“Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does–humans are a musical species.” —Oliver Sacks, “Migraine”, p.445, Vintage, 2013
Western art music is a tradition that has come down to us in an unbroken written record since the eighth and ninth centuries. The cello, along with the other members of the violin family, joined that tradition in the mid- to late 16th century. Learning the cello allows one to interact with all of the creative minds that have written for the instrument from that time down to the present day.
By learning to play from the page, a musician can join with others they may never have met before and together bring music to life. Regardless of skill level, many people have made life-long friends all across the world because of the shared bond of making music. Organizations such as the Associated Chamber Music Players introduce musicians to one another.
Skills learned from studying a musical instrument transfer to other aspects of life. For example, research shows that music students have higher academic exam scores than their non-musical peers. Musicians learn to work together with others to achieve common goals. This in turn requires learning time management, communication skills, and how to respect others.