As I come towards the end of my third year of cello playing, I ask myself what is changing? I am tackling larger groups of notes, 4 or 8 usually and trying to think of how to play them as a unit. How will my hand shape be prepared, and how far can I go in that current position? Without stalling the bow?
When I’m practicing, I am experiencing more presence of mind lately. Instead of playing a section over and over until I like it, I’m saying “now, hold on Michael; precisely what problem are you trying to solve right now?”. And I realized that for my current piece it was getting the bow zipping along so that I had plenty of bow for my harmonic A. There were other problems, but I now have more categories of understanding so I can define what kind of problem I want to solve, to a certain degree, of course.
I am also spending more time on rhythmic practice than I used to, although I do wish I had started that much sooner.
So, I cautiously say that cello life has been rewarding lately.