Playing any musical instrument is a skill, an art and a pleasure all in itself. However, this is easier said than done. Learning play any instrument, be it percussion, strings or bass, requires not only a great deal of practice, but also patience and a dedication to understand as to what really goes behind making music from it. One such experience that I can narrate which easily explains the following is when I decided to learn a Cello, over 6 years ago. Today, I am still trying to do justice to the ‘basics’ of the cello.
Now the cello is amongst the most difficult instruments to learn to play, and for someone who has never played an instrument before, it may seem like an odd choice. However, I have always felt that it is amongst the most graceful and gorgeous of music instruments, but all of that comes at a price. A cello does not have any frets, and learning it comes with mastering a lot of technique, majority of which is not only awkward, but also not self-evident at all. However, for me, cello was an attraction, for I had always thought that it was the closest I could get to thinking.
Before I learned to play the cello, I had already gathered quite a bit of idea about how to read music, and thus, suffice it to say, was in a way ahead of the learning curve. Learning the cello consist largely of developing an ear for it, learning how to not just read but also count the rhythms and so on. However, that is not enough, and I learned this the hard way. If you have not played a bowed string instrument, then getting through the cello will take quite a lot of time.
Learning to play the cello is not a feat that can be accomplished on your own, which is why I had to get an instructor- not just to get around the notes, but also to learn how to hold the bow, apply the right pressure and speed. I spent a lot of time trying to hit the first note, without getting out of tune, amplitude change and scratching.
To this date, I have no clue as to how I learnt to hit the right note. It comes across as a combination of repetition coupled together with muscle memory- it takes over a few thousand repetitions in order to get to and hit the right note. Six years down the line, I am still an ardent fan and learner of the cello- one of the best parts of my life!