Saturday, February 04, 2006
An off sort of day playing the cello. For a while I was a little disappointed, but I plugged away for an hour and a half. I was properly holding the bow more frequently, and I was using my elbow more. I was also somewhat successful at keeping my left elbow out and my thumb relaxed. I still have to work on keeping my fingers curled, but I am using my second finger properly most of the time now.
I played through the Suzuki pieces mostly from memory, running through each piece several times, stopping to redo the tricky parts (such as some of the string changes). Then replaying it slowly at first and then up to speed. Then I played each one in the other key – D major or G major. Nevertheless, I got through everything pretty rapidly. Then I worked on “All for Strings” for a while.
I’ve been looking at cellos (you’re supposed to say celli, but hardly anyone does) in the $2.5K to $5K range on the internet sites of most of the major luthiers. I also spent a lot of time reviewing forum discussions about the various brands. It would seem from an apparent cross section of posters that in this range and from a few magazine reviews is that one of the nicest cellos seems to be the Jay Haide al’ancienne at $5K. I also would like to try the carbon-fiber Lewis & Clark cello at about $6K (it’s getting good reviews; Paul Rosenthal, a noted Alaskan violinist, has an L&C violin). The Stringworks Soloist is also nice at about $3.5K. Eastman’s 405 is also quite well-regarded at $3K. The luthier in Anchorage offers the Eastman 405 with a case and bow for $3.5 – the one my teacher is going to test-drive for me next week.
Tonight, for some reason, I’ve been feeling a little off about my cello progress to date and doubting if I’ll ever get better. I guess I’m at one of those difficult points where I have to face the fact that this is going to be long, slow process. It is going to take a lot of continuous effort over a long time before I’m ever any good at all. The hardest part is to sense the little improvements from day to day, since any one-day’s progress is so small. Any noticeable progress shows up in fits and spurts, which makes it hard to keep motivated in between. This is going to take some real dedication over a long time.
These cold, gray, snowy, short days of early February are the hardest of the year. It’s only mid winter, yet we’ve been dark and cold for more than three months already.
From a Random Blog
“However, I could tell you were pissed off about that, and felt it to be a great injustice - largely because you made a face like a troll and then glared at me and coughed so loudly and hackingly and obviously that I thought you might be trying to donate a lung, on the spot. What a Good Samaritan he must be, I tried to force myself to think! But no, you were simply expressing as eloquently as possible that you wanted it instead of me.”