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Thread: Cello for someone approaching late 20's. Too late?

  1. #16
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    In the US a college student teacher should be around $30/hour, a good beginning teacher would be around $50/hour, and a university teacher generally is $70-90/hour (all $US). I don't know how much that varies with location. I suppose it could be higher in a large city. I'm not sure if you live in a location that has plenty of teachers, but you'll have to talk with potential teachers to see who might be the best fit for you now.

    My wife (violinist) and daughter both suggested renting an instrument until you have a better sense of the commitment you will have. There's always the chance you just won't like it as much as you think. You can rent reasonably good instruments, but of course you can also get horrible ones. Interestingly the places we know that rent do not charge much different rates for instruments that cost significantly more.

    When you are ready to purchase a cello, don't buy an instrument on your own. Your teacher (or someone very knowledgeable) should help you select one. Also the bow is very important. You can get a good cello, but a bow that is inferior will make playing much more difficult.

  2. #17
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    I live in San Francisco, so I can only imagine the rates will be ~1.5x-2.0x the national average...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SayChiSinLo View Post
    Lastly, now this goes back to my tennis traditions. I was taught on a demanding racquet and have stuck with it since. Cantata, you'll know what I'm talking about, I grew up/developed my strokes on a Head Prestige Classic 600 and really reinforced the idea of proper mechanics/timing. I always recommend newer players to not get lazy and learn the most demanding racquet they can use, and it'll reinforces good technique and open up doors to a variety of equipment in the future.

    Does that same notion apply? Or go with what's easiest? If so, what do you guys recommend?
    Yeah, Those darn 9oz, 120sq in, 7-8pt head heavy sticks are a bad thing! I use a Becker 11 - 98sq in, 12oz, 5pt head light, great mid-plus players stick.

    back to music: I don't know a ton about the cello in particular but in general the cheaper instruments will not be easier to play but the more expensive/higher end ones will give more richness in the sounds they can produce.
    I do know that there are sizes on cellos, I'm assuming that being a tennis player you are not short so a 4/4 would probably be the right size.
    You can look at: http://www.cello.org/heaven/advice.htm
    and
    http://www.cello.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Tips

    looks like lots of information there.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SayChiSinLo View Post
    I live in San Francisco, so I can only imagine the rates will be ~1.5x-2.0x the national average...
    Actually those rates should roughly apply to San Francisco since two of the professors I used to estimate rates are from that area. We know a violin professor who charges $120/hr, but that's considered rather high. You might want to check The San Francisco Conservatory. There's a bulletin board (you'll have to ask where it's located) where students and other teachers advertise for lessons.
    Last edited by mmsbls; Oct-07-2012 at 21:37.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmsbls View Post
    My daughter teaches cello (she's a music major in college). She has a student in her late 20's who started taking lessons a couple of years ago. Her student works hard, and my daughter feels that she could probably play in the local university orchestra (not a high level university orchestra) in a few years. She believes that with hard work you could play in community orchestras in 10 years or so. Obviously that would require a certain level of musical talent, but your late start would not prevent achieving that goal.

    The difficulty you will have compared to someone starting much younger is finger dexterity. Essentially you won't be able to play difficult pieces at similar speeds, but you would still be able to play high level works.
    Not true about the finger dexterity, this part of the myth that you will only be good if you start young. I am an adult late starter oboist who started from the beginning at age 42, my finger dexterity is as good as any young music student. You have to compare numbers of hours from when younger or older people start. Some adults don't practice fingerings enough, or in a constructive way.

    I am a bit worried that your daughter is not a suitable person to teach adult beginners as she appears to believe the myth about starting young. I was very lucky to have teachers who had an open mind about what could be achieved by an adult beginner. There is nothing to stop an adult late starter studying music at college. What makes it difficult for most people is combining the learning with a full time job, as this limits the amount of time available for practice. An adult starter with plenty of time to practice can achieve the same level of playing as a young person.

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    The question of whether starting lessons early improves dexterity and overall peak ability is interesting. There are many anecdotal stories suggesting late starters are at a disadvantage. For example, we know a violinist who started early as a pianist and then switched to violin in high school. She preferred violin and ultimately practiced much harder and longer on the violin. She felt she clearly had better finger dexterity on the piano than the violin even though she worked much more on the violin. Of course, that is a single case, and anecdotes are hardly scientific. There are studies relevant to this issue, and the ones I've read indicate that there appear to be clear evidence of neuromuscular differences between early and later starters. Two such papers are here and here. If you are aware of evidence to the contrary, please let me know. I'm certainly not an expert and always open to new evidence.

    I do think we're talking about different things though. I have no doubt that adults can start lessons and become very good players. The question is not whether one can become a very good player but whether starting earlier would allow one to become an even better player and whether anyone starting late could become a world-class player. The later question is obviously very hard to definitively answer.

    I wouldn't worry about my daughter's teaching ability for adults based solely on her views on starting lessons late. The question to ask is, "Why would she teach any differently based on what she believed relevant to that issue?" She teaches technique, repertoire, theory, etc. based on the students ability and experience rather than on how good she believes a student might actually get. If students progress faster, great. If not, she's still happy to work at that pace. Her theoretical views on starting early never really become relevant to teaching. She simply wants all her students to become as good as she can help them become.
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    Here's my personal opinion on the young vs. old learning debate:

    Whatever you learn young, your mind is essentially blank, or rather, more blank than someone older. You are less likely to be influenced by your own beliefs/traditions/motor skills/etc. And you're able to absorb the material in its rawest form and incorporate it into your being. What I'm trying to say is, I think the younger you learn something, the more natural it'll becomes.

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    Also, I think there is a (huge) noticeable difference between someone who is very good at their craft, and someone who is natural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SayChiSinLo View Post
    Also, I think there is a (huge) noticeable difference between someone who is very good at their craft, and someone who is natural.
    I am an adult late starter and a natural oboist. I didn't play the oboe as a child. It has been very interesting learning it. I have broken a lot of myths. The finger dexterity one is interesting, and I think due mostly to the way young children are prepared to do a lot of repetition. Adults seem to get bored and want to move on faster because they have a goal in sight. I have no idea how I play the oboe, this leads to a lot of repetition because I need to be happy that I can remember how to do things. As a child I played the horn. I was not a natural horn player. My finger dexterity on the oboe is much better than it was on the horn.
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    When I retire (probably about half a century from now), I plan to learn cello and German. I am of the mindset that, at least in some matters, one can simply decide not to believe in "too old," and be better off for it. (This may be naive whippersnapper thinking, but I don't care!)
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