Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Pain, tension, and extensions

My first lesson (#71) in two months, yesterday, was spent working through a recent onset of pain and tension in my left forearm. This came on gradually over the last several months, growing in intensity in recent weeks. I guessed that it was related to some new technique I've been trying, but I couldn't figure it out. This came on only during my cello practice, and usually went away a few hours later.

First, I stopped doing my daily vibrato workout, since that was the most obvious new technique involving that arm. While this did help a little, it didn't really solve my problem. I had already tried a few obvious things like verifying seat height and overall posture, adjusting my end-pin length, trying out different playing angles, and so on.

The first thing my teacher did was watch as I played a few scales, and she commented that posture-wise I was OK. So we talked about vibrato - she mentioned that my vibrato appeared to be OK (and not bad, by the way, considering I'd let it slide for several weeks, now). Then she asked what other new things I'd been practicing. I showed her my current 4th position etude set in the Percy Such position etude book. She quickly suggested that my problem might be related to how I was doing the extensions from 4th position; I was holding my forefinger in the extended position (especially if that note was going to show up again, soon). She showed me how I could relax that finger (and the whole hand and arm) after playing those awkward notes. [This will take some focused effort but already this morning I could feel some improvement.]

I was pleased to play the Marcello Sonata parts I'd been working on for the last few months. It was good! She was happy that I'd (finally) developed a focused learning style that obviously was working for me. She offered a few additional tips and we talked about how best to work on increasing tempo.

Next lesson comes in two weeks...

We are enjoying one of the nicest summers in years. May was sunny and warm, June had about a week of rain, which mercifully ended and it's been hot and sunny ever since. The only drawback is that some bureaucrat in the state fire-fighting group decided to let a recent lightning-caused wildfire burn itself out. Unfortunately, this fire didn't go out; it grew into a serious blaze that has now blanketed our once-blue skies with smoke; the late evening sun is now an orange ball hanging in the haze. Now we need a few days [only a few, please] days of rain to clean this up.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home