Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Not a lot to say

This is going to be one of those lesson reports where I don't have very much to write...

Lesson #63 focused on a handful of technique issues that I've struggled with for months. I'm convinced they're standing in the way of finishing the Breval Sonata. I decided to narrow my focus over the next several weeks to trying to perfect at least a few of these, using various segments of the Breval score.

My biggest challenge is keeping my left thumb loose. I wouldn't be surprised if I've already squeezed a couple of dents into the back of the neck... I'm going to work on two measures at a time without letting my thumb even touch the fingerboard. As soon as I perfect these, I'll move on to two more measures. Then I'll go back and redo them with my thumb "resting" against the neck... I'm going to work my way through the middle section of the score this way... We'll see where this goes. In any case, at least I'll be doing some detailed work on the piece itself.

Friday, our orchestra plays a brief piece for the KPO Christmas concert - we're playing an arrangement called "Celtic Christmas", which gives the cello a lot of the melody. I think it's going to be good. We've worked on this a lot. Then Saturday our cello "trio" will play at a private Christmas party. That's going to be fun...

That's it - no more rehearsals, lessons, or gigs until sometime in January. It's been a busy month, and I'm looking forward to having some time just to work on my lessons and not worry about preparing for performances.

I've heard some recommend the technique of holding a grape between the thumb and neck while you play to give feedback on squeezing. If you press too hard - SQUISH! That could get kinda messy in the early stages of breaking this habit. Might I suggest a small marshmallow. Hold it lightly in place. If you feel the neck, you squeezed. When the marshmallow is squished, you have to eat it. Ick.
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