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Hello Cello, Goodbye Boredom

When I was a child, I suffered from a severe case of boredom. I couldn’t wholeheartedly stick to any one particular activity for an extensive amount of time. Ballet or hip-hop? Swimming or soccer? Nothing seemed to grab my interests. Dashing back and forth in a 25-meter pool, kicking a ball around, and dancing on my tiptoes were not my idea of fun. It was not until I found myself rubbing a piece of solid amber on a horsehair bow when I realized that there really was something out there for me– the cello. From the moment I straddled that varnished body of maple and spruce, I knew I would never be bored again.

“Are you really going to play that? It’s as big as you,” my best friend exclaimed as we drove home on the first day of sixth grade. She shook her head in disbelief. “How about the flute instead?” my father suggested. “Or is this another one of your phases?” He glared at me from the rearview mirror. After taking in their distaste for my new interest, I drew a long sigh. “I play what I want,” I finally affirmed, “and I will be playing that.”

Initially, the cello was not my forte. From meticulousness to fragility, every aspect of this instrument daunted me. I fumbled with the tuning pegs. I couldn’t get my bow hold just right. My posture and sitting position needed serious work. “Is this supposed to be music?” my younger brother would laugh. “Your twanging doesn’t count.” Despite my numerous frustrations, I did not stop playing.

The statement on my fellow violinist’s beloved t-shirt was my mantra: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.” Monday afternoons were reserved for lessons. Instead of watching Laguna Beach, I chose to focus on my string technique, paying close attention to intonation and the precision of my bow strokes. I learned to control the intensity of my accents and double stops. Instead of listening to The All-American Rejects, I followed the beat set by my metronome. Within the first six months of playing the cello, I successfully completed Suzuki Volume I and moved on to the next edition. In March of eighth grade, I performed as the first chair cellist in the Hawaii Parade of Orchestras.

The cello continues to be an integral part of my life, leaving me with no time for boredom. As a six-year member of the String Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, I look forward to many more practices and concerts to come. Whether I’m rehearsing a new composition or fiddling with my endpin, I always marvel at how far I have progressed. From playing the cello, I learned a lot about myself. When fueled with ambition and perseverance, there is no limit to what I am capable of accomplishing. At the University of California, I know I will apply the same kind of enduring passion and dedication to my pursuit of a degree in biochemistry as I put into playing the cello.





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