Daily Archives: November 21, 2008


I’ve just written, translated, and sent off the regretful decline of the reconstruction quote for the Mystery Cello. I’ve been putting it off because I haven’t wanted to formally call an end (albeit temporary) to the dream. But it’s been a month (not that I intended to let it languish that long in my inbox, dear god, where did November go? scratch that, where did 2008 go?) and it’s irresponsible to let the affair drag on any longer.

So I wrote a thank you and and an explanation of why we had to wait, and reinitialized my search for a 7/8. I should put my 4/4 up for sale as well to free up more money, but I’m enjoying the sound it makes in my lessons and I’m clingy when it comes to things like big resonant instruments that have been my companion for fifteen years. My teacher has assured me that if it sells before I’ve found a new one I can use the cello she still has from before she bought the beautiful one she uses now, which is lovely and mind-boggling but somehow I doubt I’ll be caught without one. I see the same celli up for sale online all the time. I also have no idea what to ask price-wise for the one I’ve got. I’ll talk to the luthier when I’m next in. I just wish I didn’t feel like I’d killed something heartlessly.

Anyway, I am consoling myself with, and actually beginning to revive my interest in, trying 7/8s again. In the meantime my teacher has somehow suckered me into playing a solo at the Christmas recital in three weeks. I suspect I agreed because she proposed it so nicely (in the “possessing, marked by, or demanding great or excessive precision and delicacy” definition) and didn’t make me feel like I was being railroaded into it. What I wanted to ask, but didn’t because I am shy and despite the fact I’ve played with her for seven years I’ve only been her student for a month, was who else was soloing and what were they playing. Because I’m doing a Bach minuet, and part of me is relieved because I played these things thirteen years ago, and another part is mildly squirmy because they’re in the Suzuki level 2 book, for heaven’s sake. I was playing sonatas before I stopped lessons before. Mind you I’ve lost a hell of a lot of decent sound production and technique since then, so these are reacquainting me with the basics, but still. Not that the people in the senior’s residence will care. They will be too busy being charmed by the six year old playing Suzuki book 1 pieces on her tiny cello .

Speaking of the six year old, my teacher told me yesterday that her next-door neighbour has a four year old who is obsessed with music and wants lessons. Generally the idea about children and lessons is not to bother until they can read (something about their ability to organize the info they take in, and I suspect so as not to utterly crush the joy they have in spontaneous music) but she knows that Sparky is also excited about the idea of music lessons, so he can play the cello like Mama does. So she has proposed that the two boys come to the group lesson on Sunday to see what it’s like. Our group lesson is divided into two halves, the younger students for the first hour, then a short social thing, and then the adults have an hour of group lesson. The boys would observe the younger group lesson, and if they are still as excited about things she’d think about maybe having a special series for them to learn about rhythm and other pre-formal lesson skills. She mentioned that the McGill Conservatory has a Very Little Musicians program that might do as well.

I told Liam about this Very Special Invitation last night and he was very excited. His first question was, of course, “What’s the little boy’s name?” “I didn’t ask,” I said. “I forgot that it would be important to you. I’ll ask when I see my teacher tomorrow at dress rehearsal.” So he went around for the rest of the evening telling his father and the cats that he and ‘the little boy’ would be watching a cello lesson. We’ll have to talk about proper etiquette and such tomorrow, both for the concert and the lesson the next day. The tentative plan for Sunday is to explain why he needs a slightly early nap and for HRH and I to bring him to the young group lesson, after which the boys can take off to the Thomas layout bookstore while I have my adult group lesson. If he’s unbearable after having attended the concert Saturday night we can call it off, and there’s always the option of HRH whisking him away from the lesson if he can’t sit quietly.

I looked at the calendar yesterday and realised that there was a Wednesday rehearsal, my lesson on Thursday, a dress rehearsal tonight, the concert on Saturday, and the group lesson on Sunday. Good grief. I’m also mildly freaked out about the amount of work that has to happen between now and Wednesday, because I’m teaching a real-live university class on Monday morning (subject: Neo-paganism, and I have an eight-page lecture outline and the dreadful feeling that I’m going to demonstrate an Epic Fail by somehow being unprepared… I always feel like there’s no good way to make the info flow logically) and have a coffee/lunch date on Tuesday and an assignment due for the evaluations Wednesday which is only about 30K words but revolves around examples drawn from Biblical stories and quotations so I’m going to be flipping through a Bible as I do it, which will slow things down.

Back to the cello stuff. I’m liking the sound that I’m (sometimes) producing in my lessons. It’s a bit of a juggling act because I have to remember things about my bow hand, my right elbow, my shoulders, the left wrist and elbow that we’ve been working on, and then all the usual technical music stuff too. But there was a point in yesterday’s lesson where I sounded good, and where I could hear and feel the vibration of the bow across the string in all the right ways. It feels sometimes like I’m not grasping very basic things, but things are improving in general at orchestra thanks to the new awareness I have of my body and how it moves, so there’s hope.