Cello Dairies: Success Is What You Make It

It has never been my goal to really put a music CD out for everybody. I figured go in studio, record, share with the family…okay, my parents. So I guess by way of extravagant goals that’s about the height of my music goals. I do like to write lyrics and music. I realized the other day that I have technically been writing lyrics and creating my own songs since I was a little girl. I even remember the words for a song I used to sit on the stairs and sing. This was the song that always seemed to make my mother think the doorbell had been ringing and she missed it while in the kitchen cleaning up. I didn’t do it on purpose, honest, but for some reason I just decided to sing about a ringing doorbell. I liked that song. I might add it’s easy to remember the song because it really wasn’t that many words ;).

Fast forward several years and I was still walking around making up lyrics and creating music. The MP3 player came in handy with its record features because I could walk down the street or sit in the car and record. I started writing the music for cello. I will be honest, I suck at counting when it comes to music—I always have. I play better by ear. So the things I have written may not translate the same if somebody else plays it. I’m working on getting better with counting, but when I try to count and play I play very badly because for some reason I start missing, or changing, notes. I don’t know what that’s about.

So that brings me back to success. What is it really? Is it what somebody else dictates for you or is it what you determine for yourself? I think success is what you make it because only you know your goals and what will make you happy.

So what is my version of cello success?

  • When I make the positional shift and hit the right note.
  • When my bow does not play drunk while I’m trying to shift fingering positions.
  • When I can leave practice with at least a small thought of, “that wasn’t so bad.”
  • When I look back on my first encounter with cello and realize I learned to read a new clef without pause.

Success, for me, is every day I get the cello between my legs, even when I don’t feel like it, even when I’m thinking I’m never going to get this, but I still try. Success is not giving up even if I never reach the height of my goals.

In some ways, out of all the creative things I do, I think cello is making me a better person because it’s making me stop abusing myself with negative thoughts about who I am and what I can do. It’s making me realize that with practice, with determination, one note at a time, I can get somewhere—even if it’s not exactly where I thought I wanted to be; it’s most likely where I need to be.  Cello is the musical love of my life and just like any other love it takes work, persistence and time. I’m still working on being kinder to myself. It’s a process, much like learning to play cello only more difficult.

I was born into music and music was born into me. One day we’ll come together with cello and make perfect harmony.



  1. I love this. You are right success is how we view our selves. Not how other view us. I love your post I hope other get the sense of what you are saying.

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