Sunday, March 19, 2006
A bit later
I've been taking time off from the daily grind of having to think up something for this blog. Supposedly to refresh my mind with all sorts of new ideas... It didn't work. I'm still at a loss for ideas. Maybe I'm not the man of letters I'd always assumed I was. Held back by the pressures of a daily job, etc.; unable to free my hidden talents...
So about my cello playing then. I've been working steadily at the same pieces for the last two and a half weeks, now. Each day, the same material. I vary the order of pieces, and sometimes I'll even (gasp) skip one or two, just because I've gotten so bored with them - even though I know I can improve on my intonation and bowing, etc. I'd say I was in a rut, but I've been making steady progress with the newer pieces. Today, I played the Schuman piece, "The Happy Farmer" through without error, and I've worked through most of the Bach "Minuet #2". I still don't have the key licks down right, yet, but I can play through them at a reduced tempo largely error free. I've worked through the rest of the piece, including the new 4th Finger Extension (to G#) pretty much cleanly. I feel it coming together. In a few more weeks, I should be able to play it through at tempo and error free. The Etude and Rigadoon are going quite well. I'm working on quality, now, with them.
Still the repertoire is SO BORING, I run through it in about an hour or so and then what? Lately I've returned to the Mel Bay Finger Exercises for the last 30 to 45 minutes of my playing - focusing on the 2nd finger workouts on A and D strings. It is really helping me find the right ringing in the notes, and training my fingers. Today, I spent about 15 minutes doing some free range playing, just to see if anything new came out - Red River Valley, and a simple tune I recognized but don't remember the name.
After waiting two weeks for the new ($395) bow, it finally arrived last Wednesday. Nice. I could feel the difference just in the balance and bounce. It may or may not play better - I'm not a good enough player to be able to really tell the difference (I think it sounded better). I decided to keep the better of the two bows that came with the new cello; for when I do have to send the good one off for rehairing. I'll then be able to continue playing at the somewhat the same level. I sent the cheaper one back to Ifshin.
I really love the sound from my cello, although I still struggle a little with the A string, mostly the open A and B. From C up it sounds pretty good. On A & B it sounds nasal and whiney, no matter what I try. I called Cellos2Go and talked with the owner about various strings. She suggested I consider Crowns (relatively inexpensive and she thought they might be a little less harsh) for the A & D. I really like the sound from D, so I might just use the A, and keep the D as a backup. I also ordered a new music set (Fat Notes, by Rodney Yarrow) book and CD. My teacher uses it and suggested I might want to consider it. Yeah, new possibilities for my sessions. I'll talk with her about which ones I should start with and try not to get ahead of my Suzuki work. I also don't want to put aside Suzuki, but it sure would be nice to be working a few more pieces...
I've spent a bit more time on the ICS chat room, meeting several people from all over the world. Interesting. Some are beginners - adult and student, some are professionals, etc. A wide mix. Many are regulars who are quite familiar with one another. I've gotten to "know" a few rather interesting people. It's still hard to relax and loosen up. Even though I'll probably never meet these people directly, it's hard to go ahead and be myself. Once in a while I'll lose those inhibitions and have fun, but then someone new comes on and I'll feel awkward and self-intimidated once again. But I've had several hours of good fun, too.