I practiced many hours this week, but apparently not in a way that was helpful.When it came time to perform today, I really had things messed up.  Here is a list of problems and possible solutions we came to.   Finally, I’ll end with some good news.

Big news is that I am using a new cello now – an Eastman 205.  Very warm sound, but still bright enough.

First, the bad news

  • Whale Song: Mooney – Position Pieces: Hand drifting south on subsequent shifts to second position.  Keep left hand position constant.  Try to keep fingers actually in place on momentary crossings where I have to return.
    • Instead of playing the music as written, when there is an opportunity to test against an open string, play that double stop instead.
    • Take up the harp – all pizzicato on open strings.
    • Use the mirror to watch my left hand.  I bought a mirror, but having trouble installing it because I think there’s concrete behind these panels.  Might just get a free-standing mirror as Nancy recommended.
  • Schroeder – # 12
    • Still rushing the beat
      • Need more practice splitting the beat – used kinesthetic technique of beating hand against both leg and hand to create eighth notes out of a quarter
      • Slow down
      • Quit Playing Cello
    • I think the piece is actually in good shape, despite the rhythm problems, which we will work on.
  • Scales
    • Play more legato – instead of playing true quarters, I was playing dotted eighths, followed by a rest
    • Start mid bow for now
    • Consider starting at 16ths, and working my way back to wholes rather than the other way around. I forgot why we said to do this.
  • Arpeggio Studies – Susan Brown, 2 Octave Scales
    • I couldn’t remember the notes, with the exception of the major arpeggio
    • After playing C major scale, I’m supposed to do these arpeggios in this order. Note each changes by only one note.
    • I couldn’t do a single one right, except C major, which I have a good feeling for.
      • C minor (C-Eb-G)
      • C major (C-E-G)
      • A minor (C-E-A)
      • F major (C-F-A)
      • F minor (C-F-Ab)
    • Make sure I can do this without memorizing (and thus avoiding looking at the music).
    • The stand light is my friend.
  • Still debating whether to do my shifting practice with or without tape markings.  I’d prefer to avoid them, but a second position tape marker might save me some time in learning the tactile distance.  I think though, it creates too much temptation to avoid solving problems.
  • Orchestra Performance
    • Know a piece well enough to look up at the conductor while playing and return and not get lost.  Include this in my practice, next time I’m in New Strings Ensemble.

The Good News

  • Teacher is optimistic we can make a great deal of progress in a year, once we fix up these foundational issues.
  • My feelings aren’t really hurt, despite the title.  I took up cello to both learn the cello and learn basic music skills and theory.  I’m learning them now.  The amount of detail we covered was impressive.
  • I now have one performance under my belt!  I can now say I’ve performed and carried my weight.  Those who followed my blog know I once sat in my son’s orchestra for a summer. That doesn’t count.
  • Half position shift while keeping 4 in place was in good shape.