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I am taking a break from my cello playing for an hour or so. As I sit here resting my arms and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, I was thinking about how much more I am enjoying playing my cello, and why. I believe it has to do with my cello instructor. In spite of the fact that I am old enough to be ... Let me rephrase that. He is young enough to be my grandson, I am learning a lot from him. Geesh, any way you look at it, it says I am old 😂. It will be a year of lessons with him in February. I had no dreams of playing, or attempting to play, Bache, Rachmaninoff, etc. I had no dreams of playing any sheet music that had so many black notes on it. I had no dreams of playing anything beyond first position.
This is making my cello playing so much more enjoyable. With getting more accustomed to holding my cello bow, I am now able to play my violin more without it confusing me and causing me issues when I switch back to holding a cello bow.
Then my thoughts went to why do I connect with this instructor and am able to learn so much. The key to this successful match up is that my instructor is flexible with his teaching format. He changed his method to suit my needs, or learning style. I need time to work on a piece. I have had teachers who had a way of teaching and that method was used for all and and all ages. That is not the case with my instructor. He has goals set for me and helps me work towards those goals. I actually think the reversal of goal achievement works best for me because I have no idea what to expect or direction to go with my cello. Most people set their goals. My instructor has goals for me. I know there is a cello piece he wants me to play, and knows I will be able to play, that we are working our way to, and all these pieces are working me towards that goal.
All the pieces we are working on are introducing me to different areas on my fingerboard. They are introducing me to my cello, bass, tenor and treble clefs and switching between them in one piece, timing, dynamics, proper bowing, etc. I do get messed up sometimes switching between bass, tenor and treble clefs; confused would be a better description. But, the idea is, I am reaching a goal he has that is helping me progress. Not knowing what to expect or how to progress systematically, my setting the goals for myself as we move along makes no sense. I don’t see the path or the destination.
I just thought maybe this would help some when finding an instructor. This quality in an instructor is of value with violin, viola or cello. It is of value with anything, but I am referring to this forum.
Cello, Violin, and Viola Time!
The right teacher is so important. Mine knew I had kids to raise, dishes to wash, and a job to go to. Sometimes practice consisted of picking up and attempting one line of music. Also, once I got a song into my head, she would help me go for it. I was working on a piece once for a few weeks and went in and said, I want to learn the Yellow Rose of Texas. She said, Oh great, I have the music for that. And that week, we learned the Yellow Rose of Texas. The following week I was able to show her much more progress on the previously worked on song. I needed that flexibility. Something like the Suzuki method would have been the death of me.
Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.