Thursday, June 11, 2009

The cellist in our home

Max practicing cello in our room at Snowbird

Two years ago, when my oldest son was ready to sign up for 7th grade courses, he informed us that he wanted to sign up for orchestra and play the cello. This sudden desire to be the next Yo-Yo Ma came out of nowhere. We had to quickly get him an instrument and an excellent private instructor who focused on good technique. I was so glad that he didn't want to play the violin—not that I have anything against it, just that I had played the violin for three years when I was little and am consequently well acquainted with the ear-bleed inducing squeaks of a beginner.

As I was thinking about music and photography this month, I realized that one way of being a supportive parent is to photograph and display your child practicing. It tells them that you value their dedication without any nagging.

A few years ago, a woman asked me to photograph her three daughters with their violins—this, because they were all about to quit. She wanted to memorialize their woefully short-lived musical experience. The resulting photo is one of my favorites, but I have never digitized it. Part of me wonders what the impact of the photo would have been if it had been taken before their interest waned. Perhaps none, but I still wonder...

Thinking about this has made me realize that I need to add a photo of our resident cellist to our family photo wall.