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Rizky Ramadhan

My Story as an Amateurish Self-Taught (II)

September 14, 2013 at 2:26 AM

Hello everyone!

This is the continuation of my previous blog, about my life as a self-taught.

I have been learning violin for over nine years as a self-taught..

Me and my violin are so lonely that we wondered to have a new member for our loneliness union...And my other crazy self-taught life part began...

In the end of 2007, my mom and I went to another city (in Java), to visit our relatives. One day I went to a music store there. I got my eyes stuck into a nice looking Chinese-made student cello. That was the first time I saw and touch a cello.. I begged my mom to buy me the cello but she said, “Not now”.. I always understand our condition, We were not able to buy “non-primary” things every time.

About 2 months later, my cousins (whose family we visited) came back to our city. They went to a university in Java and just graduated and finally came home again.. And they brought me cello. Exactly the same cello I saw. My mom saved up to buy it and secretly asked my cousins to bring the cello as they came back here. I was extremely pleased and grateful.

Yes, it is a student-cello.. a cheap one, around $350. But I love his sound. I am happy to have him. To complete my little loneliness union, along with my beloved violin. But it is just another beginning of a new struggle. There is NO ANY cello teacher in my city.. This time I was totally only on my own..alone.. again.

Luckily this time everything got better, I have the access to internet, I found so many helpful online lessons, and of course kindhearted online friends I met in many social networks. Of course I realize I NEED a real teacher, but I must not be selfish, my family had struggle a lot for our living and I must be grateful enough to own what we could get.

In 2008, I met Eveline Philips, a pianist. She gave private lessons at home. She’s a great mom of two boys whom also have learned piano by their mom since very young age. We all make friends. I often ask her to accompany me in practicing some small violin/cello-and-piano pieces.

In 2011 she decided to build a small “homey” music school. I helped there as a volunteer, working in our small ensemble, mostly consisting of junior violin students. I am the only cellist there. A year later she asked me if I wanted to teach.. Yes of course I’d love to. I always wonder to teach, but I have considered LOTS of things..well, I’m just a self-taught.. But I try my best, I never stop learning from many kindhearted musician/teacher friend. After lots of thought, consideration, and prayer, finally I got some guts to teach some beginning violin students and got my very first and the only one cello student. Don’t worry, I won’t “harm” the kids due to I’m-just-a-self-taught.. I’m not the only string teacher there. There is a violin teacher came from other city in Java and teaches in this music school (I wrote about him in the end of my previous blog), there’s also a good local violinist, who happens to be a friend of ours, teaches there.

Recently in February, we organized our own premiere student recital. I was performing there too, playing my own cello transcription of Debussy’s Nuit d’etoiles with Eveline. Here it is..

(I apologize that this video isn't started from the very beginning.. technical problem of cameramen)
In the recital I borrowed my student's cello. It's a good one, far better than mine.

I thank Eveline Philips so much that I could have these things happened. She helps me on so many things in doing music. I owe her a lot.

Now I’m able to own a hope. A hope of many good things would happen.. And I’m still struggling for that little hope.

Thanks for reading :)

From Angelica Cantu
Posted on September 14, 2013 at 4:13 AM
After reading both of your blogs and viewing your performance, I feel so inspired! You almost made me cry :,)
Thanks for sharing your story! It really is inspirational.
From Rizky Ramadhan
Posted on September 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM
Hi Angelica! Thanks so much!
I'd be so glad if my experience could inspire someone, especially in doing music.
I have been having hard time, till now. All I can do is keep hoping. I realize I will not ever be the best musician, but I know at least I can do something better :-)
From Dottie Case
Posted on September 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM
Wow.... that's all I can say. It seems obvious that perhaps one of the things that you are called to do in life is to learn and share what you've learned so that others will have opportunities that you did not have. This is inspiring and humbling... and even though we'll never meet, I am very 'proud' of what you've done. I guess we never know for what reason a passion may be planted in our souls....

It makes one think about what music is really about. Thanks for including the video. I hope others take the time to watch.

From Rizky Ramadhan
Posted on September 15, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Hello Dottie! Thanks a lot for your kind comment :-)

I have student whom I teach violin totally for free. What makes me wanna do that is because I just don't want them to suffer what I ever had suffered.

From Isabella Lysakowski
Posted on September 15, 2013 at 3:14 PM
This is so inspirational! I can relate to your story in a similar way: for the first two years of my experience of violin playing, I have learned more by myself than I did from my teacher at the time.
Your story truly tells the world that anything is possible, and all you have to do is to put your mind to it!
Either way, thank you for your story!
From Jefta Jedidiah
Posted on September 16, 2013 at 2:17 PM
Greetings...from Indonesia :-)

I have been learning to play violin for almost 4 years. I went to a music school and had teachers telling me where to go. But I didn't make huge improvements and finally I stopped, because it was conflicted with my school schedule. Now I am in high school age and I am homeschooled. Recently, I started to attend music classes again. Then I stumbled upon your blog and when I read it, I was amazed to read your story and how were you struggling to learn and to know that you are self-taught! It brought back my spirit to learn and practice more. I then learned that it doesn't matter what music school I go to, or who is my teacher, it's all about my willingness to learn and to be better. I especially amazed to watch your video (it was the one of Debussy's piece) and honestly... you were not sounding like an amateur. Your playing rather sounded like a pro to me! Really, I am serious.

Thank you for your inspiring posts.


From Rizky Ramadhan
Posted on September 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM
hi Isabella! thanks for visiting my blog! :)

Yes,we could learn by ourselves, it's a little goodness that we can get from and for ourselves, but I always DO realize that teachers is truly needed. I always DO crave to have a teacher :)

there were some parents said to me "You can do it all by yourself, so sure every beginner (our kids) can do it too". I responded to them a BIG NO. I never recommend any violin student to be a self-taught. Yes every thing is possible but I personally, totally, NOT recommend to be a self-taught at all.
As a beginner, one can easily get lost, like a toddler losing a mother. I get lost like LOTS of time. I'm just lucky to be like this now, but still I'm not lucky enough to have a real

My aim of sharing this story is not about telling people to be a self-taught proudly.. believe me, it's a total miserable life to be like this. What I'm trying to share is simply just to tell people to keep hoping, keep being grateful, keep struggling, and.... keep practicing :D

From Rizky Ramadhan
Posted on September 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM
Halo Jefta!! Apa kabar?
I'm SO glad to meet other Indonesian here in! :D

(I wish I could continue using Indonesian to reply but every one has right to read, respond and understand the language, even though I realized my English not even close to be "well-grammar-ed" :D)

I thank you so much for such generous comment on my little performance. and I'm so pleased to notice this blog could bring back your spirit. Please be better than me, please don't live what I had lived. You have a great chance and future ahead.. still in young age, got supporting environment, don't waste your time and chance. Use it wisely. I believe you can be excellent. I'm not telling you to get a major in music in your future, but be sure that a person will have no soul, without a fine art, like music we sing through our instruments :)

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