We talked about body balance and developing a feeling of balance in the upper body so we don’t have back pain. Musically, we attacked some problems in Kummer #44, and then moved on to the Kol Nidre. After the first two lines, I need to learn to hit the C that comes in the next figure. The lesson concluded with a discussion of how to do this.

Since I had been experiencing back pain, the bulk of the lesson was spent on the “ground support system” . As I move downbow (to my right) my body has to “extend ki” towards the left. Ki is loosely defined as “intention of energy flow”. A better description is given here. But I need to imagine the tension spilling down my right foot, which is drawing power from the earth. However, I must avoid actually leaning my body left. That’s overdoing it.

Similarly on the up bow, I need to keep my back in equilibrium by releasing tension through my left foot and “extending ki” leftward.

We’ll be practicing this on scales until we’ve got it down. Dan told me not to sweat this on the Kummer. That will take more time.

Moving on to the Kummer, I had the point of the bowing exercise all wrong. This was my first exercise where bow distribution is critical. I really need to zip down the bow, since the first note has the same length as the next three, but uses three times as much bow. I will post the actual music this week. In order to accomplish this, I need to use the elbow opening mechanism rather than the arm swinging mechanism. I had forgotten how to do this.

Finally, we reviewed the Kol Nidre, which also has similar bowing distribution problems to solve in the first two lines. It has been a while since I touched this piece. On the sighing parts (Kol Ni-drei v’esarei) we need to be downbow since the nature of downbow slurs is to make the second note lighter which is perfect for sighing. Finally, Dan was able to hit the 3d octave C that comes on the third line while keeping his thumb on the neck, but I couldn’t. So, the final bit of the lesson was the C major scale, 3d octave and I had to use thumb position to hit the high C.

The aspects of thumb position on the A string that we covered included starting with my 1 on E and thumb on D, then moving the whole assembly up (in pitch) with the hand in the closed position until my 1 is on A and thumb remains one step behind.

OK, so that was a rather long and detailed post. Sometimes I need to do this to relieve my mental burden, and demonstrate precisely where I am without a lot of self-analysis or philosophizing. I also think it benefits other cellists who can see where I am on the road and where I put my stakes in ground.