Saturday, February 11, 2006
My "Giant Violin"
This afternoon I picked up my cello again (after already playing for two hours this morning) for another hour. Instead of working from my lesson/exercise books or memorized pieces, I relaxed and just started bowing - then several old tunes from my childhood started coming out. All it took was to "hear" the first few measures in my "mind's ear" and the rest of the song just tumbled out. I took only a few run-throughs to figure out the fingering, and a few more for fine-tuning the bowing and rhythm. These aren't particularly hard pieces - "Battle Hymn of the Republic", "Shenandoah", "Home on the Range", "Amazing Grace", etc. But what was interesting was how quickly my hands and fingers knew exactly what to play without having to read it from a score; and then how quickly it all came together into a smooth run-through.
Most of these tunes are simple melodies in the more basic keys. This is the music I heard as a child and sang in elementary school, and what my mother used to sing and play on the piano. My father was also a capable pianist, but for whatever reason he seldom played. For many years my mother sang in a community choir (Sweet Adelines) and a Barbershop Quartet. She always sang loud and clear in church every Sunday.
This has me so jazzed! I've always been able to recognize music (popular music, mostly) after hearing just a few bars, and then "know" it as it plays out on the radio. I'm really psyched that it appears that I'm going to be able to play a lot of that music that has been floating around in my memories. This really has me motivated to keep on working.
My next lesson is Monday. My teacher is going to Anchorage this week and will stop at the luthier to try out his Eastman 405, which he's selling with case and bow for $3.5 K. My spending limit has drifted up somewhat from there. This brings in a lot more instruments beyond the Eastmans - even one or two European cellos. I'm eventually going to have to narrow it down to two or three models and just pick one and live with it.
I've been having doubts that I should spend so much money for something I might end up setting aside at some point. But today's playing reminds me in a very strong way why I have to learn the cello.
Links to this post: