Studying the cello


“People often say to me…”

When I am asked how I came to play the violin, I’m inclined to cite The Ladykillers (1955):

As the gang is plotting their robbery, posing as a string quintet while they play a recording of the Boccherini Minuet, sweet little old Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) takes them by surprise—so to maintain the deceit they have to hurriedly pick up their instruments (which they can’t actually play). The magnificently obtuse One-round (Bernard Bresslaw) is clutching a cello like a sledgehammer:

Mrs Wilberforce: “May I ask you where you studied?”

One-round: “…Well, I didn’t really study any place, Lady… I just sort of… picked it up.”

I still can’t help thinking of the scene whenever I hear that minuet.

This leads nicely to Muso speak: excuses and bravado. For more convincing mastery of the cello, see here; and for Hugh Maguire leading the Allegri quartet in another Boccherini minuet, here. See also Learning the piano.

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