Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Between the notes
So I started the lesson by playing each of these groups one at a time. Then we stopped to go back over some of the rough spots and discuss the various issues. The pianissimo parts should be played with long full bow strokes close to the fingerboard, using only the edge of the hair, with minimal pressure - just enough to draw out the sound. She demonstrated the shift from a half note in third position slurring up to an eighth note on the harmonic and then dropping back to fourth position after an eighth note rest. I also learned that I'd been playing one sequence of four eighth notes as a slurred set when they are supposed to be articulated - all on the upbow.
All in all, my teacher was very complimentary about my progress on this piece and commented that I just needed to keep working at it - that my learning approach has been pretty effective.
We turned next to Mooney's "Position Pieces" - I've been working on the "upper third" section. I commented that these have been surprisingly hard to learn to play nicely. What seems to be holding me back on many of them is the string crossings. These Mooney pieces seem to have a lot of awkwardly placed notes - intentionally it seems.
As we talked about string crossings, my teacher commented that a lot of what we do on the cello goes on "between the notes" - changing strings, changing positions, changing bow direction, circling the bow, breathing, and so on. Knowing what needs to be done between the notes and learning to do them quickly and seamlessly - seemingly effortlessly - is the key to improving quality. It is critical to properly "manage" the bow to allow these actions between the notes. And, of course, holding the bow loosely and comfortably is the key to managing it effectively.
Then we turned to some of the pieces I brought in from our Cellocracy group. We will play three pieces together one week from Saturday along with five pieces with our Orchestra. This will all coincide with the conductor's class recital. My teacher gave me some useful suggestions about fingering and bowing for these pieces, which I'm anxious to apply during tomorrow morning's practice.
I don't know exactly what they actually are. I found the picture on Avi Abrams' wonderful site, Dark Roasted Blend.
Links to this post: