They Call Me Mellow Cello

Until the sudden disappearance of the Lancaster Library and their vast DVD collection, I watched about 10 movies a week. I considered it film school, and I recently learned in a Masterclass with Aaron Sorkin, that it, indeed, is film school. I’m not going to try and deduct my couch and TV off my taxes though. Choose your battles, I say.

One thing I noticed during many of the movies, was the extraordinary use of the cello in the film score. I wished I could play one. Then came the lockdown. So, if ever there was a time to learn, this was it. I ordered a cello online and it recently arrived.

Cello - 01

It didn’t come with any instructions, but it didn’t need any batteries, and I had 2 beginner cello books I’d also purchased online. I did the minimum assembly required.


The first day, I couldn’t get any sound out of the cello.  I thought maybe it was broken, and I made sure to save the giant cardboard box that it came in.


The second day, I got sounds, but nothing musical.  Maybe it’s just defective, I thought, as I wondered if I would have to call Customer Service to get an authorization number to return it. I worked in shipping for a while at Cyber Medical many years ago.


The third day, I got a couple sounds that resembled musical notes.  I guess whatever might have jarred loose during shipping must have settled down. Maybe it’s not broken. It just needed time to settle.


The fourth day, I was getting notes out of every string.  I still can’t play those first two notes of the Jaws Theme, which I tried to figure out for at least an hour, but I was learning some other things.  On the C string, the thickest string, I was able to make noises that sounded like whale songs, maybe, or perhaps, more likely, whale farts.  On the thinnest string, the A string, I was able make a sound like a dying mosquito.  Those are my favorite kind of mosquitos, so I liked that sound.


So, this is where I should now be playing London Bridges, Frere Jacqua, or something like that, but, let’s face it, that’s boring.  I ended yesterday’s Saxophone practice with The Star-Spangled Banner, so that was on the music stand when I sat down today. So that was my project for the day.


By the end of today’s session an astute neighbor might have recognized five notes I was playing on the cello as being eerily similar to the first five notes in the Star-Spangled Banner.  I’m getting the hang of it.  Purple Haze might be a little tougher to learn, but the journey of many miles must begin with the first step.


After that, Freebird!


Peace & Love, and all of the above,



8 thoughts on “They Call Me Mellow Cello

  1. You’ve got this Earl! I’m thinking a little slower than the magic of the woodwinds…but you got this!!

  2. 🤣🤣🤣good for you, never too late to learn 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻Jim and I enjoy and watch every night 💕😘

  3. I can’t play it yet, but I still can play three instruments, Sax, clarinet, and harmonica. You’ll be happy to know that yesterday the sheet music arrived for Summertime. I haven’t played that on the sax since the days of the Townsmen.

  4. Hey Earl, So you’re still locked down, too.  It’s getting old.  I like your solution, the cello. Do you know that BernardHerrmann’s score for Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is all strings?  You you try to separate out the cello part.  It has some memorable moments. I’m all alone, except for my aide.  Do you live with family? Cheers, Bonnie/Chris

  5. Bonnie, the use of the cello in film scores is what got me interested in learning how to play the cello. I love the sound, when it’s played by somebody who knows what they’re doing. I’m still just making noises, but, at least, I’m having fun.
    I live by myself, and I only know a very few people here, even though I’ve been here for almost 7 years. I know the librarians, the senior citizens who go to the ballgames (Silverstormers), and the young ladies who skate for the Dutchland Rollers. That’s enough for me. I need time for my writing and music. Lancaster just went into Phase Yellow, but I’m still in Phase Cello.

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