Lesson Notes 2018 March 2



I am continuing to get better, based on third-party feedback, which is good.  Here’s a quick update on the most recent lesson.

  • Beethoven Minuet in G (#5, Suzuki Book 3) :
    • Gentle but confident shifts. Specifically, don’t “slam” into the fourth position just because I have a physical cue.
    • Make the measure 1,5,7, and 13 dotted patterns more even.
    • Have more fun with the Trio section.  Getting those upbow staccato sections will take some time.  I can always add those to my scales, right?
  • Schroeder #25:  Think about the “wrench level” analogy for LH for playing in higher positions on the C and G strings.
  • 3 Octave D minor: Yay! New scale.  I ‘m pretty sure my A-minor is not a “pity pass”





Shoulder Lock


With regard to the Scherzo: I learned something interesting at the last lesson – that I’m seriously locking my shoulder instead of just dropping all my weight into the bow.

With scales – continue working on that third octave coming down.  The only nice thing I can say about it is that the harmonic helps me find BOTH A’s, and now I need to work through this until I know it cold and can play it smoothly.

Schroeder has been back-burnered for a while, but it’s coming out again so I can put in a good 7+ hour week of practicing.


Schroeder 25


, ,

Working on intonation primarily and keeping my LH steady. I had noticed in the mirror I was “typing” way too much. But this led me to realize I don’t have a comfortable feeling for extended positions. So, I’m just going to work on A and D major scales with as natural a LH until I do.

Other pieces seem to be coming along nicely, including my third position piece in C minor from Mooney, which I’ll write about tomorrow.


Lesson Update 12/15

Moving up to the current date, my counting is definitely better, although subdividing rhythms remains a challenge.  As for my current lesson, the status looks as follows:

  • Scherzo: try memorizing so you can really focus on dynamics.  The dynamics were too level.  Play with bravado, particularly on the sforzando.
  • Schroeder: pay attention to drawing a straight bow, particularly on the A string.
  • Start practicing more duets!  Today, we worked over a four-voiced holiday song.  My intonation, particularly on the F needs work.  I’m not sure how to manage this sort of thing for a particular note.  I’m supposed to listen for whether a note fit the chords “already in the air”.  It’s still a mystery to me.


December 2017 Bi-weekly update

It’s been nine years and a couple of days since my first lesson back in 2008.  Biggest highlight of my experience since the accident in 2014 was getting involved with Bloomsburg Preparatory School of Music and joining their New Strings Ensemble program (now called Concert League of Fine Musicians).  I didn’t realize how much I had to learn about basic musicality and staying in tune with others, but it’s also opened up new horizons. I thought I’d be in it for two seasons and most, then progress to the advanced group.   This did not happen, although being in the group has definitely made me a better and more musical player.  Doing simple things in performance is harder than it sounds.  Just staying focused enough to count is a challenge.  But the conductor (and school director) says I’m getting there.

We finished our performance for the fall semester, so now I can get back to focusing on my lesson pieces.

Here’s the update, from the 11/17 lesson

  • Scherzo (Webster).  Focus on accenting the first note of four-note group.  Shift as a unit.
  • Mooney Position Pieces. Same comment on shifting.  Get used to third position.  Double check where the thumb goes.  Feel generally good about these. but keep checking intonation on 4.
  • Schroeder #23:  Do groups of 4 rather than 8, which is what was written.  Be economical in motion, and focus on the gear shifting rather than wrist flicking mode.


C. Webster Scherzo


I finally managed to get a cello lesson scheduled after an overlong , four-week hiatus that was a combination of issues at the music school and health issues with me.  Both seem to hvae been successfully resolved. Four weeks was a long time to be without a lesson.  I thought I was doing much better than I actually was.

Main issues were

  • Vibrato – using fingers only instead of arm motion.  I thought I was, but when I really focused on my arm momentum, I realized I wasn’t.  Bodies are weird that way; you think you’re keeping your eye on the ball,but if you strike out, you weren’t.
  • Tempo – in order to play the slow section at a tempo that isn’t unberably slow,  I need to get the fast section at  80 beats per minute,  but that means 3/4 second per beat and therefore 3/4 seconds to get 4 16th notes in making each note 3/64 ths of a second.
  • Intonation – shifting needs to happen as a unit.  If my thumb stays back, everything goes flat.  Still wondering if I should have a tactile clue on the back of the cello’s neck for finding first position.  Then, my mind would release the thumb from having that duty for the time being.

12/1 will be my 9th anniversary of starting the cello, so I would like to go into that date with some momentum.