Thursday, September 20, 2007


Cellocracy Rules!

We passed our "audition" and will be playing in next month's "Evening of Classics" benefit concert. (Essentially this means we played well enough to show that we don't suck and that with a few more rigorous practice sessions we should be able to pull it off reasonably well.) We rehearsed several nights and managed to get our act together. I brought our three pieces to my lesson yesterday afternoon, and played through them with my teacher. She pointed out a few rhythm and timing issues that we quickly worked out, and she gave me some ideas to help improve the sound (my upbows on B and E are pretty ragged). Otherwise, she commented that I was doing pretty good and had little doubt we'd do well.

Our string orchestra will also play a couple of pieces in that concert.

At last night's rehearsal we tried several variations to improve our sound - playing the tricky measures slowly, note-by-note; tuning ourselves on the half note and whole note chords; exaggerating the dynamics, and so on. We tried recording with a small voice recorder, but it was too painful to listen to the poor quality playback. Next week, I'll bring my laptop and we'll record using Audacity.

At our lesson (#37), we worked on the Lully Gavotte and the Boccherini Minuet. Apparently, (in spite of my own lack of satisfaction these last two weeks) I have made steady progress. There's still a long way to go with tempos especially on the various runs. In order to play these rapidly (and accurately) - as well as those 16th notes in Webster's Scherzo - I have to work on my staccato, and on proper use of my bowing arm (keeping the motion at the elbow and wrist, not the shoulder). I also have to work on my left hand finger placement. I'm squeezing the neck pretty hard - especially when playing the first finger - causing my other three fingers to lift up off the fingerboard to somehow help hold that first finger down. (This isn't as much an issue when I'm finally comfortable with a piece.) However, it is affecting my accuracy and my ability to play these notes rapidly. I need to focus on getting appropriate left hand/arm angles while trying to hold my 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers as close to the string as possible without actually touching it. In the end, it all comes back once again to relaxation - intentional but unconscious relaxation...

Finally we played a few of Mooney's Position Pieces, and she told me to start working through the next group (extended second position).

Well done on the audition! Yes, that wrist/elbow thing of the right arm - not easy is it? And the left thumb grip - yes, oh yes! I know!
Hey cool ... You're playing in the same concert as Emily! I just saw the flyer on her blog.

Congratulations on the successful audition.
Wow! Playing in a trio - good luck with that! Sounds like you're really doing great!
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