Saturday, August 6, 2016

Plucking a “C”- The Story of a Cellist

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By: Emma B. 

The story of a musician discovering who she is a complex one, but if you’ll indulge me I’d like to tell you mine. 


     If there is such a thing as a truest passion for a hobby, I think mine comes out best when experiencing music. The sounds and vibrations always seem to fill up my ears and fill me with such emotion and power. I have a feeling most people feel this way when they hear a piece of music for the first time. However, one type of music always stuck out like a sore thumb to me: music that is sad and sorrowful. These pieces, for some reason I’ve yet to understand, always fill me with such determination. I used to think playing it was out of the question, then I discovered the cello. 
     When I was in the 2nd grade I went to my first concert and fell in love with the sound of the violin. I started taking lessons, practiced it for a year and hated every living, breathing second of it. I knew I would have to practice, but I wasn’t being challenged by the music and so I stopped practicing. Eventually, the violin and I parted ways. A few years passed and at the beginning of middle school I was given the option of taking Orchestra Class. I’m not going to lie, the concept of trying to learn an instrument again seemed rather impossible and boring. Originally I was going to be in chorus but then the more I looked into Orchestra Class, the more interested I became. I will admit, it wasn’t for the best reasoning in the world. I heard that once I got to high school, orchestra students went to Europe and Disney World. That last one in particular is what really got me excited. Knowing that I had been to Disney World but my sister had not, I thought this was the best shot for me and my sister to ever go to the Disney Parks together. So, at the time reluctantly, I signed up for Orchestra. Next, I had to pick an instrument and I still had a bit of grudge against the violin and by extension, its cousin the viola. To make matters worse the one instrument that appealed to me, the bass, was bigger than my dad’s car which made things difficult. So finally, I decided on the cello by default. I had no idea the joy I was getting myself into. 
      The first day of 6th grade rolled around and my greatest fears were confirmed. At first orchestra classes were horribly slow and boring. Everything went at rock speed, or extremely slowly, as I desperately wanted to just hear myself play an instrument. In those early days the thought of me and my sister going to Disney World together is what pushed me forward through those slow first days. However, when my bow hit the strings for the first time things became clearer to me. Despite the overwhelming difficulty of learning a simple D major scale, I became thrilled at the thought of beating every challenge. Music wasn’t too horribly difficult back then and with my strange amount of interest in this subject I paid attention a lot more in school. Even though my interest grew much more I still didn’t obsess over it. I kept telling myself writing was where I truly belonged, music was just a hobby for school. 
     After about five months of practice and a few school concerts, I was very proud of myself. The songs were so basic and simple but whenever I played them for my mom and my dad I felt like I was in my own little world. It felt like something very strange and exciting was just placed into my brain and from that, a fire began to deeply burn. However, my passion for Cello didn’t really take off until the Spring Concert when I played a lot harder songs. According to my teachers, I was playing songs that most 7th graders struggled with and that made me feel more empowered to do very well. After the concert, I got in the car and my dad told me something that changed the course of my musical career forever, 
     “You proved me wrong.”
      When I asked him to explain himself he told me how he had doubted me. He said he thought this was going to be violin all over again and yet there I was, even then one of the finest cellists in that orchestra. That made me smile to say the least and I really wasn’t expecting it. 
     The last week of 6th Grade, I remembered on my way out of class to grab an honor’s orchestra audition form. I realized that I needed to be able to read all of the notes to get in, so clearly I needed a teacher. This is when I met an amazing cellist known as Mrs. Meghan Maguire. Mrs. Maguire very quickly took me in, analyzed my skill set and gave me everything she had to teach me how to properly play the cello. I worked as hard as I could that summer to make sure my audition sounded fantastic. It was a bit rusty when I auditioned but things turned out for the best. So many cellists auditioned for the part that they started a separate Honors Cello Group with me and a few others. I practiced the music I was given from my honors group, one of those pieces was a minuet. At the time a concert was coming and I thought that a minuet would be perfect, there was just one problem I didn’t like the song. Worse yet was the fact that my cello broke a day before the concert. The end pin (the piece that raises the cello) had fallen out of place and I wasn’t able to practice. This led to a “meh” performance and I felt humiliated. My parents said they were proud because I kept playing but I still saw the event as a failure and I became fearful of recitals. Despite my failure, I was also determined to do better. 
     After the Christmas holiday, the school made a decision to stop honors cello. This led to me having more time to practice pieces I was actually interested in. Not only that but I got two new song books for Christmas which made me ridiculously happy. I looked through the song books and immediately noticed some of my favorite songs of all time were in the books. Once Upon a Dream, Waltz of the Flowers, & The Blue Danube were all pieces in those song books. I was thrilled and got to learning them right away. After that I discovered a song known as Bourree from Lute Suite BMV 996 or just The Lute Suite in E minor. At first I wasn’t thrilled about it but over time the piece grew on me. Meanwhile, I continued to take part in orchestra while in-between classes I translated pieces I loved in ways that could be played on the cello. I even became a translator among my friends, at least musically. 
     I decided to try again at the recital thing with the Lute Suite because I fell in love with the song. A few weeks before the recital, my sister got really sick. I was trying to make her feel better and she asked me to play her favorite song, Zelda’s Lullaby on my iPhone. As fate would have it, our internet crashed and so I couldn’t play the song. I remembered that I was in the process of translating the song and my sister asked me to play it for her on my Cello. I played the song and she fell fast asleep in her bed. I sat there that night thinking of the talent I had accumulated in the last year. It was shocking that such a simple hobby was suddenly something I was now taking so seriously. I had really grown and it was so good to the point where my sister was asking me to play for her.  The recital also went really well and my sister loved that too. That concert in particular made me feel so proud simply because I did it and it was done well. 
     As I am writing this article, I am currently working on my favorite piece of classical music Fur Elise which I personally think is one of the best. I can’t wait to see what opportunities 8th grade Orchestra will bring me as a cellist. I can safely say that the cello is my second passion and one I don’t think could ever leave me. Even though I still love writing, recently writing and playing my cello have reached a bit of a tie, in regards to my passion for them. I guess we will see where my passions will take me. 

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