Dear, sweet, cheerful Cello Chatters, it's me, BettyLou with my very first advice column! It took a lot of prodding, but I was finally persuaded to share my wisdom and years of weltschmerz-crammed experience for the betterment of your dreary existance. Please feel free to email me your insipid little cello-related problems, however insignificant they may be, and let's see if we can't make sense out of the rut that has become your life!

with undying admiration for you all,


Dear BettyLou,

I am at my wit's end here, and you are my last resort. It seems that my husband is very upset that I am out at night, playing my cello. I often get gigs that run six to eight weeks at a time, which takes me out of the house a lot. He enjoys the money I make, but the time spent away is his big problem. I love freelancing, and the income has allowed us to take many exciting trips. What's a working girl to do? By the way, absolutely LOVE you in Cello Chat!


Dear Working Girl:

Your hubby needs a hobby, honey, and in a hurry! My husband had this problem, (yes, it was his problem, not mine) and after I told him to get cracking, he filled up the house with all manner of woodworking projects. Now he makes and sells Stickley reproductions at a tremendous markup! Obviously, if you are a working cellist, your husband knew all about it before you tied the knot, so I suggest that he cultivate a hobby, or find the TV guide and the clicker, and get to it. Hasn't he heard about HBO? I also hear that people can get wildly addicted to computer video games, so that may be the way to go. On the other hand, you might want to sub out once in awhile to take in a show (ha ha!) or a movie and dinner with your idle and somewhat boring and unresourceful spouse.

Dear BettyLou,

I am in a cello quartet, and one woman in our group has lots of cats. Her cello case must be a kitty kondo at her house, because it reeks of cats and all of their various scents. It takes days to get the smell out of my house after a rehearsal, even after using those flowery sprays and aroma candles. Please help!


Dear Incensed,

So you have a cat lady in your group? I know the type: long flowing skirts, comfortable shoes, and an extra thick wedge cushion. Honey, here's what you do: the next rehearsal at your home, have everyone put his or her cases outside, on a porch or covered area. Then, while you are all embroiled in perfecting "The Spinning Song", have a spouse, offspring or life partner, fumigate her case with Febreeze, inside and out. Talk about clean living! Voila! She'll never know the difference. I can only imagine what her house smells like! I am guessing no rehearsals are held there, right?

Dear BettyLou,

I took up the cello two months ago, and I think my teacher is jealous of me. Last week, while we were working on a Don Quixote excerpt for an upcoming major metropolitan orchestra audition, she broke into tears and said she had never heard it played so well. Then she said the lesson was over, and practically booted me out of her house, calling me all kinds of insulting names in a foreign language. What shall I do?


Dear Dulcinea,

I know what rapid progress does to those around you. I performed the first movement of the Elgar the same day I had my first lesson, and what a stir THAT caused! Find a teacher (not another Suzuki teacher for criminy sakes!) that can handle your incredible gift, and move on.

Dear BettyLou,

My cello friends and I are in a heated debate over French bows versus English bows. I prefer English bows in general, but my friends say that the French have the market cornered on bows. What do you think?


Dear Clara,

After boring me to absolute tears, I thought about how your question could apply to my world, and me, and I was finally able to elucidate a response. Although I find the French insufferable, I have to go with your friends. My French bow practically plays itself, and the English bow I had for years performed at its best when I used it for kindling one stormy night (I had long ago retired it to pasture). By the way, have you ever wondered why they call it "the frog"? The French also have the market cornered on food, save for some unspeakable odors emanating from a lot of their weird cheeses.

Vexed? Peeved? Confounded? Ask BettyLou! Send all inquiries to BettyLou, maybe she'll deem your question worthy of an answer.

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