practice makes perfect. if you survive.

Originally published 12 June 2007. Near the end of this piece, I talk about resisting change and looking down on a teacher I had in London because she wasn’t up to speed on the Rococo Variations. I am still struck by how common it is for students to feel a sense of competition with instructors, […]

Having tough lessons? You have a choice.

The way I see it, there is this thing, this Difficulty (capital D, for emphasis) to playing the cello. And it’s there; sitting, waiting, towering, looming, quivering. Many a student has tried to devise strategies to get around this Difficulty. Example A demonstrates that you cannot cover the Difficulty with laundry. Example B depicts what […]


Must be something about summer. We all kind of fall off of the horse in one way or another. Cellists stop practicing. Bloggers quit blogging (or go all sporadic, like me). L’s work parallels the TV season, and it’s interesting to see the strange stress of not working replace the maniacal stress of being overworked […]

a new way to think about progress

Sometimes a change in perspective makes a long process more bearable. Enjoyable, even. I came to this realization a few days as I looked ahead with dread to the longest day of the year. I thought of the miserable summer to come, the triple digit days and only temporary relief from the searing temperatures that […]

becoming what you are

I am a big believer in messages to (and from) the universe. I think that everything one does is a message, a request. It’s that “you get what you give” thing, where the style of life you live is, in very little time, slingshot right back to you because you asked for it by example. […]

Maximizing your lesson experience

Nearly everything about the cello is, upon initial inspection, prohibitive. It’s big. It’s low. It’s difficult. It’s expensive. It reads that clef you didn’t really master when you took piano lessons. If you manage to get past all of those obstacles and move onto lessons, there are a few things you can do to make […]

lookin’ good (soundin’ bad) (for a while)

Other possible blog titles include: Acting the partAll for showTest yer gesture (ha) As many of you know, I am in the business of teaching how to play the cello. I was about to write, “I teach the cello” but then I thought, “Teach it what? How to be a human? Latvian history? Roller skating?” […]

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