‘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’…

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