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Thursday, September 22, 2005

♥ my cello

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because wood for the cello needs to be dried and treated before it is mature, he hasn't been with me for the first 3 years of his life. my baby's german. from the black forest, and he has been christened gotzon. that's my 5 year-old baby. still pretty temperamental; he was grouchy today just like me. the gray skies usually ideal for melancholy strains failed to cast its spell.

as a child plonked unwillingly before the piano, i was resentful and stubborn. i tore up scores (usually the technical studies of czerny - he drove me up the wall!) and theory papers (i ended up in tears, usually). reprimanded, i yielded to as many as 2 weekly music lessons. those served their purpose in breaking me in. as an adolescent, i learnt to find solace in music. an incessant pounding on the keys from the pieces - whatever the fodder for that week, gave me a sense of reprieve from those supposedly angsty teenage years.

it wasn't so much that i was a recluse - i hung out with the cool people (or at least we thought our clique was waaaayy cool back then), but i never found it odd that i actually liked practicing. on my trusty ol' piano (who remains nameless). it gave me something to do, something to look forward to at home, and something to think about while i was out. in a strange way, music became my significant Other. this definitely bodes well for a commitment-phobic. a stranger who remains inanimate without me, and has the uncanny ability to morph into a heady rush of emotions, sweat and tears. it was an outlet. and a dependable one with little aftereffects.

in junior college, when dating and checking others out was deemed the thing to indulge in, music remained my sole trustworthy companion. instead of subjecting myself to heartbreak (and yes, there were several in those tumultuous years), i hid behind the curtain of solace to be found in music. it was a mantra i'd inadvertently chant to keep myself invulnerable. i told others that i was committed... to my piano. it made me feel... less likely to fall, or to fail. pretty soon, that became my outlook: that it is always better to deliberate on a distance, and then maintain it. did it not make me stronger?

and that is why, i have very recently realised, how seemingly impossible it has been for musicians to feel entirely for someone else, given that they are already wholly consumed by music in their own minds. even more so classical musicians. it makes me wonder if there's an error in the typecast - if so, i whoeheartedly wish it were not the case.

after a 17-month hiatus in cello lessons, my fingers have been itching and raring to go. again. to their detriment, for, within a fortnight, callouses and blisters have formed. and i am, in a sadistic way, happy about this.


Blogger s said...

i'm deeply envious. i've always wished i could play a string instrument, and the cello is at the top of my list.

reading your post made me think about my relationship with music. i don't know if people who play music find it impossible to feel as completely for another person as they do for their instrument/music, but i've just realized (with some surprise) that my instrument of choice had been the only one i'd ever opened myself to - fearlessly, wholeheartedly - and not feel ashamed or embarrassed or vulnerable. (well, vulnerable only if someone'd watched me as i played.)

it's a thought-provoking post and i thank you for it.

September 23, 2005 9:22 am  
Blogger Alphabet Moppet said...

I have always wanted to learn the piano since young but my mother deemed that i am too flighty and capricious and she did not want to waste money on me.

Until this point in time, i remain musically uninclined and i could only sit back, listen and feel other people's rhythms, having none of my own :)

September 23, 2005 9:59 pm  
Blogger barneysaurus said...

Like S, I'm deeply envious too! Lacked the dough, and most probably the talent too for the arts. I only get to do my incessant pounding on the keyboard, keke....

September 23, 2005 10:55 pm  
Blogger Tym said...

Was it hard to pick up the cello? I had piano lessons too, but always wanted to try some kind of string instrument, and there's something about the cello, its size, weight, mellifluous tone, depth...

September 24, 2005 12:02 am  
Blogger limegreenspyda said...

s: you're most welcome. not being able to feel completely for someone else is something i've harboured for some time, and only bothered to notice in others in recent years. i suppose there is a very deep bond forged between a soul and its music.

it's never too late to go learn the cello! i started when i was even older than you!

hungry bunny: haha! being able to appreciate others' rhythms is a good thing, too. do not undermine yourself!

barney: therapeutic, the pounding of the keyboards can be! did you know that most musically/artistically inclined people tend to hold a CMI in sports too? heh.

tym: the initial leap mostly involves blisters on your fingertips that could cause your ear to ring. i'm serious. (and sometimes complaints from those in your immediate vicinity). with practice, both will be silenced.

the cello's lovely. when played with feeling, it can move me to tears. go learn!

September 24, 2005 12:46 am  
Blogger limegreenspyda said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 24, 2005 12:46 am  
Blogger Pangster said...

there is a story of 2 people going to australia to study... and a fat-boy was helpful enough to help 1 of the fren who had a cello...
the person bought a seat for the cello to go to australia...

a the check in counter, the officer asked for all the passports... seeing that there are 3 seats and only 2 passports, the officer asked for the fat-boy's passport... but he wasn't going... and the officer asked what is HIS name... thinking that the officer was refering to the cello... the person said.. Caleb... than the officer said... "ehh no passport and no such personc called caleb leh"

Than after a while, the 2 people found out that the officer were NOT refering to the infamous Caleb but the fatboy...

September 24, 2005 5:47 am  
Blogger gutter said...

you tore up scores??!??!
what did yr parents do?
my mother would have given me a good whacking and made me pick up the shreds from the dustbin!

September 24, 2005 11:44 am  
Blogger Kitty said...

i don't think i have a relationship this deep with my guitar. you are very admirable with your cello.

September 25, 2005 9:18 am  
Blogger barneysaurus said...

I'm a goner. I hold a Double CMI in arts and sports. Ha!

September 26, 2005 4:32 pm  
Blogger limegreenspyda said...

pangster: oh yeah! he mistook you for the cello! haha! and you could've taken the cello's seat, too. btw, who's caleb?? the cello's name is gotzon ok?

gutter: scores torn out of frustration had to be retrieved from the dustbin. so i continued practicing with crumpled and scotch-taped scores.

kitty: thanks. the relationship deepens with the amount of emotions you let go while playing on your instrument.

barney: wah. so talented, can hold double CMI ah. :) maybe you're good at being bad!

September 27, 2005 7:28 pm  
Blogger Splitting Cellos said...

Try a 1880 William Tarr cello... talk about grouchy, especially when it is too dry or too humid... best wishes, JCR

October 31, 2005 11:36 am  

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