Wednesday, January 23, 2008

 

Moving on again, already


I haven't had a cello lesson since early December, so I approached today (#44) with a little bit of hesitation but also a lot of anticipation. I've been pretty satisfied with my progress on the Bach Gavotte in C-minor - this morning I even played it through almost at tempo and with no stumbles. In the last few days I'd begun to make some progress on most of the new C-minor portion of the Bach Minuet #3. So, I was looking forward to showing [off] this progress to my teacher.

We started out playing through the C-minor scale and talked for a while about imprinting the Ab and Bb on the D string in extended fourth position, both going up the scale and coming back down. She suggested I focus on fingering from the G to the Ab to the Bb and back, watching my fingers (for a while) and using my on-screen tuner as a check.

Then we played through the Gavotte at a pretty good tempo and fairly cleanly - I only stumbled slightly in a couple places. We went back and played through those points several times, talking about various ways to practice them.

Next, the Minuet, playing through the C-minor part somewhat more slowly. Nevertheless, I even surprised myself. Although it was still ve-e-ery slow, my rhythm and most of the shifts were pretty accurate (even the G - Ab - Bb in extended fourth position, for the most part). My teacher was quite complimentary, commenting that we'd only discussed my starting this piece at the last lesson. We spent some time going over two or three sections that still need work.

Then she said I was ready to move on. We turned to the Humoresque by Dvorak (#8 in Suzuki Book 3). At first glance it seemed pretty intimidating. But after working through several parts, my musical memory of that unique and unmistakable rhythm kicked in and I was able to pick out the first two lines fairly confidently. There are a lot of tricky shifts and fingerings to study, but I'm confident. I'd been working on playing the C-scale to the third octave, so when we got to the parts requiring Bb - C - Bb - A in 5th position, I was able to produce a clean, resonant sound. She commented that I'd obviously been practicing my scales.

We ended the hour by playing through a couple of the trios that Ellen at Cellos2Go had just sent me, including a collection of 12 trios by Rudolph Matz.


My teacher mentioned that the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra was playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor (my favorite), with guest soloist Alisa Weilerstein this weekend! As soon as I got home, I booked three of the last handful of seats and a hotel for the night. Cool...


Last night, I shared the Rudolph Matz trios with my Cellocracy partners, and we started playing through the first three. These are just right for us - enough of a challenge that we don't get bored, but clearly within our reach, and they also are pretty tunes - "crowd-pleasers". We agreed to choose five or six pieces to focus on over the next several months. Ellen also sent some fiddle tunes arranged for cello trios that we'll also look through.

Our string orchestra conductor told us Monday that the orchestra will be getting another cellist - a high school student who just moved to the area who wants to join. We are hoping to persuade her to come to our Cellocracy sessions (which would then make us a quartet - the more the merrier).

Comments:
Sounds like you are enjoying a very rewarding stage of cellistic development. Woo hoo!

I put a link to a YouTube video of Yo Yo Ma playing the Humoresque on CelloBloggers awhile ago. You should take another look now - for inspiration <g>.
 
Sweet!
 
You live in the middle of nowhere, but you're out and about more than most people I know. Enjoy the concert.

(BTW, I'm still chuckling over the comment you left on my "Bittersweet Sixteen" post.)
 
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