Thursday, February 02, 2006


Lesson 2

A good lesson today. I needed to go over some things from last Saturday's lesson - a few questions and some clarifications. My right hand bow hold is now more comfortable. I was dropping my wrist too far. I still have to work a lot on using my elbow and not my shoulder to slide the bow. I’m also working at curling my left pinkie and relaxing my thumb, and holding my left arm out. Working on all this made me lose focus on the fingering.

It was interesting to play with someone else like that, something I hadn’t done since I was 14 when I mostly just hid out in the back row of clarinets in my Junior HS band. I was pretty nervous at first, and kept losing my concentration. (In part, I’d lose focus because I was listening to her cello singing the same tunes I’d been scratching out of my poor beast.) I figure this is just another step of learning. It was nice to hear two cellos together, especially when I hit the right notes. On a few pieces she played the same notes, on others she played a harmony (using thirds – I don’t know what that means yet, but I think that’s what she said). When I did get it right – rhythm and intonation – such as on “The Clown”, which S calls the cellist’s anthem (her students will be playing it at their spring recital!), it was really gratifying and immediately worth the whole cost of the lesson. She pointed out that it was important to get used to playing with others.

We played six pieces. For my homework I have to go through Suzuki and mark all the sections(?) A, B, A, etc., for each piece. I also have to work on playing the pieces, especially at the string changes, much slower until I get them exactly right.

There is so much to learn…

S agreed there wouldn’t be any harm working in the All for Strings book for a break – after working through my Suzuki lessons, staying away for the time being from slurring and using the second finger. She also thought my exercise book was OK.

We agreed to schedule a lesson every other Monday at 1:30 – next one is on the 13th. They’ll be at a local church, because her husband has violin lessons in their music room at that time. It’s a long drive – 130 miles round trip. But I do get to listen to my CD’s (today I listened to Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach’s six suites) as loud as I want – my old Subaru has the best sound system. Traffic was light, but again today I hit a snowstorm and had to slow way down for the last 20 miles.

After hearing another cello, I am getting antsy about upgrading from my plywood box. I don’t want to upgrade just one step, but maybe two or three. I’ve started looking at the various models available: Stringworks’ “Soloist”; Petr’s Violin shop’s “Eastman 405”; Cellos2Go’s “Scott Cao”, “Gliga”, and “Klier”; Southwestern Strings’ “Franz Werners”, and “Hans Kroeger”. S gave me a magazine and pointed out a few additional vendors worth checking out. There are dozens of other brands. She is going to the luthier in Anchorage in two weeks and promised to try out some of their Eastman 405s for me.

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