Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Monday, February 04, 2008

Folkworks: 2005 The Year of the Cello

I read Maricello's recent post concerning playing in a band. I guess I'm pretty lucky. I'll be performing this weekend on washtub bass, cello, and recorder, at a local sandwich shop with a couple of others who play hammer dulcimer and guitar (We wish we could find the right fiddler to join us).

Given the comments that followed Maricello's post, I thought now might be a good time to post a link to the Jul/Aug 2005 issue of FolkWorks magazine. Scroll down to Larry Wine's article on the "Acoustic Renaissance" in which he declared 2005 The Year of the Cello. Not that I'm saying it's too late now, just that cello-awareness has been building even in non-cello folk players. Also note the featured Klezmer band, Warsaw Village Band, has a cellist.

However, I don't think that the typical way cello is taught is conducive to getting an adult ready to play in a band. That may change some in upcoming years.

But I'm not a good one to express and explain that point of view since I came into the game with a pretty solid idea of how I could fit into a folk-ish band, and I had the washtub, and experience on trombone, such as in Dixieland music, to fall back on. For those of you that would like to play in a small group something other than pre-printed classic chamber music, what do you wish a teacher would teach you?

1 comment:

Guanaco said...

I've been learning the cello for just over two years now. It took me some time to come to the realization that the kind of playing I set out to do was going to be a lo-o-ong way off.

I am not disappointed, though, because I get so much satisfaction from the learning process itself. I always enjoy starting the next piece in my Suzuki books, and usually find it refreshes my musical energy.

I recall reading here (I think) that it takes cello students at least five years before they should expect to be "ready" for fiddle/folk music. I remember thinking at the time I read it that you might even be underestimating it a bit.

There is so much more for me to learn... not just in the sense of understanding "how" to play, but also the sense of being able to play it all well enough to satisfy even myself.

I've talked about this issue many times with my teacher, who agrees with your assessment (she does play cello and bass with a local folk music group). For a while, we spent some time working on a few celtic pieces, but I began to feel it was competing with my regular studies. I always wish I had more time just to practice what's in my lessons.

So, I'm not able to answer your question. I have so much more to learn about navigating my fingerboard and master my bow before I'd be ready to step out like that. Meanwhile, my lessons, along with my orchestra and cello-trio keep me quite busy, as well as sufficiently challenged and motivated.

Great discussion, BTW.