Cello is my medicine.
September 8, 2009

Cello has become my medicine; I went through my toughest breakup three months ago, which was completely my fault. Mistakes I’ll regret for the rest of my life, probably, but nonetheless life moves on and I can’t just sit in place and bemoan my loss. What I’ve found in the last three months is that, my thoughts and emotions get in the way of each other and make me say, do things that I don’t mean and wish I could take back.

In the same three months I’ve discovered incredible growth in my musical ability. I’m principal of my orchestra, I’m an upper divisional player now, and I’m experiencing musicality and my work is being complimented by the toughest of the Russian faculty. These two events are not mutually exclusive.

I’ve found that, like I said previously, my thoughts and emotions get in the way of each other. I’ll sit in my room, I’ll finish a game of starcraft, do whatever it is I’m doing, but when I’ve got nothing to do, my thoughts go to her and to my emotions, to the heartbreak I’ve experienced and every reason I have to hate what I went through. This was incredibly unproductive, detrimental to my emotional health.

I didn’t realize that I could be channelling this into my playing. Now forget what you just assumed, that my emotions would come out through the cello and I’d be removed from them, because I don’t consciously let the emotions affect my playing. Instead, I practice.

I try to practice four hours at a time with lots of one minute breaks. Two hours of that four are spent working on a technical goal, working on learning and perfecting a piece of music and learning musicality and color and tone and experimenting with the beautiful instrument. This is the source of my progress, pure time spent on the instrument learning what to do with it.

The other two hours I let my brain relax. I play through music, over and over, passages that I love to play. While I’m doing this though my mind isn’t focused on the music; it’s half-consciously letting my emotions into it, I play harder, faster, stronger, sweeter, depending on what I’m thinking about; again, none of this consciously. But what this does is, it frees up my mind to work through, consciously, the emotions and stress that I have going on in my life, I work through them, put them in their proper place, and leave my 5 by 5 cubicle room feeling very cleansed and reorganized.

Cello has become much more powerful in my life in recent months, and i’m very glad for it.