My Story as an Amateurish Self-Taught (II)

September 13, 2013, 7:26 PM · Hello everyone!

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

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

My violin and I were so lonely. We wondered to have a new member for our "loneliness union"...And new chapter of my crazy self-taught life began.

In the end of 2007, my mom and I went to another city (in Java) to visit my cousins. One day, I went to a music store, got my eyes stuck into a nice looking Chinese student cello. That was the first time I saw and touched 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 most of the time

Around 2 months later, the cousins whom we visited came back to our city. And they brought me cello. Exactly the same cello I saw. My mom and my uncle saved up to buy it and secretly asked my cousins and their mom to bring the cello as they came back here. I was extremely happy and grateful.

Yes, it is a student-cello.. a cheap one, around $350. But I love the sound. I am happy to have it. 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.. I was totally only on my own..alone.. again.

Luckily this time everything got a little better. I have better access to the internet. I found so many helpful online lessons, and of course kindhearted online friends I met in many social networks. Of course I KNOW I need a real teacher, but I must not be selfish, my family had struggled 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 mom of two boys who also have learned piano from their mom since they're very young. We all make friends. I often ask her to accompany me to practice some simple violin/cello 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 beginner 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 want to teach. but of course I must consider a LOT of things..well, I’m just a self-taught.. But I try my best, I never stop learning from many kindhearted musician/teacher friends. After lots of thinking and considering, 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 my "self-taught-ness").. I’m not the only string teacher there. There is a violin teacher who came from another city 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 camera)

In this recital, I borrowed my student's cello. It's a very good one, far better than mine.

I thank Eveline Philips so much who made it all happened. She helps me on so many things in music. I owe her a lot.

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

Thanks for reading :)


September 14, 2013 at 04:13 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.

September 14, 2013 at 02:25 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 :-)

September 14, 2013 at 06:08 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.

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.

September 15, 2013 at 03:14 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!

September 16, 2013 at 02:17 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.



September 17, 2013 at 02:13 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

September 17, 2013 at 02:27 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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