‘I recall lessons with teachers texting on the phone while I was playing’: Letters to the editor July 2022

LETTER 3 Joshua Bell, ASMF 3 Photo - Robert Torres - Celebrity Series of Boston

A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: July 2022 issue

Tales of an adult beginner

When I started to learn the cello five years ago at the start of my PhD project at Eckart Altenmüller’s Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians Medicine in Hanover, Germany, I was roughly the same age as cellist Billy Tobenkin, author of the article on adult beginners (‘Never too late to learn’, June 2022). One and a half years later I joined the Hanover Orchestra Association for Mahler’s First Symphony, and at the end of 2021 I started lessons with Christoph Croisé in Switzerland and went to masterclasses.

I was touched by Tobenkin’s article, and I especially empathise with his opinion on adults’ expectations and the ups and downs of being an adult beginner. I also agree that there are definitely ‘more “serious” adult learners than we tend to think there are’. But I only partly agree that it is the adults that limit themselves ‘with a fear-based, perfectionist mindset’…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.