Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Suzuki Method was OK

I wasn't that bad after all. I did play differently, based on what I heard. I played better for it. I even played at reasonably good speeds with a tolerably good sound. I was surprised at myself. For a few moments, I liked what I was hearing. It did help to listen to it being played out exactly as intended. After an hour and a half, I just closed my eyes and started working on one of the many songs lingering in my memory from when I was a kid - I eventually got it. I hope my new teacher won't discourage this.

I've got a nice setup, the CD is in my portable laptop, and the little remote unit (which stores in the computer's card slot) is on the music stand. For each piece, I'd listen to it through one time; then I'd play it a few times, listen again, and play it again. Meanwhile, the desktop is displaying the tuner/analyzer with the mike clothes-pinned to the music stand.

I'm worried that the CelloHeaven forum is grasping for life, right now. Although its membership has actually grown by almost 25% since I joined in early December, the rate of postings seems to be down (I've not actually dug through them to see if that's really true, actually). But, several days these past few weeks, it has gone more than 24 hours without any postings. Several of the formerly active long-term members seem to have dropped off. Maybe they got PSPs for xmas.

So why would a forum die? It just got a new sponsor, but the moderators haven't yet introduced themselves. I suspect Stringworks is planning to somehow incorporate its own forum into Cello Heaven. It's such a cool name - that feeling you get when you hug your cello to your test and make it sing.

There's something so sensual in playing a cello. Horn players use their mouths to make music, but it's not the same thing. You hold this shiny brown, elegantly carved, torso sized (and shaped) wooden box tightly between your legs and pulled up against your chest, and then as you press its strings against its neck and stroke it with your bow, it sings! How hot is that? You control what notes it plays, how loud it is, and how it sounds - you can make it as rich, as smooth, as mellow, as brassy, as whiney, or even as raunchy as you want. I can make it moan by sliding my fingers up and down the strings, while bowing so gently. I can also make it whistle in the highest octaves by playing the harmonics close to the bridge.

I'm guessing that after the next ten days, I'll be able to pull off a passable imitation of the first half of the Suzuki Volume 1 book. I'll also be able to continue working on through. The next logical step is to start using the second finger, and the first and fourth finger extensions.

I Googled my new teacher today. Not much there - no website that I could find. Apparently she, her husband and daughter are involved in a few local and peninsula-wide community orchestras. According to the local paper's Arts section, they just gave a local recital this past weekend. Would I have gone if I'd known? No.

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