Jennie Khan

Freelance Cellist and Teacher

Jennie Khan is an Auckland based cellist and cello teacher. She has a variety of experience performing both here and in Europe and has been teaching students of all ages for many years.

What is it to be a Musician?

The intention of this blog is to share my experiences, ideas and advice to help you to become a better musician. To share techniques and philosophies on how you can improve your playing both physically and mentally. 

Despite having performed in orchestras and bands since a young age, and having taught since my late teens, for most of my life playing cello has been primarily for pleasure. And this is why I still play. Recently I have decided to embark on a journey to build a career as a cellist.

I really respect people that have become successful musicians, working their way up, scraping together enough to get by, and they keep at it. There are musicians that I know who have made themselves indispensable, be it as a writer/performer, an accompanist, or a backing musician. People want them, for their entertainment, recital or recording. I want to be one of these people.

Being a professional cellist is hard work, don't imagine that it's not. It takes years of lessons and ongoing practise to learn an instrument and advance your technique and musicality. There's always new things to learn and elements to refine. At times there seems to be an element of disdain from other regular 9-5ers who believe that playing music is just a hobby, we do it for fun. But these people may not understand the time and effort that goes into perfecting your art. Of course it is enjoyable, we couldn't do it if it wasn't. One needs to be in the right head space to really make the most of practice time, to really be able to convey those emotions and express what you mean to say with the music.

And this is what it's all about, expressing yourself, expressing passion. Composers have a message of their own to get across, but it is you  who is interpreting that message and presenting it in your own words, so the listener can understand. Your job is to invoke memories and emotions, to transport them to another place, to entertain them. You do this through your playing.

If you have persistence and dedication to music, you will develop the tools and techniques to be able to express yourself through  playing. Your passion and enjoyment for playing music will provide the motivation to perform and share your art with audiences. Music is there to bring people together. And this is what it is to be a musician.

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