Five years ago, I took up the cello. I had stared at daughter Claire's instrument in the Old Living Room for quite some time. She had graduated from high school and college, had moved to Virginia, had gotten married, and yet, her cello was still occupying real estate in our tiny Old Living Room. (I should explain that our Old Living Room is the size of a tiny 1887 parlor, which it is; our New Living Room was added in the New Millennium; the size of which encourages ballroom dancing.)
Something, sometime, must have niggled my brain, because I finally called the local music store that caters to high school and university needs. I enrolled in cello lessons, and for the next four years, I schlepped that cello up a flight of stairs once a week, each week, in snow and rain and summer heat. I practiced notes, scales, bowing, fingerings, and more. I loved playing the cello. I still do! But sometime in the summer of the fourth year of lessons, I became disenchanted with driving 25 miles, in the triple digits, schlepping the cello, sitting outside the practice rooms with other students who were maybe 45 years younger than I was... at some point, I opted out of any more lessons.
I still play the cello. I have not made any progress beyond where I was at my last few lessons.
Tonight that Spouse o' Mine and I went to hear my hero, Yo Yo Ma, play HIS cello. Such a grand evening. As I told that Spouse o' Mine (who did not react negatively), I did not spare any expense for the tickets to this performance: I intended to study this man's performance up close and personally: 3rd Row seats.
Omigoodness. There is something to be said for starting one's cello lessons in childhood and not in one's fiftieth decade. Yo Yo Ma displays an absolute grace for cello music. I stared at how he held his bow: as my instructor has described to me a multitude of times: relaxed, as if dangling one's fingertips. His bowing technique: I cannot even describe. No rock stop attached to his chair? The angle of his cello (which, by the way, is 300 years old). How is it that he can smile and glide through the music? When I play a piece, my heels hike nervously up the chair legs (a no-no, according to my former instructor), my knees seem to grip the instrument for no rational reason ( a no-no, according to my former instructor), I nervously forget to swallow and then choke on the saliva pooling in my throat (SERIOUSLY: I AM NOT A NERVOUS PERSON!) There's never a comment about this from my instructor - I think she is too amazed.
And back to Yo Yo Ma: He performs for about an hour and a half, using no music - all by memory.
What does this say to me?
Perhaps I should hop back on the cello parade wagon and head further down the road just a wee bit more.