Wednesday, March 05, 2008



Although I couldn't produce a clean fifth-position G-A-G-F run or the seventh-position C-B-A run while playing the Humoresque in today's lesson (#47), I was able to come up with a reasonable approximation. It turns out I've been practicing these passages somewhat faster than they're supposed to be. Slowing that down is going to help.

We went over several options for practicing shifting to the exact finger positions every time without fail. I've been "chasing" these notes by putting my fingers at my best "guess" of the right location and then trying to make little adjustments after hearing the notes. We talked about some exercises I could do to improve that initial precision, targeting the G in the first set and the A-harmonic for the second one. I have to pay attention to my hand and my arm, not just my fingers.

I realized as we were discussing this, that I don't really have a good mental image of the physical relationships between the second position-fourth finger (E) and the G, the A and eventually the C. Even though I can play the exact G with my fourth finger in fourth position, I don't yet have a "sense" of where that same note is when I want to play it with my second finger in fifth position. And so on. This will all come with repetition and training muscle memory. I've added some new routines to my warmups.

I managed to play the rest of Humoresque fairly well. After that we played through some of the upper third position Mooney pieces.

Then we turned the page to the next piece (#9) in Suzuki Book 3, Jean Gabriel-Marie's La Cinquantaine (The Golden Wedding). An interesting piece... no new positions, but lots of shifts back and forth. I've been listening to the CD a bit and I like it. This is going to be fun to learn. My teacher suggested I try learning this one with the bow, rather than pizzicato first. But work on one measure at a time. Once I'm comfortable with that measure, add it to the one(s) before and play the set up to the completed measure. Most importantly, TAKE IT SLOW!

Also, my orchestra rehearsal and Cellocracy group this week went pretty good. My focused work last week paid off. Still some way to go before I'd consider myself ready to play these in public, but I think I'll be ready when it's time...

Your post just inspired me to be a bit more meticulous in my shifting practice.

You'll really enjoy playing La Cinquantaine. It's been one of my favorites so far because it seems so "cellistic."
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