January 17, 2020
Eleven years ago I create a website to track my experiences in learning to play the violoncello. For a time I actively updated that and enjoyed sharing my efforts. Over time I stopped updating the site, and it has lain fallow for several years now.
Last spring I purchased a mandolin and I have been teaching myself how to play it by ear. And I have started learning to play piano. Each of the musical experiences helps to reinforce the others. I have also done some mental adjustments in my attitude toward practicing and being a dedicated musician.
I had allowed the frustrations of not being able to progress as fast as I wanted or not being able to play the way I though I should to interfere with the enjoyment of playing. You don’t do things you don’t like. After a couple of disastrous cello lessons in November I reached out to my wife, who is also a musician and a piano teacher with decades of experience, saying I didn’t want music to be drudgery; that I wanted it to be enjoyable and to make progress.
Since then I haven’t missed a day of practice (except for a work related trip), and I am averaging at least 40 minutes per day of practice. Even better those minutes are spent on dedicated, focus, goal oriented practice. Passage work, metronome work, intonation work. My understanding of the tools I have and how to use them has increased (I no longer dread using the metronome) and the music I am making now is far better than it has been for a while.
Playing mandolin by ear has helped. It’s a completely different approach to learning that I am pursuing with the cello. I experiment and play around far more on the mandolin than I ever have on the cello. There is something bright and bouncy and fun about the sounds a mandolin makes.
I’m also slowly learning to play the piano. This also approaches learning music from a different direction than the one I’m using for cello.
I am still in my heart a cellist. I just happen to also play a little mandolin and piano too. Hence this new site. It contains all the old cello site postings, and the few mandolin postings I had made on another subdomain. Going forward I’ll be putting all my music related experiences here.