Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 09:49:58
26 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Author: Marianne Ide
Illustrations/Images by Asya Lisina

May/June 2017
Page 38   ( 2 pages)

Summary: There are many ways to learn music, but just one 
“Russian Way,” as cellist Marianne Ide finds out.


And so it went.

Week after week, I tripped down the cobblestones to the Tbilisi State Conservatory for my lessons with Misha, the Russian god of all things cello.

After my first lesson, we had established that I knew absolutely nothing about the cello, and he made it his mission to teach me properly. We also confirmed that we had virtually no language in common. He spoke Russian, Georgian, and German, and I spoke English and nearly incomprehensible Spanish. Misha smiled his beautiful smile, which hid the demon underneath, and said in broken English, “Is ok. Music is international language.” All I could think was, oh, if wishing made it so, my friend. But we moved on.

He sat facing me, knee to knee, while I played open strings; we weren’t moving on to actual notes until my bow and my strings formed a perfect 90-degree angle, and I released my crazy death grip on the base of my bow.

Sometimes he would hold both ends of my bow in his hands and saw back and forth, like some sort of bizarre tree cutting ritual. Every week. For an hour.

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