new cello teacher comes into her new studio and encounters some strange things.
| Rays of sun tinkled into the blinded windows to leave lines of light reflecting off of the charcoal-wooden floor. The room was small, but perfectly fit for a studio. The old oak-covered, grand Yamaha piano in the corner took up most of the space, leaving an area towards the door for a cheap black music stand. Sherine took a deep breath as she took in her new investment.
“It’s a little small, but way more than I asked for,” she said to herself.
She took in another breath and walked over to the ancient piano. She set down her black binder on the bench and put her cello case on the floor as she gazed at the piano.
“I didn’t exactly ask for a piano, either…but I guess it could come in handy,” she said, as she lifted the cover to the keys. It made a screeching noise that made her squint as she pulled the cover open. Once open, she could see that the keys looked yellow and stained, as if the owner before her couldn’t stop playing. She gently pressed one finger down on a key that made no sound.
“Hm. A piano that doesn’t work…sweet,” she said as she shrugged.
“You’re supposed to press harder,” came an accented voice behind her.
Sherine turned her head towards the door to see a bearded intruder. Not realizing she wasn’t alone, Sherine arose from her lean and let out a slight chuckle, as she fidgeted her hands.
“I…uh…yeah, I’m not really experienced with pianos,” she said.
The man looked like he was in his fifties, with dark eyes like small charcoal pebbles, also sporting a somber beard that lay over his neck. He had on a long, blue robe that reached the floor till she could see the small sandals that were underneath. To Sherine, he looked somewhat middle-eastern, but he could have been Spanish, she wasn’t sure. The man raised an eyebrow as he pointed to the cello case on the floor.
“Hm. And you call yourself a musician. Every musician, wind, strings, and bass should know the basics of the piano. Especially if you’re going to be a teacher,” he said in his accented voice that the woman was struggling to identify.
She opened her mouth to reply, but nothing came out. The man waved his hand in the air.
“Americans,” he mumbled, as he turned and left the room, quietly closing the door.
The woman stood facing the door for a moment.
“Well, that was promising,” she said.
Sherine figured that he must have been the man in whom she was renting the studio from. She had never actually met the man in person, since every bit of communication had been done over email correspondence.
“It would have been nice if he could at least introduce himself. Great. My first week being here, and I’m already getting mocked,” she said.
She turned back to the piano and rested one finger on the instrument again, this time using her whole body to press down on the same key she did before. Suddenly, a note plunged out of the piano. It was stale and out of tune, but still audible.
“Well cool, at least the piano works…not that I’ll play it much,” she said.
She reached to the floor to pick up her cello case and un-zipped it. Then she got her bow out and began to tighten it. Sherine walked towards the door to get the music stand and brought it near the piano and laid her bow on the stand as she got out her music from the binder.
“It would be nice if they could give me a simple chair,” she said.
The people who used this studio last must have been a player of an instrument that didn’t require a chair like the cello did. Either that, or this used to be a piano studio.
She sat on the bench and picked up her cello, which was lying sideways on the floor. The woman searched through her music to find the recent piece she was working on. She put it on the music stand when she found the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. This piece was to be played steady and beautifully, for there are many cellists who can easily mess it up. She stared at the music on the stand that was laughing back at her. Sherine was hoping that in this practice round she could as least make it to the second page without messing up.
She put a lock of her orange hair behind her ear and took a deep breath. She picked up her bow and placed the rosined horse hair on the tight strings. She began to play.
Sherine played the beginning with strong emphasis. The melody that she played many times wasn’t so difficult anymore, it was the accidentals and changing of the key signature on page two and three that she was worried about. She could feel the vibration of the instrument as she played, and her blood pumped faster as her fingers hit the steel strings. Her hand moved across the figure board as she hit higher notes. She added vibration to the notes with her vibrato; the slight movement of her figures on the string created a singing-edge to the song. It was the rosin dust that scattered every time she played that gave her the thrill of playing the cello. It was the joy of making musical tones and melodies that no other ordinary person could make. It was the triumph of finishing a difficult piece and moving on to another challenge after that that made her love to play the cello.
Sherine moved through the first page, playing the written slurs, when a knock came from the door and echoed through the melody of the room. Sherine’s bow flew to the other side of the room in surprise, screeching an un-recognizable note across the D string as it was accidentally launched. It made a clash noise as the tip hit the wall and dropped to the floor, leaving a slight dent in the already-damaged-walls.
Sherine gasped and stood up, looking to the bow that she clumsily let fall out of her bow-hold, and the cleft that it left in the wall of her new studio.
Then another knock came, this time sounding similar to a tune known as “Pop-Goes-The Weasel.”
The woman hesitated, and began to move to the door after setting her cello back down on the floor.
“Uh, coming!” she said.