Any advice and opinions are greatly appreciated.
I played cello through the Suzuki method from the age of about eight until eleven, and completed the preliminary, grade one and grade two levels with great success. I flew through the Suzuki books and was on Suzuki book four by the time I gave it up for a year due to family circumstances.
I then went back to the cello for two years until I was fourteen and completed grade three to an OK standard, but nothing fantastic. My interest and playing standard were definitely not as good as before. I gave up the cello because I wasn't interested anymore. I had lost the spark of when I was playing the first time.
Anyway, fast forward another two years and I took it up for six months to basically practice for the practical element of a music exam in my country's exam system. (So while I was playing, I wasn't learning anything particularly new or advancing through the grade system.)
And then a few month's later I took it up on a recreational basis with a cello teacher for a year, without doing anything in the grade system, yet I was doing pieces I enjoyed like the Prelude from Bach's Suite No. 1, and to a reasonable standard at that.
So here I am a year later at seventeen, and I really regret giving up the cello the very first time. I'd love to join my local youth symphony orchestra and would love to go back to the cello, and properly at that.
Is it too late to get really good at the cello? How fast can I move up along the grades or do they have to be done a year at a time? Could I do grade five instead of doing grade four or would I be wasting my time? Like could I do the grade four stuff with a teacher and then move onto grade five within the one year?
And what is the typical standard for youth symphony orchestras in small cities? What grade level?
I'd be really grateful for any help and encouragement from cellists, teachers and the like with this!