Getting in tune

Patty playing again

A couple of years ago, I was given an old cello and hoped to learn how to play. After investing about $1500.00 to repair it, I started taking lessons. I loved the sound, look, and feel of the cello, but became discouraged by my slow progress, and after months of practice, my right hand was cramping painfully as I tried to hold the bow correctly, so put it away. It has been sitting in its case upstairs for months. On Sunday, Jack and I were talking about musical instruments and how they needed to be played, how my teacher had said that the more I played, the better the cello would sound too. I imagined that every time I drew the bow across the strings, and the body of the cello vibrated, it was coming more to life. I’d been feeling guilty that it was just sitting unused. I felt it needed to be played. I don’t want to pack away precious things in my life. I want them to be used and appreciated and loved and eventually used up.

Yesterday morning, for some reason, the song by The Who, “Getting In Tune”, came into my head, I found it on You Tube and started blasting it through the house. I saw The Who live when I was a teenager, and although I remember very little about the concert, I always loved this song. As the song was playing, the phone rang. It was our friend Patty (Wonder’s owner). She had been talking with another friend of ours about, of all things, cellos, and Ashley told her that I played too.

Patty called to ask the name of my teacher, because she was considering buying a used cello that afternoon, to start playing again after a 30 year hiatus. I asked her if she would like to borrow mine and she didn’t hesitate for a second. Within 15 minutes she was walking through our front door, had the cello out of the case, and she was tuning it up.

“This is the true joy in life – being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy”.  George Bernard Shaw

Below is the link to The Who’s song, “Getting In Tune”

14 thoughts on “Getting in tune”

  1. Hi Mary,
    That could be a song for me! Things are going smoothly. I am so ready for the 17th. My brother is sending flowers to your office on the day. I’m weaaring a purple dress. My Mother wore purple when she married my Dad.
    See you then
    Lillian and Pete.

  2. Mary, after reading this story of amazing synchronicity, I am thinking of how women were branded as witches in the middle ages for making spells!

  3. When the musician is ready, the cello will appear! Small miracles, happening all the time. Thanks for sharing. “Oh, Happpy Day”!

  4. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful affirmation. ” tT stop complaining that the world is not devoting itself to making me happy”! Wow! I need to paste that on my forehead or better yet somewhere where I can look at it every time I start to feel wronged.
    Thank you Mary.
    From Fran

  5. Playing the cello, I can attest to the fact that instruments really do sound better when they are played often. You might not think it would be so of an inanimate object, but there’s something about the vibrations and the wood coming to life, and that instrument resting on your heart – all those connections between object and spirit. I marvel at the creativity of those who first fashioned instruments – my cello for instance, made in 1827 in London, England, is made of pine and maple, – but then there are the strings of silver and gut, the frog of the bow (where you hold it) is made of ebony, a small decorative piece of mother of pearl adorns the handle of the bow, and then there’s the horsehair of the bow. I imagine a mighty fine horse gave of his tail so that it may sweep across silver strings and sing songs – crazy! So many elements of the earth in one instrument, all waiting to be played and life celebrated. Isn’t it lovely that we say we “PLAY” a musical instrument? So happy to see Wonder’s Mama playing your cello Mary! Maybe Wonder will lay at her feet like my dogs do when I play – my older dog Dobie, now twelve, always joins in for about half a minute when I first start to practice. He lifts his muzzle up to the sky like a wolf, and in his best baritone, howls in accompaniment and then settles in to nap.

  6. Love that old Who tune and the GBS quote. Mary, it is so cool that Patty showed up to give your cello a dance around the room. You just have to believe that the instrument is sighing happily.
    Susan, I love your description of your cello and Dobie’s joining in, makes me smile.

  7. Wow, Mary. Just . . . wow. I was late reading your post today because I spent all morning (really, most of the last 10 days) trying to get two people “in tune” who have been staring each other down in a very expensive game of chicken. (Sometimes there’s just too much testosterone at work in business deals.) I finally realized that, while I can’t make the decision for them, I could give them a deadline to reach agreement between themselves or face “the nuclear option.” Lo and behold, they’re taking once again. Fingers crossed that they find a tune they both can sing. Maybe that’s my “mighty purpose” in life – threatening people with Armageddon. ;-}

    Susan, I have a “piano puppy.” Dogs love making music – or their version of it – don’t they?

  8. This is a great story. You’re happy b/c your cello is getting played and your friend is happy to have it to play. I love it when I have something to pass on to someone else who will enjoy it as much or more than I do.
    Hugs to you,

  9. Our blind cat Jack will hang onto hubby’s pants and ‘dance’ as he plays the fiddle. Mary’s post gives me another reason to get into my lonely attic and see what I can give away…

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