Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This is one thing I took away from my recent Emily lessons: Just Do The Thing. We can amaze ourselves with the speed of progress once we give up our need to focus on the piece and instead focus on The Thing.
If only I could remember that consistently!
I have to relearn my fingering. I started playing with my fingertips, but my instructor said that was wrong and insisted I play with fingerprints. Now I'm told that's wrong and I should be playing with fingertips. It would be so much easier if everybody would just make up their mind and stick with it.
Still, thank you for posting this. I think I will try to remember to try it and see if I am more relaxed and how my sound quality is.
The main reason I am having to learn to play 'thumbless' is because I acquired the damaging habit of gripping the neck with my thumb so tightly. My teacher had told me many times over the past several years to "relax my thumb", but until the recent advent of significant pains in my thumb I simply hadn't taken it that seriously. I probably wouldn't be having to learn this thumbless approach if I'd been able to just relax it more.
One thing I've noticed from watching various performing cellists, is that there is no standardized style or technique - that goes for posture, bow hold, fingering, vibrato, and so on. Each performer has developed his/her particular techniques after years and years of practice. But for us novices, we can't really know what works best for us individually, we just have to trust our teachers' recommendations.
You are absolutely right, Terry, that there are certain basic techniques that all cellists need to attain in order to make these oddly shaped wooden boxes sound any good at all. As we all struggle to advance from our initial clumsy scratchings (who doesn't remember their first sounds?) to master those basics, we each have to find our own path - what works best for us.
I recall a posting by one of us cellobloggers several years ago about how learning the cello was a process of two-steps forward, and one-step backward. As soon as you think you've learned a technique, you are then told it is all wrong and shown how to do it properly. But until you've first learned it the wrong way, you cannot possibly be ready to learn how to do it right.
I only find myself gripping with my thumb when all of my other fingers are tense. It's like my entire hand tenses up and I have a really strong hold on the cello, and that's when I notice my thumb is holding on for dear life.
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