Reboot and SCOR

If there has been one theme in this blog, it has been the continual promise that I’ll get on it someday.  With my upcoming visit to New England SCOR tomorrow, I thought it might be a good chance to get the blog-cogs turning again.  I’ll try not to make it sound like a commercial, but it will be my first experience at an adult music camp, so I’ll try to get in some detailed experiences.

My playing has been taking a beating during a recent intense project.  Hopefully this will help with the ole’ motivation.

Does anybody have some first time stories they’d like to share?  Please comment below!

The road gets bumpy.


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My practice is increasing as my headaches from looking at the gas bubble in my eye wane.  It’s barely a distraction anymore and I can see the music now.  I’m working on Schroeder #26, which has combinations of 6 note bows, 2 note bows, and single note bows. I still need to get this smooth.    I still would like to take it easy and hope I’m one of the twenty percent who don’t need cataract surgery after my procedure.

The moral of this story is to practice today because as you get older, there are more health issues, and more family illness to care for.  Since t his is a journal about starting the cello at mid-life, this is relevant.  I once thought I had twenty-five years to learn what I need to before retirement.  Now, I realize it’s effectively more like fifteen to twenty.  Of course, this is just for planning purposes.  If I stay healthy, there’s no reason I can’t keep learning.woodland-road-falling-leaf-natural-38537.jpeg

On my G minor scale, focusing on intonation from C down to G in the third octave.  There are enough resonating notes here, and I wonder what is the best strategy to stay in tune.  I’d like to train my ear to hear that high G and just “know” it’s right.  That can be my home base for coming back down.

In bowing in general, Aurora tells me I need to think about the trajectory of the bow first and let my arm follow, or as she puts it “let the bow move your arm”.

New Posting Schedule

This will help keep me predictable with my readers without burdening me with habits I won’t keep.

Second and fourth Sunday of every month.  It’s challenging to practice and blog about it.  An audio or video will be posted on each fourth Sunday.


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


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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.