Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flying to CelloSpeak (7/27/13)

Back from my two week cello "get-away" / vacation in Pennsylvania. Wish I would have taken more notes, but I'll try to re-create my days from memory.


It was a rough start to the workshop, as I was flying Standby and was trying to bring my cello, but the cello didn’t make it on to the flight. There were a few available chairs on the flight, but because an instrument is only allowed to be in certain rows/seating they couldn’t let the cello on board. Bummer! :(
I ended up having the person at the gate take my cello to the customer dept in the same terminal for my husband to pick up later. This was a bit of a worry, since I’ve never left my cello unattended before; that is, being in visual sight of it.
After a billion people asked me why I couldn’t check it in, I’ve finally came up with an answer that seems to placate most people. I just say that “my case isn’t a 'travel case' (which it isn’t) and that the temperatures in the cargo hold, or if the cello happened to tip over during the flight, would cause the wood to crack and destroy the instrument.” That seemed to appease most people. Although it's kind of self-explanatory why a person would not want an instrument in the cargo hold, right? ...hmmmm... maybe not...

After arriving in Pennsylvania, I took a cab to the college, which was a big mistake. I should have taken the train which would have been a LOT cheaper and easier! The cab driver took me to the wrong college - I don’t know whether by mistake or on purpose (to get more money for the fare), but it cost an extra $25! Then he dropped me off at the wrong building and I had to walk across most of the campus lugging my backpack and two overly stuffed large pieces of luggage. By the time I got to the correct building, I was sweating like crazy (much more humid and hot in Pennsylvania than Colorado) and feeling very frustrated. Ugh, I HATE campuses, buildings are never obviously marked and I always get lost… but then again, I’m a total spaz and get lost all the time anyway...

After arriving, I discovered that my rental cello wasn’t at the workshop, but at a local shop a couple of miles away and would only be open for the next 20 mins or so. I couldn’t afford to take another cab (I was on a fairly tight budget for this workshop) and did not want to walk on a hot humid day to get there. Anyway, long story longer, a very helpful and friendly assistant ended up driving me to the shop. Then at the luthier’s shop I forgot to transfer money into the account to rent the cello and had to text my husband to transfer money. Kind of embarrassing, but that’s what I get for not paying attention and doing everything last minute again. *sigh*

At the violin shop, I rented a cello outfit and they provided me new rosin, a newly haired bow, concert mute for the workshop, a new case and of course a cello. I actually LOVE testing out cellos and cello accessories so I was excited to see that I never used the rosin and case before.

Cello Case
The cello case I received was a GEWA case which had been discontinued. At the end of the two weeks of using the case I could see why it was discontinued. It was just not very functional and I found the case to be oddly shapped and a bit bulky! I felt like I was lugging around a huge egg!

Some negative points on the case:
1) It doesn’t have wheels. I typically carry my cello on my back with the straps, but it is nice to have the option of wheeling the case indoors on smooth carpeted surfaces.
2) It’s a bit on the heavy side. It’s bigger than the case I currently have (not as compact). For someone who doesn’t have back issues, I’m sure it would be great, but for me – not so much! If most of the classes, dining hall and dorms weren’t in the same building I think I would have been really unhappy with lugging this big case around. I definitely would not purchase one of these cases.
3) The bow holders have zippers that would catch on the bow's hairs. I had a lot of bow hairs get caught in the zipper and detach from the bow.
4) The shoulder straps would come off sometimes. I think I was grabbing the shoulder straps incorrectly, but honestly, I've never had my shoulder straps come off on my other cello cases. It would have been disastrous if a should strap came loose and one side of the cello case were to hit the floor or something! yikes!

1) It had a lot of pouches and areas to keep cello accessories. One of the instructors even commented that the main inside compartment could even fit her lunch!
2) It's sturdy and has great clasps to close the case! ...but at the price of being very heavy bulky...

I've never used this rosin before. I currently use Kolstein "Normal" Rosin and have used other rosins in the past so I was excited to try this out. Honestly, I like it as much as the Kolstein rosin, but then again, I'm not sure if it was due to the bow or the bow hair. I would have to test it on my normal bow to really determine how well it works.

The cello was fantastic! I believe the cello was made by one of the luthiers at the shop, the second cello he had created. I found two wolfs on this cello (which wasn't too bad), but both my cellos have not developed any wolfs yet. This cello was also on the darker side than the Li (which I like) and was also very resonant.
Unfortunately, I'm used to having a posture peg that having the C peg on the rental cello bothered me a bit. I could feel my shoulders start to hunch and my posture being more tense to try to avoid the peg from touching my body. I absolutely 100% recommend getting posture pegs on the C or C&G pegs. Everyone I’ve recommended it to, completely loves it!

I also have PegHeds on both of my cellos and this cello had normal pegs which seemed to be a bit sticky and difficult to turn. Although I guess I’d rather have it sticky than not, so the pegs don't slip as often...

This cello was also very resonant and LOUD. Anyway, the rental package was pretty awesome thus far.

Bryn Mawr Campus:
A beautiful campus!! Below are photos of the building (Rhoades Hall) that the group stayed at.

The dorms weren't too bad either and I was really happy to discover that I didn't have to share a dorm. :)

Day one entry to be posted tomorrow... 


  1. i wonder that they wouldn't try to get someone who was sitting in the appropriate row to change seats with your cello so you could take it with you... did you buy a ticket? if you bought a ticket then they should had made, at the very least, an effort to accommodate your cello.
    i once spoke to a flight attendant about the bad attitude i always have to deal with from other flight attendants when i show up with my cello (with a ticket!)he was kindly explaining that even if the cello is strapped to a seat, with bad enough turbulence it will get loose and an object that big could kill someone... now, what are the chances of a flight having such bad turbulence (and i mean it would have to be a pretty violent turbulence)and having a cellist traveling in it? i do wonder.
    i have friends that own travel cases, and take their cellos in cargo, with fragile posted all over, and an airline still manages to break it, and then they don't pay for it either...
    when i was a teenager, i was treated so badly by a flight attendant that i guess other travelers complained about it (cause i didn't know better and didn't make a fuss) next connecting flight the airline put me and my cello on first class...
    can you tell i have a problem with flight attendants, and airlines companies? hahahahaha

    1. I didn't purchase a ticket since I was flying standby - although getting standby tickets also cost money. I have found that people seem to be a bit nicer when flying standby because they know someone in the family works for their airlines. :)

      Last year I was able to fly to California and back to Denver with my cello on Standby, but on the way back to Denver I had to crash out at SFO airport overnight. Not very fun, so I was unwilling to wait around this time.

      However last year, when I was stepping inside the airplane with my cello, one of the flight attendant got a glimpse of my cello and he practically ran down the aisle towards me waving his arms saying, "Sorry we don't have any room, you'll need to check that in!" even before I could explain that I had two Standby tickets AND already had a seat reserved for the cello.
      With that weird awkward outburst, it doesn't surprise me that others don't get treated well when traveling with a cello.

      Flying with a cello is just a pain! It's one of the reasons why one of my teachers drives all over creation and back! Although I've heard Southwest is good about having instruments onboard? I hope that is the case because I'm going to purchase "real tickets" next year.

    2. By the way, have you seen this video of Lynn Harrell on the Colbert Report? :)