Saturday, December 09, 2006


"For The Love Of It"

I just finished reading Wayne Booth's personal memoir of his life as an amateur cellist. Booth started learning the cello at 31 and was proud of his status as an amateur always struggling to improve for the next 47 years. Unlike John Holt who provides considerable details in "Never Too Late" about his struggles, anxieties, and thoughts as he pursues his passion to learn the cello, Booth's book is filled with philosophical musings about why an adult would take on something as difficult as learning the cello, knowing he will never become an expert, instead just hoping to keep up with other players like himself.

Much as my parents lived to play bridge and spent as many as three nights a week playing with various bridge clubs, Booth and his violinist wife play in numerous quartets and chamber music weekends. He says his love of music is best fulfilled when sharing the experience with others like himself. He compares learning the cello to climbing a mountain with no summit, if you're lucky you'll find an occasional plateau where you can rest and enjoy the view, but then you continue the climb. Although he relates some of his anxieties, frustrations, and feelings of inadequacy, more importantly he describes the soaring euphoria when it all does comes together.

I am just starting to understand what Booth says about playing with others. Although at our weekly orchestra rehearsals I am usually so intent on not screwing up my part, lately I've begun to "hear" and enjoy the music itself, as we are all playing it, together.

I've been focusing on our recital piece with just six days left to perfect it. I still don't have it right yet, but I am getting closer. This week I will try to play against the RealAudio download, although it's at a faster tempo than we've been rehearsing. I've really been working on counting. The other day, I realized that I was even counting it out on my treadmill - and it helped a lot. I've largely neglected my Suzuki pieces (not completely, though). I haven't worked much on the newest pieces. Cellos2Go sent a newer, heavier New Harmony Wolf Eliminator, which seemed to take care of the "booming" tone that I'd been hearing on my open d-string.

Ellen G, called yesterday to tell me that my new Yamaha SVC200 Silent Electric Cello is in, and she's shipping it on Monday!

Does RealAudio have a slow playback option? I know that Win Media Player allows incremental slowing to 50%, a feature which I frequently use.
You're getting an SVC200? Boy am I behind on my blogs. I'll be eager to hear how you like it.
PFS, Something must be going on in Blogland. Your comment (above) shows up here inside the comment box, but it isn't included in the "Comment tally" at the end of the post - I also did not get an email telling me your comment was added... hmm

GTGP, I like that feature in the Windows Media Player, (although it doesn't work with CDs), but Real Audio doesn't offer it (at least in the version I have). Now if I could just figure out how to record that RealAudio clip and then play it back with Media Player....?
PFS, Now it showed up in the tally, and I just got the email notice. It must have gotten lost overnight.
A challenge? See if any of Swen's suggestions are useful.
It worked! First I installed Flashget to download the rm file and then Super(c) to convert it to mp3. The online RAM version was never really "clean" with occasional pauses, etc. and by the time it got downloaded and converted, a lot of detail was lost, but I was able to slow it down with WinMedia Player.

BTW, this also works for streaming video and radio, etc.

Thanks GTGP! I am indebted...
It's not so bad to practise something faster than you're going to play it. If you can get it right in a faster tempo you can surely play it in a slower tempo. The only difference might be the dynamics. But hey, that's what conductors and markings are for.
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