My son has played the cello since 4th grade. This fall we’re having some new experiences with his cello playing — we’re shopping for a nice full size cello and we’re taking him to/from Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO) rehearsals. Kyle loves to play the cello so last Spring I took him to an ESYO concert and then suggested that he audition for ESYO’s Rep Orchestra. He worked really hard on the audition solos and excerpts, with the help of his teacher, and his pieces sounded great. He auditioned, and he got in! Fast forward to this past week, when I took Kyle to his first rehearsal. While I waited, I got to listen to two orchestras rehearse – the Symphony Orchestra and the Rep Orchestra. The music coming out of the rooms was amazing, even on the first rehearsal. It was clear that these kids have put in hundreds (maybe thousands?) of hours playing their instruments and getting good at what they do.
ESYO does a weekend retreat for the members of the Symphony and Rep Orchestras. The kids and chaperones ride coach buses down to a YMCA camp in the Catskills where they practice and bond for two nights. I volunteered to be a “Bus Loader,” not knowing quite what that meant. I was given the job of taking instruments from the kids and packing them carefully in the bus’s cargo bays. ESYO players came up to me, a total stranger, handed me their large instruments, and then walked away. Many of them even said thank you. If their instruments were small, like violins, I would instruct them to take their instruments on the bus with them so we would have enough space for the big instruments under the bus. I probably packed ten hard-case cellos under my assigned bus, along with many other hard-cased instruments.
Today, while Kyle is off practicing and making new friends, I am shopping for a new camera. My wonderful Nikon D70 died this past summer and so I’m looking for a replacement back-up camera, or an upgraded new camera. Every time I camera shop I get this nagging voice inside my head that says, “Why do you want to buy such a big camera? You could take more pictures more easily if you invested in a nicer cell phone camera instead of a big, clunky dSLR camera. You could buy something that fits in your pocket instead of a needing to carry an extra bag.” Yes, it’s true that cell phone cameras are wonderfully convenient and take great pictures in many lighting situations. BUT, my instrument of choice in a digital camera. I can’t help it if it’s big and clunky to carry around. It does what I want it to do. Imagine one of those nice young ESYO players saying, “My cello is just too big. I want it to be smaller so I can carry it around easier. I don’t want to have to put it under the bus for transportation. I want it to fit in my pocket.” Of course they wouldn’t say that! They’re probably thrilled that their generous parents provide them with a cello to play – I’m learning first hand that cellos are not cheap! If you want to play the cello, you have to deal with the reality of buying, transporting, and storing a large instrument.
So today I will buy a new replacement camera or upgrade to a nicer camera, and tell the voice inside my head that cell phone cameras are nice, but my instrument of choice is a dSLR.