I thought it could be a good time to come out.
For the last 12 or so years I have been a closet cellist. The kind that starts, finds it rather tricky and after a period of rapid growth, reaches a sticking point….the point at which the cello lives attractively under the piano for a long, guilt-provoking rest.
Those of you who have been keeping up with my Beethoven love affair will have spotted that I have been in difficulty with my thumb joints, which are increasingly arthritic and painful. Whilst I still play and always will, it can no longer be with my previous vigour and I have been compelled to reconsider.
In the mean time, this year I have been reviving my interest in playing my cello and recently had a flurry of excitement when I tried a different bow …suddenly I sounded amazingly good for a minute! There was a surge of hope.
And then a lot happened all at once. I had a free day last Tuesday so I drove to Cardiff to try out some bows and, well, came home with a beautiful bow AND Dulcie……and the clear decision to down size from my magnificent Steinway grand piano to an upright and lots more room in which to explore the cello.
It doesn’t hurt my thumbs, you see.
It is portable.
It is sociable.
I can carry it around and play with other people….a very good thing as I enter my 60th year
After such a fantastic evening with Torbay Symphony Orchestra the other evening, as well as feeling so fulfilled, I came home whacked and sore. I could hardly play for a couple of days.This was not without enormous sadness and alarm. A kind of unwelcome light bulb moment of realisation.
This is where Dulcie steps in. Doom dispelled. From here on, the space that will open up as I release my beautiful piano becomes filled with relief and positive direction. Forwards and up as opposed to backward and down.
It is also filled with opportunity for the ongoing journey with the Alexander technique. Another profound shift into unfamiliar ground.
A stop…..the habitual way has shown up as pain.
A very necessary realignment…onto a less trodden, new pathway with whole rafts of discovery.
A new “means whereby” …in other words, a succession of step by step adjustments, each one of which ( selling my piano, leaving the tough stuff to others and keeping gentle piano repertoire for pleasure) orientates me towards continued healthy music making, beauty and fascination.
At another, deeper level, I feel it turns me towards simplifying and gradual downsizing. Lightening the load, so to speak.