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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 19, 2013/ 9 Adar 5773

Cello Notes

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Seized by some peculiar muse (clearly one with a sense of humor), I have undertaken to learn the cello in middle age. To the amazement of my teacher, my family and myself, I've made incredibly rapid progress. Displaying a fluidity and musicianship that cannot be taught, I burned through the early books and went straight to repertoire that is usually the province of advanced players.

Well, no actually, except for the part about trying to learn the cello. It's been 18 months now, and I'm plugging away, attempting to force my hands, arms, body, but mostly my brain, to do things that don't come naturally at all. Yo-Yo Ma's job is safe.

I am aware that there are tiny children playing miniature cellos (they're all over YouTube) who can breeze through the pieces I spend weeks attempting to master. Most of the great musicians in history have shown precocious ability from the earliest ages. As a child, for example, Felix Mendelssohn memorized all nine of Beethoven's symphonies and could play them straight through on the piano. Franz Liszt could sight read any music (even with the score upside down) without missing a note. As an adult, Liszt invited the young Edvard Grieg to visit him in Rome. Grieg presented Liszt with his new composition, a piano concerto. Liszt sat down at the keyboard and played the entire piece, solo and orchestral parts simultaneously, all while keeping up a running commentary. He liked it, to Grieg's great delight.

Some of us are gifted only with a love of music. The above stories come from listening to Robert Greenberg's courses from The Teaching Company, which I savor in the car. Translating love of music into the sound that emanates from the instrument in your hands is, however, fraught with pitfalls.

Did you ever wonder how cellists know where to put their fingers on that long fingerboard with no frets? I always did. At one of my first lessons, my teacher placed a small Velcro circle on the back to guide me about where my thumb should be in first position. That became a sort of security blanket. Darting up and down to other positions (there are so many!), you knew you were securely at home (and in tune) when your thumb landed on the familiar patch.

No longer. This month, for my birthday, my husband bought me a cello. It replaces the dull rental I'd been using, and it is a glorious, beautiful thing — walnut in color, velvety in tone. My teacher insists that I've reached the point where I should do without the thumb marker.

Among many humbling lessons I've learned in this process, I had to part with a silly vanity I maintained for years. In the 7th grade, my music teacher tested the class for pitch recognition. He played a series of notes on the piano and asked students to identify them blindfolded. I was then taking piano, and I aced the test. Ever since, I had flattered myself that I had a good ear.

No more. If your fingers miss their mark by even a fraction of a fraction of an inch on the cello, you will hit the wrong note. I confess that sometimes I can tell, and sometimes I can't. Without a digital tuner on hand, I would sound like an old LP record being played at the wrong speed.

Still, there are compensations. If you do something with diligence, you will improve, natural talent or no. One of the reasons I started lessons (apart from wanting to play with my musical children) was to limber up a part of my brain that hasn't been busy in, well, several decades. The theory is that by keeping your brain challenged and stretching, you ward off the uglier possibilities of age. We'll see. But it is intriguing to be reminded of how the brain functions at any age. Some days I will play for 30 minutes seemingly missing every note, mangling the bow directions ("hooked bows" are tricky), and sounding like a crow trying to sing Bach. Yet the very next morning, having done nothing more than slept on it, I will play dramatically better. It's almost as if I'm a different player.

The other great compensation is that playing an instrument opens a whole world of appreciation to the student. String quartets? I used to find them boring. Discovering them now is like finding buried treasure in your backyard. The Bach cello suites? A piece of heaven.

My own playing? Well, it's better than it was yesterday.

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