OK, I don’t really do that! But somebody asked me, when I was at a concert tonight, when I go to cello concerts, what do I watch for? I answered that I try not to watch too closely, and focus instead on the music. That’s the politically correct answer, anyway. After all, so much of cello playing is internal. In that regard, it’s very similar to aikido. As an internal art, it can be hard to discern what is making a technique ‘work’ just by watching.
Tonight, I went to see my teacher, Dan perform along with another cellist (David DeLoes(check spelling) the Vivaldi concerto for two cellos and a Popper duet as an encore. I enjoyed it greatly, but do not feel qualified to write a real review of the piece. I tend to sort of filter out Vivaldi when I just hear recordings, but to listen live, and hear every nuance of the orchestra, made his music feel a bit more relevant.
Although the music is paramount, it is still fun to watch cellists move, especially since I’m trying to learn the art myself. One generalization is that while I try not to zoom in too intensely, I do ‘sneak peek’ at the following
- Does s/he seem to be enjoying the music, but without getting too theatrical
- What does the bow hand and arm look like? However, once the music really gets going, I try to focus on the actual music I’m paying to listen to.
- Where is the cellist playing, in terms of distance from the bridge.
- Since I have issues with engaging the shoulders when I shouldn’t, how do they manage their shoulders?
- I don’t watch the left hand too closely, since that’s where cello players get into the “do what I say, not what I did last night” act. Too many exceptions, although tonight I did check out what Dan looked like in thumb position.
- Watch the cellist body during vibrato from time to time
So, in conclusion, music is paramount, not technique, but I do occasionally steal glances.
As for practice today – lots and lots of Minuet #3, C minor section. Just tried to solve the shifts on the first line. I mapped out a plan to make the shift more accurate and drilled that multiple times. Practiced for abut an hour and a half, after fifteen minute scale warm up (G major)