I never really understood the concept of a relationship with my cello. In fact, I had done my best not to anthro-morphize my instrument. I did not try to infer a gender or a name. It was something beautiful that I want to learn how to play. It was still a thing with no life of its own. It’s life has to come through me. So, how could one have a relationship with an entity that cannot communicate independently?.

I had to listen for feedback so I could make adjustments (with my teacher’s input as well) to my technique. But it remained a mechanical issue for me, not a relational one. After all, I have a wife and two kids, and a boss. Those are what I consider the main relationships in my life.

Today, however, I began to change my perspective on some of these matters. How you ask? I have the chance to play a different cello while mine is in the shop for adjustments. I had written about this issue before, but that was just a ten minute flirtation. This time, I will have the loaner for a few days to a week. I didn’t realize the extent to which I had become attached or perhaps just accustomed to my previous cello. Some of it is akin to being overcritical of a new partner when an old one was not available. Many of the so called problems were just me being a bit overcritical about the loaner cello not being like my current one. I even missed my dark color, although I’m coming to appreciate the lighter more orange-ish tone.

But once I got into playing, I noticed some things became easier with the loaner. This cello seems to speak easier, and the infamous III(C) is no longer the bugaboo it once was. The one real problem I am having is string hiss on the open C and G string. It sounds like an echo coming from in the cello body itself. This hiss persists whether I am plucking or bowing, so it’s not just a matter of my bad technique.

Learning a new instruments requires my learning to listen all over again, and being accepting of the new response patterns without trying to compare it to past loves.

It’s a good lesson to learn, but for reasons I won’t go into just yet.