Friday, August 07, 2009


I'm feeling a little scalene tonight

I strung my 4 new Jargars onto my cello yesterday, making this morning's practice quite an ear-opener. For the past five or six months I've slowly and patiently worked through the Breval and Marcello Sonatas, only picking up the tempos when I was ready. I'm nowhere near proper tempos yet, but I'm playing them through comfortably, without errors. These last two weeks I've enjoyed applying my learning technique to the "Suzuki 4" Bach Minuets.

All along, I've been assuming that my sound quality would eventually improve, but that seemed a long way off, so I'd stopped even thinking much about it. Now with the rehair and the new strings, I'm realizing that I have progressed beyond simply playing out the notes as scored. Now, with all these improvements I'm starting to think I can hear a little quality in my sound; I'm even testing certain variations in my bow control to try to improve that sound.

Interestingly too, the new strings and new bow hair made it easier to play my current double stops pieces.

I found another novel written by a cellist! It's titled "Backtracked" by Pedro de Alcantara, a Brazilian cellist who teaches and writes about the "Alexander Technique". I don't think it's about the cello. His first novel, also for 'Young Adults', is called "Befiddled". More on all this later, maybe...

After working steadily at his new job all summer, Z has saved up enough money to buy a computer - "for school". At the beginning of summer I offered to pay for half of it, since we'd planned to buy him one next year as he heads off to college **sob**. This job has taught him a lot of new things - primarily 'responsibility' and 'accountability', learning to take orders, and learning to do multiple, demanding tasks repetitively but efficiently and safely. He took his job quite seriously and worked pretty hard at it, earning 'employee of the week' after just four weeks, and 'employee of the month' after his second month.

I hadn't realized he'd been conscientiously saving at least 3/4 of each paycheck and was now planning to get a rather high-end laptop system. He spent weeks studying all the options, comparing features and prices of a dozen systems. Finally, after an almost unbelievable effort in dealing with online and telephone order and help desks, we were finally able to order a customized system from Big Computer Company's website. We're hoping it will arrive in time for his birthday next week.

Tuesday morning I spent well over an hour and a half on the phone with them trying to sort out what proved to be a simple error in their own website that wouldn't accept our shipping zip code. It took another two days for Big Computer Company's tech services department to fix their own bug. At one point I was talking to their sales desk team leader who had conferenced us with a service rep at Major Parcel Delivery Service, who'd then brought in her own tech rep. The combination of time lags, line static, and language obstacles made it hard to even establish the basic facts - that was just weird. At one point I'd considered hanging up and starting over - hopefully connecting to a new sales rep with a more understandable accent. Then I realized that this chaos was oddly interesting and challenging. Still, I wish I'd recorded that bizarre 4-way call.

As August begins we're already starting to sense the waning of summer. Sunsets are coming a little earlier - 10:30 tonight. And I had to turn on the lights when we got up this morning - the first time we've even used the lights since early May. But most of all, the fireweed has begun to bloom - this August phenomenon turns all the fields and roadsides a bright pink, which gradually darkens to red over the next couple weeks.

I'd been waiting for Pedro's new book to come out-thanks for the heads up. Befiddled is about a violin player. Cute book. Also love Indirect Procedures, his book about cello and Alexander Technique.
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