For One Cellist, Pop Beats Classical

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Whenever I play Bach at the BART station, I get thrown a few dollars. But as soon as I start playing Adele, the money starts to roll in.

I’ve been studying classical cello for the past six years.

Tackling the Top 40 is a refreshing break from the daily regime of scales and bowing exercises. Not only am I more engaged in what I’m playing, but so are the people who listen. Sometimes, the long melodious lines of classical music are a bit too soothing. I want to energize people with my cello playing, not bore them to death.

Some people prefer the complexity of classical music, but I appreciate the simplicity of pop. It takes months to understand the musical structures Beethoven used, but it only takes a minute to get a Bruno Mars hook stuck in your head.

For me, that’s what music is about — connecting with listeners. That’s why I choose to play pop songs that everyone can relate to. While I might be labelled as “less talented” in the classical world, showing off my technique by playing the great classics is less important than people enjoying the music I play.


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