Cello Prodigy: Vanesa Farooq

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Cello Prodigy: Vanesa Farooq

Vanesa Farooq '20 playing the cello. Photo by Rebekah Barnabas

Vanesa Farooq '20 playing the cello. Photo by Rebekah Barnabas

Vanesa Farooq '20 playing the cello. Photo by Rebekah Barnabas

Vanesa Farooq '20 playing the cello. Photo by Rebekah Barnabas

Rebekah Barnabas and Ella Shi

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Maybe you’ve heard Vanesa Farooq ’20 playing her cello at mass, or seen her strolling the halls as an ambassador leading a school tour, or perhaps you are only familiar with her name. Well, however much you know about her, the Royal Reporter is here to shed some light on Vanesa’s cello playing career.

Vanesa started her career as a musician learning how to play the piano, like one typically does. However, like many musicians, the piano was not for her–at all–and served as the starting point to venture off into other instruments. Although Vanesa did not initially wish to play the cello, she found herself learning the cello because, in her father’s words, the Farooq family is a ‘cello family’. (Vanesa’s sister is a professional cellist and music teacher).

Vanesa has been playing the cello ever since she was 9 years old. In her words, “Learning the cello was difficult. I contained absolutely no innate talent on the cello, and it makes me laugh that people think I’m just naturally good at it.”

Vanesa has spent hundreds to thousands of hours practicing to get to where she is now, and when she just started, she had to spend many hours dedicated simply to having the correct posture to play the cello.

Vanesa Farooq ’20 practicing in the music room on campus. Photo by Rebekah Barnabas

During her first eight years of playing the cello, Vanesa has received numerous awards like “Outstanding Musician 2014 Glenknoll Elementary”and “Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District Honors Orchestra Principal cellist” aka the best cellist her age in the Placentia Yorba Linda population.

Vanesa has played at numerous recitals, competitions, auditions, and symphonies, and is currently part of the Orange County Youth Symphony, an extremely competitive and elite symphony which accepts only around 10 cellists a year. Because of this, Vanesa has been able to play for around 40,000 people. On top of this, she plays at concerts all over Orange County to help educate children in the classical arts.

In order to get to where Vanesa is now, she had to pour in hours of practice. On a typical day, Vanesa practices for about 2 hours a day, consisting of doing scales and technical practice, and then working on concertos, which are solo pieces. When Vanesa is preparing for a recital, she spends about an additional hour working on her concertos, and when there is a symphony coming up, Vanesa has to attend a 3 hour rehearsal every Sunday.

Vanesa is definitely amazing at what she does, but she wants to stress that she wasn’t born a prodigy, in fact she started off at a disadvantage due to her tiny hands (which makes playing the cello more difficult). However, with hours of hard work and dedication, anyone can become a “prodigy” if you put in the work and effort.

Keep up the good work Vanesa!

 

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