Saturday, December 20, 2008


Christmas music is over

No more Christmas music till next fall. Whew! I like playing it all-right, but since we have to start practicing as early as October, by Christmas I'm way past ready to move on...

We just finished our private party gig. Cellocracy played Christmas songs for an hour or so while the guests wrapped gifts, etc. Then, we replayed several of our favorites while the guests sang along. That was fun.

So, now back to regular stuff. I'm working on playing the Breval piece without using my thumb at all. GTGP suggests using a grape or a marshmallow, but neither option is very appealing - I sure don't want a squished grape spilling onto my cello and I'm not that keen on smearing marshmallows on the neck either. I was surprised to find that it really wasn't that hard to do - on the basic parts, playing slowly. At the same time, I'm trying to focus on bow-control - things like which phrases use whole bows, where to end a phrase near the tip, etc., all the while thinking about contact points on the strings and string tension control with my forefinger. This will keep me busy for a while.

I've been drilling vibrato (about 15 minutes a day) for a couple months and was increasing the metronome rate every other day. Then at my last lesson my teacher suggested some "minor" technical adjustments to my hand motion. They seemed quite simple at the time, but when I sat down the next day to practice it, I fumbled and stumbled around until it was all a mess. So I slowed the metronome back down several notches until I found a point where I could make it work, and have begun the long climb again.

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