution here in Chicago that provides such lessons.  Perhaps when I’ve graduated from Book Two I’ll ask Teacher what she thinks about me joining such a class.  I know she herself takes tin whistle lessons at the place.

Thanks for reading.


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