Sunday, September 17, 2006
I awoke briefly at about 4:00 this morning and lay there a while before dozing off again. After a while I drifted into my first cello dream, the first I can remember at least. I'm supposed to play a piece for a bunch of former coworkers at my old job; they're led by the brightest guy I'd worked with (I haven't seen him in 15 years); when my turn comes he tells me that the previous performers haven't been that good and he expects me to do better; I go off looking for my cello but then I can't find the music; someone tells me that I ought to be able to play it from memory; then, just as I get to the stage to play I see that my cello is damaged and unplayable. I awake in a sweat... Was I sweating my pending performance or my poor broken cello?
It's an obsession.
Someone posted a question on Cello Chat recently asking what other people felt they gave up in order to take up the cello. Answers ranged from "exercise" to "a life". As I read it, I realized that all I've given up is having to make up excuses not to play the cello. So many years of wanting to, but thinking it was too late, or that I was too busy. To support these arguments I told myself I didn't have any talent anyway, so why bother?
I'm still working with the metronome. I'm still not playing in time with it, but it is getting easier. Often I find myself getting ahead (never behind, for whatever reason). But more and more I end up playing in sync for a while. In a way, I hear the music differently, and I'm starting to be able to pay attention to more than just the intonation. It's helped me a lot with the Bach Minuet #2; maybe all I needed was just that last little step to finally get me playing it right.
Learning with the metronome right from the beginning has really helped me work out the new orchestral pieces. I should be able to play them reasonably well at the rehearsal tomorrow evening. Not perfectly, yet by any means, but passable enough for now.