I play the cello. It’s a difficult instrument to play well, though it’s dreadfully easy to play it badly. About once a week I have a day where I’m really pleased with the sound. The rest of the week — feh.
I’m glad I learned it when I was young. I can’t even imagine getting any satisfaction out of trying to learn it as an older adult; the rewards would be minuscule, the pain overwhelming.
There’s not a lot of point in playing cello by yourself — it’s an instrument that’s meant to be part of a group. And in a group, the cellist seldom gets to soar; it’s a functional instrument, too low in pitch to grab the spotlight. At the moment I don’t have a group to play with, but I keep my chops up and my eyes open, in case anything pops up.
I teach beginners (and some pretty advanced high-school students) to play the cello. I don’t know why they want to do it, and I’m reluctant to ask them. If they start thinking about it, they might quit, and then I’d lose the income.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and cause them all to play better instantly. The only magic wand is called “endless hours of practice.” Some of them wave it, some of them don’t. But no matter how assiduously they wave it, it’s a really slow-acting magic wand.
I watch them struggle to execute simple muscular movements, things I take completely for granted when I’m playing. It’s a powerful lesson in both the power and the limitations of the human brain.
My students give me this lesson every week. (And then they pay me. Such a deal!)