Re: what's going on?

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Posted by Paul Tseng, ICS Cello Chat Moderator on May 10, 1999 at 05:37:44:

In Reply to: what's going on? posted by Theo on May 09, 1999 at 23:16:20:

Wow, Theo! Thanks for sharing such a personal matters with us.

My reply probably won't begin to scratch the surface of the many issues you raised. There are just a few things I'd like to let you know.

1) I know excatly how you feel. You know (many people here know this) I began cello studies at 14. I knew from my very recital with 10 year old student of my teacher playing Kabalevsky concerto right next to me playing baby pieces that I was fighting an uphill struggle. My problem was that age 14 (like you) I already knew that I wanted to play like Yo Yo Ma or Rostropovich. It KILLED me that I didn't sound as good. I had the same aspirations of becoming a famous cellist. I too thought that this alone would bring me the happiness that I sought. To make a long story short...I have had the opportunity to perform as a soloist internationally, and though I am not famous in any way I have found that there are many more important things to me in life.

At age 15 or around there, things seem to be right up there "in your face". I know, I was 15 too once. I hope you will be patient. I think it really helps to know that there is someone who cares about everything you are and everything you do.

I'd like to share with you a song of the Hebrew King David (from Psalm 139)

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in- behind and before; you have laid you hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain.

Where can I go from your spirit? Wherer can I hide from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed int he depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hadn will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mnother's womb.
I praise you because I am wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
My frame wasnot hidden from you when I was made in a secret place. When I was woven together inthe depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be....

(Psalm 139)

Theo, remember this. Your significance lies not in what you do (like playing the cello) but in who you are. You are a child of the living God, who loves you and knows you better than anyone (even yourself). There is always hope when you realize this.

The best way to stop depression is to count your blessings. My dad used to tell me "if you turn your back to the light, your shadow will be in front of you...but if you turn your face to the light, your shadow will fall behind you."

Fill your mind with things you are thankful for and I promise, you won't have room in your mind and heart for negative thinking. Your problems won't disappear (at least not immediately), but your perspective on life will change. You'll find it easier to deal with those problems.

For example, I had some pretty bad cello training for many years (until I was 29 yeasr old actually) Finally I met my current teacher who changed everything for me. I can finally play the cello the way I've always wanted to. Instead of resenting the fact that I had bad teaching for so many years, I thank God that in His mercy, He provided this teacher for me at all. (better late than never)

Be thankful that you are now just 15 and have a whole life ahead of you. Sure, you and I (and probably everyone else in this whole world) mightnever become a Yo Yo Ma or a Rostropvich. But so what? I don't really care, God loves me (and you) and He's taking care of everything I need in my life. He knows better than I do what I realy need to be happy.

So don't settle on being just a decent cellist. Go for it! Be the best cellist you can possibly be! Shoot for the stars. You might not become workd famous (actually, I'm told being famous can suck sometimes too- pressure, performance anxiety, living out of a suitcase, never seeing your loved-ones)but who needs fame? I am just happy if I can play the cello to the best of my ability and learn more and more each day.

Eveyone on the chat board is probably what You would call a decent cellist (in that none of us are Yo Yo or Slava). But we are not all miserable. ON the contrary, I find that cellists in general are the jolliest people around.

Take cared Theo and keep us up to date on how you are doing!

Best wishes and God Bless!

Paul Tseng,

ICS Cello Chat Moderator

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