2011 Cello Goals

January 01, 2011

One of my recent cello book purchases, The Advancing Cellist's Handbook: A Guide to Practicing and Playing the Cello, has a whole section on goal setting, including template forms to use. While having goals is good, I'm not sure I can set reasonable goals for my cello career just yet. A year ago I was playing variations on Twinkle, Twinkle and French Folk Song. Now I am into book 3 of the Suzuki method, and a quarter way through the 40 Lee Etudes. Where will I be in another year?

What I would like for this year is to continue to enjoy playing my cello. I hope to extend my unbroken daily practice record, and I am looking forward to some ensemble playing.

While there are days when I have to drag myself to the practice bench, (usually) once I am there I enjoy the practice. In our new house I have discovered just how powerful my instrument really is. It fills our new living room with sound. I never knew my cello could be so, ah, loud.

Except for trips out of the country last year, I have played or practiced every single day since starting lessons a year ago last November. I have every intention of extending this habit this year.

Last January my teacher invited me to attend the annual String Fling he and the university host for 5th through 9th graders from across Kansas. Several all string orchestras are formed, and after a day of rehearsals each orchestra gets to perform for each other and their families. Last year there were over 600 students there. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with one of the 5th grade orchestras and I am looking forward to doing it again this year.

My teacher also conducts the Gold Orchestra, a student group made up of local junior and senior high school students. One of the requirements to join is completing the equivalent of book 2 of the Suzuki system. Now that I've reached that level he'd like me to play with them too.

Playing with others will definitely stretch my musical abilities and help me grow as a musician - I'll just have to get over my performance anxiety.

This should be a good year for me musically, I've grown a lot in just one year, and I am eager to learn more.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.