Is It Already Too Late?

April 29, 2011
The constant symphony has always been a part of my life. I have lived music ever since elementary school, when our less musical developed school system decided to finally give children a chance to play an instrument. In other situations, children have begun when they were incredibly young. My friend turned to me the other day during rehearsal and commented on another cellist, “they probably made a microscopic cello when he was a fetus, because he plays like he was born with the damn thing!” And it is so true. There are kids in developed orchestras that are ages 7-12 that are in with juniors and seniors! (and me). The only reason why child prodigies aren’t allowed in major orchestras are because they are less experienced- they wouldn’t understand half the vocab in the music, they would only be raring to play. So when you think about it, is it good that we start at such a late age in our school system? Do we have the upper hand of coming to love the music because we were not forced into handcuffs around it by our parents at a young age? (Not that all prodigies have that situations… but really, most do!) Why are we allowed to do chorus before taking up an instrument? Is it a preface to the difficulties we will encounter with actual wood and brass and whatever else there is in that band section over there in our hands? Our school has a fabulous chorus, with tons of people who get into festivals every year. Meanwhile, our other music programs have less of an impact on students because they ones that actually carry the luggage of music (i.e. that big thing called a cello, that fat thing called a bass) are restricted from those luxuries because they started later on. Why is that? Even though most students in music only want it as a minor part of their lives, and the ones that really care about it take up practices elsewhere (orchestras, band camps), why should those that want music to be a small part of their lives suffer because cannot depend on just their school system to provide a stable start for flourishing musicians? Or is it that our school actually has a leveled system of music that provides a satisfactory class every year from 3rd grade for the musicians that only want it on the record? And is it that the aspiring musicians must take up and rehearse elsewhere? When you think about it, that is initially what all musicians do when they go into music. What I’m attempting to explain is the different views on starting young on music: Prodigies in the making from a jump start, or passion flowering from older age? It is a contradictory topic everywhere in the music, but what would you do if you had path ahead of you that small children have already taken before you? What if you were so far behind, you were afraid you would never catch up?
I have risen to the challenge, tightened my cello straps, and hurried onward.

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