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The purpose of this blog really is to be as factual as possible, with the occasional “purpose of life” rants, to track the progress of an adult beginner. Most entries will be pretty dry – “I tried this, or I worked on that” kind of entries. I’ll condense those into shorter ‘practice log’ entries and tag them. This way, after a year, I can look back and see what was covered.

One thing that my teacher keeps telling me, which I find encouraging, is not to polish a piece to perfection right now. Move on, learn new skills and practice them, then come back periodically to replay the earlier pieces. It is not necessary to wait until a unit is ‘totally mastered’ in order to move on. What does that mean, anyway?

We did lots of foundational stuff on posture today. In a similar vein to playing the music, it was worthwhile to step back and review posture thoroughly since I had been Mr. Tension the past few days. What really fascinated me was the notion that my body is part of this dynamical system that includes the cello, bow, and myself, and how I conduct and hold my body will actually affect my tone. I had understood, at least intellectually, the benefits of economy of motion. The idea that the system is sensitive enough so that posture affects tone was a revelation.

Moving from physical to mental structure: I keep seeing parallels between language learning and music learning. When I learned French in seventh grade, we did it by ear for three months before seeing the text. But eventually, since we were not babies, we had to learn grammar. Grammar gives older brains the structure to absorb more information quickly. Adult (and adolescent) learners don’t have time to learn like we did from our mothers. Thus, I really want to get moving on learning some music theory as I get going so that I’m not just learning utterances, but also phrases and eventually sentences and paragraphs.