"The key to longevity is to learn every aspect of music that you can." -Prince
Let's start our lessons with New York cellist and artist Amy Kang. Tip: if you're in New York, you'll definitely want to check out her next performance in person.
I was first exposed to the cello before I can even remember. My mom was studying piano at a conservatory, and her classmate played the cello. That’s when I was first introduced to it. I took some lessons but started playing more seriously at about fifth or sixth grade when I joined the school orchestra.
Many people say that the closest thing to the human voice is the cello and I agree! I love the cello because of its range – it can be both the bass and the melody. Both are so satisfying. My favorite thing about playing is having a conversation with other musicians through music. It’s exciting when you say something through your instrument and you hear someone else in the group responding to you in a musical context.
I play in all different kinds of venues - concert halls, jazz clubs, old churches... they all have a different energy, and audiences are engaged with the music in different ways. I do love playing in large halls, but I also love it in a smaller venue or club where you can hear someone reacting to the music with a gasp, a squawk, or a sigh. That's why live music is so special - it's a dynamic, living thing, and both the performers and the audience play an important part.
I was on tour in Japan and Korea last month with a contemporary tango ensemble I play with. And earlier this year, thanks to music, I had the opportunity to explore Panama and Poland for the first time. It's fun going on the road, especially with musicians who also happen to be your friends! And performing is an intimate way of connecting with the people who live there. You meet so many amazing people.
The next show I’m playing in New York City is February 5th at Mezzrow. I’ll be playing with the JP Jofre Hard Tango Chamber Band. Mezzrow is one of the greatest jazz clubs in New York with live music of the highest level, every night of the week - I highly recommend it. I'm also working on a new duo with Grammy-winning pianist Fernando Otero.
For anyone starting out in music, I'd say go for every opportunity that comes your way because you never know what will stick. You might find yourself going down a road you never expected or imagined! Learn from everything and everyone with a wide open mind.
Follow Amy and her music on Instagram at @amykang1 and her website at www.amykang.com.