Thursday, September 25, 2008


Progress, I'm told...

At first it seemed as if my right arm had a mind of its own; my bow skittered all over the place and I missed a lot of string crossings. Not a good start to today's lesson (#57). So we stopped and did some open string work until I regained some control, more-or-less. Even worse, my intonation was pretty sloppy, today too. Aargh.

We worked on some position etudes from the Percy Such book my teacher gave me at the last lesson. I find them sort of relaxing - mentally at least - I do have to keep working out the kinks in my hands and wrists as I play them. I guess what I like about them is that after so much focus on playing musical pieces in the Suzuki and Mooney books, the basic ordinariness of these etudes is refreshing. After warming up on scales, I spend about 20 minutes or so on these, adding in a few new lines every day or so. This also got me to start using my metronome again after several weeks (months?) of "forgetting" to use it.

Next we worked on several parts of the Breval "Sonata" that I'd been focusing on, with lots of tips and suggestions for practicing these. Then we turned to "La Cinquantaine", one of my three selected performance pieces. As I stumbled my way through so much of it, I had to wonder what I'd gained from so much focused practice on this piece these past two weeks. Finally we spent a few minutes on "Humoresque", playing my toughest part. I'd worked on the rhythm and bowing for quite a while this week and was able to play that part fairly well today - at least.

Although my teacher pointed out several areas where she felt I'd made significant progress... [hmmm], I felt as if it just wasn't that good of a day. Well, maybe next time.

Saturday, Z and I will drive to Anchorage for a concert by the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, featuring cellist Wendy Warner playing Prokofiev's "Sinfonia Concertante". The concert will also include pieces by Shostakovich, Mussorgsky and Stravinsky.

How funny - the pieces you mentioned are exactly the ones I used to play when I was still learning!
Another really good book of Position pieces is:
Position pieces for cello by Rick Mooney

It does good target practise and a 'geography quiz' for each position
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