Today was the cello day from hell.
I often ask myself- why do I not keep my promise to put recordings up here? Partially because I hate how I sound, and I make a recording session into a multi-hour ordeal, wasting my time colossally and possibly repeating mistakes.
I know all the nice cello things to say about process when somebody is frustrated. They didn’t help me much, largely because I was guilty of the “4th graders can do it better” conundrum.
What I actually need to do, while i am in the process of getting things right and learning the notes, is to record like I practice – get small sections down, do exercise creation and record those as well. Each gets its own little snippet. Also, set a limit for the number of takes you will tolerate before giving up. Never do more than 5.
Here’s what I learned from recording the Minuet #1 from Suzuki Book 2
1. The shift to second position also involves a string change. So, left and right really need to be coordinated.
2. Focus on the notes, not the fingers. I know what it should sound like. If I think only of the fingers, I may go to the wrong string.
3. Articulate the first measure- all three notes. Same in third.
4. Pay attention to phrasing, but that comes after I feel that my fingers know where the notes are. There I can pay attention to the four bar phrases. I’d like to know more about how understanding the structure of the piece helps me play better.
5. Do not take first position for granted. Keep a handshape, and stay consistent with it.
6. Slow down and listen. Don’t just get through it. Nobody can hear on a recording that you “nailed that shift” – they just want the piece to sound good.
This is just a first attempt – parts are good, and parts are really g-d awful. But we’ll chronicle the progress.