The Endless Ladder (920 Hours)

Yesterday I reached a milestone in my practice: Suzuki Cello School, Book 4!  After 15 months and 920 hours of playing the cello like a man possessed (& some 500+ hours on research), I have arrived at, in my teacher’s words, the beginning of the beginning.  It certainly feels like a milestone because within the pages of this next season of cello are the first forays into the Bach Cello Suites: Minuets I and II from BWV 1007.  This is what I have been waiting for since I fell in love with the Cello as a teenager through the Prelude of that same masterwork!

In many ways reaching this point is finally where I feel justified in taking the time to begin blogging my efforts.  Up till now, the focus has been on “woodshedding” technique in the practice room, and making progress to the point where I feel confident playing in front of strangers.  New revelations after giving my 2nd recital have led me to the concrete proof that practice volume does not equate to a great performance but rather merely the potential for it.  I will be posting more on the topic of the neurobiology & mental aspects of musicianship, but for now let us simply say that this blog is also meant to be part of expanding my performance experience.

My first humble YouTube video, my 2nd adult recital, and now book 4.  This is almost a champagne moment, but since I’m more of a beer snob and writing this on a lunch break, let us instead celebrate with a remembrance of the wisdom of the last of the great 20th century cellists…

A master class with Janos Starker (1924-2013) in which he compares advancing on the cello to an endless ladder with no limit.  Others have compared it to a mountain with no summit.  With this wisdom in mind, rather than simply attempting to crest a 10,000 hour mountain, I will be focusing on the journey one step at a time with a clear understanding the first 10,000 hours is just another beginning.


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