Saturday, February 25, 2006


Shadow it is

About the most exciting thing that happened today was finalizing the name of the cat. It was cold, gray, and lightly snowing most of the day. When I think of winter, this is the kind of day that comes to mind. This is why I hate winter.

My left ring finger feels sort of bruised at the tip. I don't recall exactly doing anything to cause it. It showed up a few hours after playing this morning. I didn't play any differently.

I steadily practiced hooked bowings. This is where you stop the bow at the end of a note and restart it in the same direction for another note (sometimes the same note - as in the Bach Minuet, or two different notes and in a different rhythm - as in the Schuman piece.) It will take some practice to master this seemingly simple motion. I played it over and over again on the open strings, so I was essentially relaxing the left hand and letting my right arm figure it out. After I got up to speed, I slowed it back down and began playing the actual notes, slowly and then quickly picking up speed. This is a new right arm action - until now the bow goes back and forth, in or out, with each note.

Learning the cello has been an interesting process. As each new physical action is introduced, it seems awkward, impossible at first. But by repeatedly doing that new action, slowly at first and gradually building up speed and then finally inserting it back into the piece, the muscles eventually memorize it. Then, when you play that memorized action, it is seemingly effortless. This happens over and over with increasingly greater challenges. Each challenge is only mastered with time and repetition.

I don't feel at all comfortable with my bow hold. I want to explore this fully with my teacher on Monday. Sometimes I'll feel like I've found it, but then I can't find it again, or it doesn't work the second time. I want to closely inspect her bow hand while she's playing. My D and A strings sounded much better today. They quickly tuned and stayed in tune. The D was giving off ringing tones at several of the positions. The A didn't sound so shrill. I got through Rigadoon and the Etude without much effort, then I went back and did the tricky parts slowly and repetitively.

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