Home goals brain building (piano & cello style)

brain building (piano & cello style)

by Shawni

I’ve always wanted to learn to play the cello.

I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty sure the old movie Electric Dreams had something do do with it (I know, weird, but I think there was a beautiful cello player who inspired me). Ha! Isn’t it so interesting what kinds of things plant seeds in your head sometimes?

Ok, but it wasn’t only was it an 80s movie that won me over to the beauty of the cello. That instrument can play the most incredibly deep, melodic music. If you haven’t listened to much cello, go listen to this and just try not to fall in love with that beauty:

Did you cry? Oh my goodness it is so beautiful.

Anyway, lately I have been working on my own bit of “brain building” since I’ve been studying it in my little online class (back HERE). I figure even if my brain isn’t as “plastic” any more, I still need to be working it in ways that stretch and move me.

So I made a New Year’s Resolution to learn to play Moonlight Sonata on the piano. And my little deal with myself was that as soon as I learned that, brushing up on my music skills, I’d let myself experiment with the cello.

Now, I have taken years of piano lessons.

Years.

And I still can’t sight read to save my soul. No natural talent, dang it. This was a big undertaking.

I have practiced and practiced and practiced that song! I’ve had my kids and also the neighbor kids sit in audience so I’ll have some performing action. I’ve practiced little measures I’ve had trouble with over so many times my fingers should really know them by heart by now.

It’s still not perfect, but I decided I had worked hard enough that it was time to borrow my friend’s cello and get myself going.

And just about that time, a large envelope came in the mail from my dear mother.

This is what it said on the back flap:

And there, inside that envelope was the Suzuki cello book my sister must have used growing up, worn and ready for a new user.

Doesn’t it just feel so good to have someone believe in you?

(Love you, Mom!)

So when she was in town for my brother’s school party (last post), we pulled out my friend’s cello and that old Suzuki book and got to work:

Along with the piano, I played violin for a few years so I know a little bit about the string business. Sure, my violin skills are scratchy and sub-par, but I’ve got to believe they are going to help me.

And guys, after a little lesson with my mom (who majored in music and knows how to play just about anything), I can now play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on the cello.

I know that sounds silly to be so excited about, (especially since it’s scratchy as all get-out), but I am. It makes my arms ache and my fingers sore, but I’m so excited to keep practicing.

…to keep building those synapses as I work on this new skill.

We’ll see where it takes me!

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19 comments

Marcy May 25, 2021 - 6:14 am

I am so excited for you and your new accomplishments!

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:04 pm

Thank you Marcy!
xoxo

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Heidi May 25, 2021 - 7:01 am

This is so awesome!!! Way to go!!!
I keep thinking I want to learn the piano but I’m ‘ too old’ at 46.. maybe I should do

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:04 pm

No way, you’re a spring chicken! You can do it!

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Molly May 25, 2021 - 11:08 am

Love this!!!!!!!!!!

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Sarah May 25, 2021 - 12:55 pm

The cello has always been my favorite! So far, I haven’t talked any of my kids into playing it so maybe I’ll learn it myself!

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:05 pm

That’s how I felt! Max was in orchestra with the cello for two years in elementary school but that is all I could muster up among my kids to play. So I decided I better take it on 🙂

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Irene May 25, 2021 - 1:21 pm

It’s not silly, it’s wonderful! We should all try more things, especially the ones that can nurture such beautiful feelings in us 🙂

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:05 pm

I so agree! There is so much to learn in life!

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Jessica Nelson May 25, 2021 - 4:51 pm

🥰 the cello speaks to my soul!
I played for years and years (4-12th grade) annnnd then I went to college and thought I was too cool. 🤦‍♀️ I picked it up again last year, and man alive – I’d forgotten how soothing it was to play! (I’m scratchy and I’m sure my family didn’t love it as much as I did, but it feels so good to play!)

So excited for you to keep falling in love with it!

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:06 pm

I’m so glad you’re playing again!

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Emily May 25, 2021 - 5:08 pm

This is so awesome, good for you! My youngest is headed to kinder in the fall and as a gift to myself for surviving all those years of putting myself on the back burner and focusing on my little people, I bought a violin and plan on taking lessons starting in September. I’m a good pianist and played lots of woodwinds in school bands, etc., but I know nothing about strings and I’m so so excited to learn! I love seeing adults trying and learning new things!

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:08 pm

Isn’t it so true that as adults we don’t think we can have the corner on learning anything new? But we can! Good for you for getting a violin! I’d love to hear how the progress goes!

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Juli Robinson May 26, 2021 - 9:49 am

You are doing just what I did! I was a pianist/marginal violist who learned the cello as an adult. I took lessons when my youngest went to kindergarten 9 years ago, and I play with a quartet now. It brings me so much joy. Who knew how beautiful a cello sounds from the position of playing it. The resonance is awesome. One thing you’ve probably already realized is that the cello bow hold is very different from the violin. You will save yourself some grief by getting a teacher to help you do it right so you don’t start any bad habits. My teacher had to put a rubber band around my pinkie so I wouldn’t splay my fingers like a violinist. Oh, and get the red Bach for cello book. It is simple but the pieces sound so beautiful with accompaniment!

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:07 pm

Oh this helps so much! I do need to actually take lessons because my bow hold is definitely off! And thank you for the suggestion to get the Bach book, I’ll look into that right now!

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Donna D Clegg May 26, 2021 - 6:29 pm

Kudos! I started viola at 50 after a 32 year hiatus from playing anything. Formerly a band geek, I now play in a community symphony and several chamber music ensembles. You can do it!

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Shawni May 28, 2021 - 4:09 pm

Oh that is so motivating to me! Thank you for sharing!
xoxo

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Jilly May 28, 2021 - 9:51 pm

In case you haven’t seen this yet, enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPv4ohPTC4M

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Mom June 22, 2021 - 4:44 pm

I absolutely love your new passion for the cello! I just came back to this fabulous video by Yo Yo Ma so I can show it at the Alegra Conference tomorrow to rekindle the passion there! Thanks also for reminding me of The Power of One! Your passion is inspiring!

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