Sunday, September 10, 2006


Missed a day's practice.

It was hard just knowing I was missing a day's practice. On a moment's notice we decided to go to Anchorage yesterday, and stay the night. Since I usually practice in the mornings, I felt like I was missing a second day of practice while we were driving home this morning. After we got home, all I could think about was finally getting in a few hours playing this afternoon. It's funny how I almost felt driven. Does this mean I'm hooked?

Driven or not, I sure wasn't very happy with my playing this afternoon. The cello (and bow) sounded pretty good with rich, warm, clean tones, etc. But my fingering wasn't going right today. They just wouldn't do what my brain was telling them to do. Rather than fret about it (fap!), I slowed wa-a-ay down and worked on some of the tough spots - over and over.

I'm getting more comfortable with my second position accuracy. As with all aspects of the cello, there's an initial learning curve figuring out where the new locations are on the finger board, then to start hearing where they are, and then to train the fingers exactly where to go to make it sound perfect. That last step takes a lifetime, I guess.

I don't like the A (4 on the d-string). [No surprise, I guess; it seems cello beginners often initially dislike even the open A (0 on the a-string). I noticed beginner violinists often seem unhappy with their open E on their e-string.] I have to work on curling my fourth finger more and away from the open a-string, that will help me "hear" the exact ringing point with my pinkie. Every day, as part of my warmup I've been practicing running up and down the fifths on each string, anywhere from 10 to 20 times, first shifting with one finger, then another, and another.

No surprise - practice, patience, and perseverence do work.

Tomorrow evening is the first session of the fall season of the Central Peninsula Youth/Community Orchestra. I am actually looking forward to it. Normally, by now I'd have worked myself up into a lather of nerves and dread, and started dreaming up possible excuses and imagining oncoming ailments. The organizer of the Orchestra told me that I may find myself among only a few adults, but I'd already accepted that situation way back when I started playing, and again at the May recital. I can't believe I just wrote "way back" - but I guess it has been more than 9 months. : ) I wouldn't be surprised to be the least capable player there, as well as the oldest. But, if I'm not willing to put myself out there in this type of venue, why am I doing it at all? As I said, I'm looking forward to it.

Then, another lesson on Tuesday.

Three more cello CDs from Titlewave Books:

1. Yo-Yo Ma with Seiji Ozawa playing Strauss' "Don Quixote" and Schoenberg's "Concerto in D Major for Cello";
2. Yo-Yo Ma with Bobby McFerrin (!) in "Hush"; and
3. Erling Blondal Bengtsson with Nina Kavtaradze playing Rachmaninoff's "Sonata for Cello and Piano in g-minor" and Shostakovich's "Sonata for Cello and Piano in d-minor"

Oh good luck on your rehearsal tomorrow! It will be fine.
Thanks, Erin.
Yup, you're hooked. I'm afraid to travel now that the cello bug has bitten me-- how will I last a week without it?

I don't like my open A much at all. I did not know this was a common thing.
I don't know if the open A thing is a fact, or anything, but I've noticed from the forums that a lot of beginners seem to search around for a better A string (I did). After a while, though, it seems they become more comfortable with what they have. For me, when I play an open A, I hear all my bowing inadequacies magnified.
Wow, can I relate to the erin-guanaco-PFS trio! You all are going through what I did, 2-3 years ago, except it seems you are all faster and smaterer than I was.

I took my cello to a shop over the A string and was told the sound post needed to be moved a little. He did, and it helped a good bit, although it was still bright. Apparently they all are. Gradually I came to an understanding, perhaps erroneous, of why the A string is like that and how it needs to be bowed. I'm reluctant to post any of it on CBN for obvious reasons.

On my new cello the A string is even less bright, only just a bit brighter than a fingered A on D string.

I could go into my theory sometime, but maybe y'all have your own by now anyway.

I am interested in your theory about A strings.

I promise I won't turn you in to CBN...
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