Asher Elliott, 17, has been a PCM student since 2014 and currently studies cello with Andrew Cook. He is a high school senior with hopes of attending college overseas in the UK. Read about the impact cello has had on Asher’s life, his many other interests, and his goals for the future.
When did you start playing the cello? What drew you to it?
I started to play cello just before my 10th birthday, in 2016. Prior to studying cello, I was in the Young musicians program. When I was about to age out of it, Ms. Rachel encouraged me to select an instrument. I was torn between whether I wanted to play cello or violin, because I liked stringed instruments. At the end of the Young musicians program that year, I got to play with a cellist in a concert, and that was the deciding factor. It gave me a chance to see the cello played by a student. I loved how it sounded, so I decided I wanted to play the cello.
How has playing the cello, or music in general, shaped you as a person?
Playing cello has given me an appreciation for all musical artists. Learning to play an instrument well is extremely hard; it’s more than just playing notes. Playing cello has also given me a chance to express myself in a new way. The cello has also helped me learn to work hard, and stick with something even when it is not easy. Whether it was a hard piece that I was trying to learn, or I was struggling with a certain aspect of the instrument I kept going. I’m so glad I did, because it has been very rewarding. It has given me a strong sense of accomplishment whenever I’ve perfected a piece or played well.
Have you had a musical experience that has been particularly meaningful and/or memorable?
I have one memorable moment. I was playing in a concert and I was having trouble with my memory. There was one part in particular that I had messed up in my rehearsal. When I got to that part I had a moment of doubt, I ended up messing up the part. Thankfully I managed to get back on track quickly, so not many people noticed. Unfortunately, this happened a few more times. I managed to get back on track each time so it wasn’t a disaster. After the recital, I realized I am good at recovering. It gave me confidence knowing I could recover after a mistake.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years? What are your goals for the future?
In the fall of next year, I plan to attend college overseas. I was offered an opportunity to play soccer in the UK while attending university there. I plan to major in Business Management. After college, I would love to continue to play soccer at the highest level possible, and ultimately plan to work in the business sector.
Outside of music, what other activities do you enjoy?
Outside of playing music, I enjoy reading, playing video games, and playing soccer, which is my biggest passion. I currently play at the Elite Academy level. I also really enjoy watching the sport, and supporting my favorite team, Liverpool FC.
Do you have a favorite composer or piece and why?
I don’t have a favorite composer, of course I do like Bach or Mozart. As for my favorite piece, I learned to play Musette op. 24 by Offenbach. It is my favorite piece to play. I found it very fun to practice.
You have two brothers who are also talented musicians. How has growing up in a household surrounded by musicians impacted you?
Growing up with two older brothers made me competitive. They started playing their instruments before I did so they were always more advanced than I was, but that only kept me going. It motivated me to practice because I wanted to catch up to them in skill. It also gave me an appreciation for different instruments. I would hear them practice everyday, and that gave me a different perspective on playing. I would also often see my brothers on the PCM monitors in the hallways, and it made me determined to get on there myself. I have one year left to make it happen.
What is one thing that people might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a quiet person, so most people wouldn’t know but I have pretty good comedic timing. I’m good with one-liners.