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The Hardest Part About Playing the Cello

Nathan Chan

Often times I am asked about what the hardest part about playing the cello is. Previously, I had no idea what to say. Was it the bow arm, the left hand, intonation, etc.?

Only now I have I really pinpoint what it is. Stamina. It is stamina. I wish I could play like I do in the first 5 minutes of playing when playing in the 3rd hour. This really becomes key in long concerti. Yo-Yo Ma is incredible at keeping the intensity over long periods of time. I want to learn how to do that.

Working with my teacher, I have sensed the key to this problem is to have the least amount of tension when playing. For me, my right arm becomes very tense when I play. If i can learn how to relax each of the joints individually and still maintain intensity, I will be able to progress even further into my studies...