Beginner without musical experience

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3 years 8 months ago #3 by CAuser
Beginner without musical experience was created by CAuser
I am turning 70 next week, have listened to classical music since high school, have near perfect pitch, and have M.S. and D.Eng.Sci degrees in Electrical Engineering and 30 years of software and computer design. I am in good health, work out at a gym everyday for 1.25 hrs.

I love the cello sound, and would like to learn to play. Should I first learn music on a piano, and then move to a cello, or start everything on a cello?

I believe learning music on a piano would be easier, and could teach myself basic music, as it would eliminate all the other many variables of fingering and bowing.

I can devote 1-2 hrs per day 6 days a week to this project.

I live in Teaneck, NJ, about 12 miles from Lincoln Center in NYC, so there are many opportunities to find a teacher for lessons later on.

As I am semi-retired, I still provide computer network support services to a few clients, working from my home office, financial considerations are a potential factor.

I would like to know if my objectives are reasonable at this stage in life, and what you would suggest.

My goal would be to be able to play some of the easier passage of the Cello music I know and love.

I look forward to your response.

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3 years 8 months ago #4 by hzentgraf
Replied by hzentgraf on topic Beginner without musical experience
meanwhile your 70th birthday is history already but I may still congratulate you and wish you all the best thinkable for the years to come.
Sorry for answering so late, but there were seemingly more important things to deal with first.
Anyway, generally my experience tells me that there does not exist any age-limit for starting to learn an instrument. The difficulty for elder people is mainly, only, one should say, their knowledge of how the music should sound (especially if they are music-lovers) and the resulting impatience. Not only that, time is running out as well. It is impossible to put oneself in the state of mind of an eight year old kid and wait what happens, if you practise regularly for some years. You have to be aware of that. There must be some compromising between the necessary (boring) repetitions of exercises and your wish to perform pieces of music you like. This approach is the crucial point, I suppose you understand what I mean, Carnegie Hall tomorrow, no way.
Then, can you read music? If yes, just get a cello and jump into learning it. If not, it would be indeed advisable to gain basic knowledge (clefs, notes, rhythm, bars) by trying out things on the piano, since it is much easier to press a key than to place (where) a finger on a (which) string and then get a sound by pulling (how) the bow.
Supposed, you know the basics I really recommend our (cello-academy) beginner-series. It really starts out from nothing, from scratch.
The time you plan to devote for this project is perfect, rather too much, but you will see anyway when your fingertips start hurting.
Concluding I would like to encourage you strongly to pick up learning an instrument. There is nothing better to be busy with than that. In many respects, first of course you come close to all the great music, but the musical language itself, a single tone ore two can open new perspectives and then the special demands of movements, coordination, rhythmical and melodic understanding and so on will keep you mentally young. I guess you agree.
So, all the best, and let me know sometimes how things developed.

Hans Zentgraf

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3 years 8 months ago #8 by CAuser
Replied by CAuser on topic Beginner without musical experience
Dear Hans,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my inquiry.

Since I last contacted you, on my Birthday, I went with a Cello player of 30 years, who agreed to be my teacher and selected and rented a good sounding Cello.

I had my first lesson, and started working on the fingerboard, learning the scales by plucking the strings. No bowing yet!

All that you write about expectations is right on the mark. The reason I started, is that I have a very good ear, and that will help me learn music to play the music I know.

I already have reduced my expected time per day, as my arms and finger tips have to get accustomed to the new positions, tensions and motions.

I have started to learn basic music and reading notes, my goal is to be able to see the notes and "hear" the sound, and start to feel where those are on the fingerbooard.

I realize the brain has much to learn, and there is only so much that can be done each day, so I fill my allocated time with practicing Dannhauser Solfege des Solfeges, to both be able to read and "hear" the notes.

This was at the recommendation of a close friend who played the trumpet professionally for many years.

Of all the online-videos related to learning cello, I believe, yours are the most professional, because of their realistic pace, and the clear instruction based on you own many years of experience.

I will be studying them, and most likely enroll.

I can see that my problem will be that I have no patience, and I have already started to bow some simple melodies, such as Bruch's Kol Nidre, by finding the notes on the fingerboard.

My next lesson is this Wednesday.

Again thank you for your response and encouragement.

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