Monday, July 6, 2015


I'm in Lubec, Maine, at the start of a week of cello lessons, practice, and playing with others. I was here once before, in the summer of 1999, I believe, after I had been playing the cello for about a year. I spent the week trying to perfect "The Happy Farmer," at the end of Suzuki Book 1. My teacher, Peter Levy, grew increasingly frustrated with my inability to get the bowings right. Finally, just before he was about to clobber me, I played it through correctly.

Summerkeys was kind of a lonely experience the first time. I stayed in a motel on Campobello Island, about ten miles from Lubec because someone had recommended Campobello Island. Nearly everyone else was staying in town, within walking distance from the building were lessons were offered and people gathered to practice. Also, most of the other students were much more accomplished than I and I couldn't really relate to what they were working on.

But, it was, all in all, a good experience. So, when my friend Marisa (a fellow lapsed cello blogger) texted me to say she was going up to Lubec this summer and could she stay with us on here way up (it is a two-day drive for her), I said sure, and I'll come with you to SummerKeys too.

We drove up to Lube yesterday from Cape Cod. Including stops, it took about 8 hours. Our motel is very pleasant, two double beds and lots of extra space for two cellos to play, refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, and views of sunrise and sunset. It's about 2.5 miles from town, which is not really walking distance with a cello, but feels close, and not at all isolated, like last time.

We met the cello teacher, Joachim Woitun, and  most of the other cello students--there are seven of us altogether, plus a lone violinist, a couple of flutes and clarinets, and about 10 classical guitar/classical mandolin students. Most of the cello students seem very accomplished, and most seem to be repeat attenders--a little more frequently than I have attended. I have brought music that I am struggling to play: Faure's Elegy and Scicilienne, and three movements from the first Bach Cello Suite (Prelude, Minuets 1 and 2), but feeling somewhat inadequate about. Hope to make progress this week!

This morning, we have a music lecture and a group cello class, followed by free time, individual practice time, and lessons. There is a group supper tonight.

SummerKeys has grown a lot in the past 15 years. I think lessons and practice were in only one or two buildings back then. This year events are spread out over numerous buildings, churches, and schools.

And this year, Lube has Internet and phone service! Last time I went, my cell phone was useless here.

Time for breakfast!