One of my twins Rani takes cello lessons and she informed me a few weeks ago that she is ready for an adult or rather a big cello instrument. “What’s wrong with the one you have? I asked her. It looked pretty big to me already.
And Rani in her ultimate wisdom informs me, “Mom, I am 15 now, not a little kid anymore, the one I have is from Middle School, I’m in High School now and it’s time for me to get a big cello.” This was my reaction 😢😢. My little twins were growing up.
School was about to start and we had to get a new cello soon, so we headed to Komimoto Strings in San Jose, California to get Rani’s big cello. Since neither Rani nor I had any idea how to pick a cello I asked Rani’s music teacher Ms. Nataschia if she could meet us at the music store to help us. Ms. Nataschia agreed and we set a date for our cello-selecting excursion.
Kamimoto String Instruments is a charming music store in downtown San Jose. It is housed in a small cottage, so small in fact that we kept driving past it a few times before we realized that the little building was the music store. It has been in business for over 50 years since 1967. Ms. Nataschia informed us that she used to come to the store as a kid and would spend countless hours playing the various instruments here – the store personnel never minded.
In this little cottage are rooms that house all sorts of string instruments. Hundreds of musical instruments such as violins, cellos, basses, and violas are available for rent or for purchase. To rent a cello alone they had over 50 cellos to choose from. For a few moments surrounded by so many beautiful classical instruments I felt I was transported to Salzburg, Austria.
One of the rooms in the cottage was a dedicated musical instrument repair shop. Here I spoke to the friendliest elderly gentleman who was fixing a cello with tools that looked like they were from a bygone era.
When we were ready to make our cello selection we were directed to a small room that housed over ten cellos for our consideration.
Rani’s teacher explained that the best way to select a new cello was to actually play the cello. She explained that each cello has a different sound, resonance, echo, string tightness, and most importantly how comfortable the artist is playing it.
The only way for Rani to know which instrument was the right one for her was to play. So we got started with Rani playing a few notes on the cellos in the room.
To make sure that we were picking a good cello, our music teacher played the same ones as well.
When Rani finished playing all the cellos in the room we asked for a couple more to try out. More cellos from another room were brought to us for us to try.
Rani and Ms. Nataschia played over seven cellos before we narrowed our choice down to two. The pale golden colored cello had a much louder and grander sound while the dark brown cello sounded more subdued and elegant.
Rani would have preferred the golden/peachy colored cello for how beautiful it looked, but she chose the brown cello for how comfortable she felt playing it. With our new cello selection made we signed the rental agreement and got ready to head home.
This was a new and fun experience for both Rani and myself. It was a great way to spend some wonderful time surrounded by beautiful classical instruments listening to musicians play while they made their selection.
A very special thank you to Ms. Nataschia for joining us on this cello-shopping excursion.
“Music is God’s gift to man,
the only art of heaven given to earth,
the only art of earth we take to heaven.”
by Walter Landor