On learning to play an instrument—as an adult

Posted on: February 9, 2022

“I asked for piano lessons for my 41st birthday,” writes Natalie Bontumasi in the January-February 2022 issue of Strings magazine. “With a nine-year-old and a five-year-old, I hadn’t thought much about my own learning lately…. My son was enticed into the school orchestra program, and chose the cello….. A year later, my son started private lessons, with the requirement that a parent observe…. I sat quietly and watched and was slowly drawn into the deep appeal of the cello…. For my 43rd birthday, I asked for cello lessons…. How did I find the time to carry out this experiment with two school-age children? … I gave up television…. I loved the cello…. But progress was slow…. I was looking squarely into the beady, red eyes of some powerful demons. Their names were Perfectionism and Fear of Failure…. I found New Horizons String Orchestra, for adults with some instrumental experience…. Playing with other people was the reward I needed to keep me motivated…. There is a certain lush singing sound the cello makes. I’m chasing that sound…. I’m hoping to get there, but if I don’t, it has still been a glorious ride.”