I turned sixty a few years ago and decided that it was now or never to act upon a latent desire to learn the cello. With a five hundred dollar cello and an armful of self-help books I worked at it for two years with no direct help. A year ago I sensed that I was sort of stalled out and the effort to satisfaction ratio was headed in the wrong direction. I audited a string quartet workshop and came away with a mixture of inspiration and discouragement. I wanted to be able to participate but saw little chance of rising to that level with the training resources available (four hour round-trip to the nearest teacher).

But one huge window opened at the workshop in the person of a teacher who was willing to take me into an intensive one-on-one series of lessons, starting with the basics. In several months time I reached a level wherein basic classical cello literature was within reach.

It is my impression that many cello teachers favor the young, gifted player in the hopes of discovering the next virtuoso as well as for other reasons. It was refreshing to find a teacher who simply so loves what he does that his door is open to anyone willing to seriously pursue the instrument in a thorough and persistent fashion.

My cello teacher, Adam Gonzalez, is in youthful early middle age and lives in a lovely quiet home in Silver Spring, Maryland. My first recommendation concerning his teaching skills came from staff at Robinson Violin Shop in Albuquerque who referred to him as a gifted teacher. And after an hour with him at the string workshop I knew that I wanted the kind of quality time and information that he spontaneously gives his students.

Unique to his resources is the locale in which he lives and the fact that the lower level of his lovely home is set up as a private living space for his students. It is an ideal setup for an intensive pursuit of the cello, combined with all that the Washington, D.C., area has to offer on a cultural and historical level. Close to the Metro, all of D.C. is in easy reach.

My several months there were an adventure to talk about for years to come, and the cello has finally been secured a place in my later years after its close encounter with abandonment at the hands of discouragement. News from home (Silver City NM) indicates that an orchestra is being organized, so the timing of this adventure could not be more opportune.

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