Wednesday, February 07, 2007


A few things

At Monday's orchestra rehearsal, we started out playing St. Lawrence Overture, which we'd worked on quite a bit last fall and often play for a warmup. I know this piece and play it often at home. I had tuned up carefully (I always try to arrive early to make sure of that). But when we played it, I was getting the strangest feedback, as if I were playing really flat. I tried adjusting my fingers (slightly and carefully) but I just couldn't find the right place. We stopped at one point for a tempo readjustment (ahem, cellos), and I quickly checked D (a-string) to D (d-string) and G (d-string) to G (g-string). Everything sounded good. I quickly checked my tuner but it too indicated everything was OK. When we started up again, the same thing happened. I plugged on through, but was really wondering what was wrong, by then? I work on intonation A LOT and was sure I should be able to find my place on that fingerboard... I debated putting a little mark on the side to reference against.

Then one of the second violins quietly commented to my stand partner that she was playing sharp and needed to move her left hand upwards a bit on the fingerboard. After that it went well, and we sounded pretty good together. How strange, though, that I was convinced it was me (ah, that wretched inner critic)! Why couldn't I hear my own playing as OK and my stand partner's as being sharp?

A few weeks ago I ordered the whoopee cushion (er, exercise cushion ) that Gottagopractice had described. I had to inflate it more to give me the added height I need, but it works great. So, I asked Y if she had a spare cloth bag I could carry it in for lessons and rehearsals. Three days later, here's what I got back:

The cushion is inside the bag, behind a flap, so it won't fall out. One side of the bag has a rubberized covering so it won't slip on the chair. There's a deep pocket for my music, and there's a smaller outside pocket. I can carry everything I need for a lesson or orchestra in it and then just set the bag rubberized side down on any chair to play. It adds about 4 inches to my seated height. Now I don't have to hassle with that folding stool when I go out for lessons or rehearsals! (Also, now I won't have to deal with comments about whoopee cushions...)

Tonight I'm off to see a concert by noted Anchorage violinist Paul Rosenthal, with cellist Armen Ksajikian and pianist Doris Stevenson. Each year Rosenthal presents a winter concert with some musicians from the Sitka Summer Music Festival. A great way to brighten up a dull February. I'm thinking about "persuading" Z to come with me. He won't go if I don't pressure him a bit, although he always seems to enjoy them when I do get him to come.

I've added a few more blogging cellists to my sidebar (15 People and Cello Centered) which I found from Gottagopractice's reader. For clarity, I included my blog in the list. Now there are 49 of us.

Excellent idea!
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