Sunday, March 01, 2009
At open house in 7th grade, my general music teacher suggested to my parents that I ought to play some sort of instrument the next year in 8th grade band. They reluctantly agreed to rent a clarinet for a year but did not want to include any sort of lessons - I would have to pick up whatever I could through band class. I was excited, but wary. Band class was useful for learning the basics, but there was never much individual attention. The only external motivation to learn was so I could move up from 10th chair clarinet. My parents never pushed me to practice nor encouraged me in any way. At the end of the school-year I got as far as 7th chair; and I dropped out and returned the clarinet to the rental shop. I did learn a lot about the fundamentals of music theory and did learn to read treble clef.
Fast forward to this past Friday.
Cellocracy was invited to give a presentation at a local elementary school. We were asked to briefly describe how we make music using strings and then play a 20-minute set. To keep it informal, they set us up in the library and asked us to play two sets - one for the lower grades and a second for the uppers. In all, we played for about 150 students.
It went well (I surprised myself with some of my minor mistakes - but I did finally play Ash Grove flawlessly, both times). It was fun. The kids were so appreciative and so well-behaved. Several of them came up and thanked us afterward.
Is there any chance we inspired at least one of those eager kids to go home and talk to their parents about the cello?
It's very cool to be part of the long chain of musicians through time.
It is too bad your parents were not more supportive. On the other hand, I had lots of exposure to music when I was little, including supportive schools and parents, and piano, and flute lessons, but it still took me until I was well into adulthood to find the cello.
Who knows, maybe their parents forced them to practice when they were children, and consequently they bent over backwards to avoid applying any pressure whatsoever?
I did nothing to encourage my two older sons, and they never became involved in music. On the other hand, I did actively encourage [prod] my youngest son to try something, leading him to take up the guitar, which he studies avidly.
I just started to learn to play the cello about a month ago; I am 47 years old. I have no other musical background at all, although I've wanted to play the cello since I was ten years old (my parents were not in favor, however) so this is a new adventure.
I just wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying your blog. Thank you.
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