Travels With My Cello

  • StringWorks Explores the Pinterest Universe

    StringWorks is excited to be exploring and pinning all of of the musical finds online!  From our instruments, to those of others, and musical jokes to the best practice rooms, we invite you to explore our boards and then we'll follow yours.   If you have a favorite instrument, add it to your Wish List; if you find a cool painted instrument, save it - who knows what can happen and we will have the chance to share all of our favorites with each other.   Visit StringWorks's profile on Pinterest.

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  • Packin' for Pakistan!!

      What does the discerning cellist bring when moving to South Asia? And so I am off again.  Tomorrow I leave for Karachi, Pakistan, with most of my belongings in tow (the rest being somewhere in trans-oceanic transit.)   Once again into the land of Allah, Ramazan, and the call to prayer.  Allahu Akbar!  However, this time I am coming prepared! I am not stumbling over a cello case and toppling down another musical rabbit hole, trying to decode a culture in which a cello is about as familiar as a pork roast.  While I am bringing along all the usual...

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  • Scared to buy a violin, viola, or cello online? Don't be!!

    Often we hear potential customers say something along the lines of "my teacher said to NEVER buy online!" *sigh* 'Buying online' and purchasing from a reputable small business who HAPPENS to have an online presence (read: a website/virtual showroom) are worth differentiation.  A customer of ours said it best, recently: "StringWorks isn't an online company, it is a real company that also happens to have a website for people like me who can't get to Wisconsin but want to have a StringWorks instrument." - S.B. The advent of the internet as a retail sales tool has brought unlimited exposure to...

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  • What Would You Do With A Year Off?

    If things had gone the way they were supposed to, I would be writing now from Guangzhou, China.  I would be explaining how governments work (or fail to work) to a new group of students, hoping to inspire them to care about the world we live in.  I would be working with my best friends from Yemen, people whom I adore, and that I had laughed and taught with for two amazing years.   Best of all, I would be assembling a music group to play in the community, just as we had in Sana’a.  I figured in China, finding string...

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  • St. Valentine's Day Massacre

       I sat in the front seat of my car with Christopher, the furry hood of my parka pulled down low over my eyes.  Silently, we passed a small flask of Jose Cuervo back and forth.  My stomach was churning and even though it was snowing outside, I was sweating like a pig.  I thought about crawling out behind the car in the snow and just have Chris back over me…then go forwards, just for good measure.  We were back in Georgia, it was Valentine’s Day, and while most people contemplate love, chocolates, flowers and other Valentine-alia, I was about...

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  • The StringWorks Setup™ - expect the BEST from your violin, viola, or cello

     While StringWorks has always practiced the highest level of quality in our instrument setups, to be sure each violin, viola, and cello performs to its absolute full potential, we've formalized the process a bit by naming it The StringWorks Setup™, as it deserves to be highlighted given its importance in how an instrument plays, assuring both ease of use and rewarding tone. On our new webpage dedicated to highlighting the precise points of each StringWorks Setup™ - http://www.stringworks.com/pages/the-stringworks-setup-assuring-every-instruments-plays-its-finest - we hope that violinists, violists, and cellists will take a close look at their own instruments, or those they plan to purchase, to assure that...

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  • Back in the USA! Cellospeak 2011

    I was sitting in my dorm room at Bryn Mawr college, feeling not a little like a giant doofus.   Chris and my kids had just laid scratch out of the parking lot, heading for the King-of-Prussia mall, and I was left in a 8x10 monkish cell at an elite women’s college with a bag of clothes and a cello.  I knew absolutely nobody, and while I am not normally a shy person, I was feeling a little… wrong footed.  I was at cello camp.  For a whole week.  With 100 people I had never met before.  Who does that?  Was...

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  • Lost in Translation

      Lost in Translation After about two weeks of lessons, I took inventory:  near as I could tell, Misha had about 20 or so usable words of English.  By “usable,” I mean words that could reasonably be used in the context of a cello lesson.  I mean, I knew he knew the word “cancer” but it’s hard to imagine how that particular word might apply in a music lesson.  I had a few more words of usable Russian, but he tended to speak too quickly for me to understand his answer.  Weirdly, we filled holes with German, another language I...

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  • The Russian Way

    And so it went.  Week after week, I made the trip down the hill to the conservatory for my cello lessons with Misha.  He sat facing me, knee to knee, while I played open strings;  we weren't moving on to actual notes until my bow and my strings formed a perfect 90 degree angle, and I released my crazy death grip on the frog.   Sometimes he would hold my bowing hand and the tip and move the bow back and forth across the strings with me.  For an hour.   Misha gave me an old exercise book to take home, the bottom of...

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  • What Love Sounds Like....

     This is a piece called "Nocturne" by Georgian composer, Vazha Azarashvili.  Georgians know it of course, but I had never heard it until my friend Manana Chanturishvili played it for me.  Her husband, Paata, plays violin in this recording.  My teacher, Misha, plays the cello part on an exquisite 1865 Giuseppe Baldantoni cello.   Enjoy!

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