binomial expansion of (a+b)^2

What does this have to do with cello?

My blog posts have been lagging my actual practice by a few days. I have been busy with other things, and busy isn’t really the right word. I’ve let too many flies in the door, and now I’m trying to shoo them all out. I cleared out my entire schedule this week for a deadline at work, but since I knew I wasn’t going to my regular lesson, I tried a Skype lesson with Emily Wright. It’s always good to get a second opinion from another cellist. My secret fear is that I’ll be told technique that totally contradicts my other technique. But that didn’t really happen.

I don’t want to give out the entire lesson, since she very subtly inferred that she had the proximity and motivation to TP my house (now that she’s no longer in CA), should I prove to give away too many trade secrets. The lesson focused on the first two lines of the Beethoven Minuet. Our first aim was to keep the bow speed steady through the dotted rhythms. She showed a remarkable ingenuity in coming up with exercises to split the right and left, and then recombine them. I pull a smooth bow, but sing the rhythm a few times. Then, and only then, do I introduce the left hand. It seemed to work pretty well, and it’s getting better with practice. By paying attention to “science”, the notes started to sound more musical. I like science. Also, Emily gets bonus points for using the phrase “binomial expansion” during a cello lesson.

The second exercise we did was to manage the up-bow slur that finishes up the second line. I need to not be afraid of the frog, and to do this, we practiced slurs with the first two notes, a half bow each. Then we went to three notes, with the last note slightly longer and trailing off. Finally, we did all four notes of the slur.

Of course, this barely expresses how fun and light-hearted the lesson was. I really was expecting her to be much harder on me, for some reason.

I do hope my few readers return from summer vacation and comment a bit, and I’ll do the same on the other blogs.