Hello, Cello

>> Monday, March 28, 2011

Sam and his cello
with the missing C string, courtesy of helpful mom (d'oh!).

Sam is starting orchestra classes and has picked the cello as his instrument. It is so fun for me to watch him. Every day, before I ask him, he goes in and starts playing it. He has only had one lesson where they learned about open A and open D. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to tune it, to figure out how the pegs affect the sound, from plucking the different strings again and again, and from exploring every aspect he can think of. He can’t wait for his next lesson.

Just now he’s been listening to the CD and trying to figure out how to tune it. The pegs weren’t staying in when he was tuning it so he asked me to help. I think I figured it out. Or not. I broke off the C string. So much for helping! I’m sure someone can help us get it back on. :/

However, he’s still working with the strings he’s got. He’s got his music stand out and he’s putting his book on the stand. I assume he’ll start playing along to the CD as soon as that’s all set up.

This is a singular experience for Sam. Apart from reading, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him take to anything so well. It’s only been a few days, but this just may be something that becomes a big part of his life.

Here’s how it started: Free music downloads from Google. Subway rides. A live symphony.

Many of you have heard me rave about how wonderful it is to have free, legal downloads in China. Oh, how I miss that! One day I got on a Yo Yo Ma kick and downloaded 8 or 9 of his albums. They were all on my mp3 player which I carried for long subway rides. Sam usually rode along on those long subway rides and, because he’s the kid and I’m the mom, he usually ended up with the mp3 player.

I thought he was listening to Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. But, no. He was listening to Yo Yo Ma. His favorite is the Ashes of Time soundtrack. He listened to it over and over and described it as the most beautiful piece of music he had ever heard.

When we got back to the U.S., life kind of got in the way and we didn’t have long subway rides to listen to Yo Yo Ma. However, a friend of ours was in the local symphony and invited us to go to a concert. Sam wasn’t very excited to go, but I thought it would be a good experience for him, so he went.

He was entranced. I don’t mean a little interested; I mean eyes wide open and sitting on the edge of his seat. He talked about it for days. He would talk about how much he wanted to play, how amazing it would be to be able to pick up an instrument and create beautiful music.

When it came time for orchestra, he was thrilled to pick out his instrument. After looking at all of stringed instruments, he chose the cello because he liked it's range. He kept reminding us about the sign up and when the time came, he was thrilled to finally have the cello home.

I’m so happy for him. It is wonderful to find something you truly love. It may not last his whole life, but I’m happy for him now. And, who knows? Maybe he’ll love it for a very long time.


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