Chinese Proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cello Lesson #14 (6/21/11): Extra monthly lesson, Glissando, Music Theory, Finger Chart (6/21/2011)

In the beginning, my cello lessons felt more like question and answer sessions because I would arrive at my lessons with a list of questions which would take up the entire lesson. I discovered that I was actually "leading" the lessons because of this! Not to say, that it's a bad idea to come with a list of questions, but to take up the entire lesson doing a question and answer session, lesson after lesson, wasn't very beneficial or efficient for the both of us.

I decided that I wasn't going to ask a single question during one of my lessons. I don't know why I came up with that idea, I just did, I still wonder why I did that... I arrived at my lesson and said, "so what's the plan for today?" My guess is that he had been waiting to be given the reins because he dived right it! The lesson was well thought out and flowed very nicely! Anyway, that lesson (Lesson #11) was completely awesome! I learned more from that lesson than any other lesson I had up to that point.

The next couple lessons were fun and informative as well. I was loving the flow of the lessons and enjoying my lessons so much, I decided to schedule one extra lesson per month just to go over my questions so I wouldn't interrupt the lesson flow with my big mouth!

My lessons are so much more enjoyable now that my teacher has been able to lead my lesson progressions.
Despite my thoughts of thinking I knew what I wanted from each lesson and how I should be taught, my teacher absolutely had a better idea on what I should be working on, which is probably the reason I’ve been able to learn and enjoy my lessons more. 

I found that a lot of my questions were eventually answered without my prompting. However, the questions that weren't answered, I've saved up and cover during my extra one-hour lesson per month.

Lesson Notes:

The questions I saved up were mostly from the Technique books & Theory Workbook I was working on. I requested to record some videos on some exercises I was working on so I could watch and listen to how the rhythm is played. We recorded the exercises of him doing them.

1) Finger Exercises for the Cello, Book One
  • Exercises 2 and 4. Exercise # 3 was similar to the first so we didn’t record that one.
  • Adam recommended that I use a metronome - have I mentioned I have real difficulty using a metronome? It confuses me even more!
  • We went over Bow Rhythms for Week 2 – I’m still really weak on rhythm, or at least reading it and getting it into my cello.

2) Beginning Technique for Cello
  • From Week 2 (Sliding Practice) - Sliding on the cello or Glissando was new to me so we went over how to do this:
    • Keep the elbow high enough so it can easily pass over the cello, but not too high.

Questions from the book All For Strings Theory Workbook 1:

Ack... music theory makes my brain hurt! I don't think I'm quite ready for this information yet. I think I'll have to hear it a few more times before I can understand it!

I definitely did not understand everything we went over. I’m also not 100% certain that my notes below are correct….

1) What are “Whole Steps and Half Steps” or “Whole Tones and Semi Tones (Half Tone)”
  • These terms mean the same thing:
    • Whole Steps are the same as Whole Tones.
    • Half Steps are the same as Semi Tones and Half Tones.
      • Why use different terms to mean the same thing? It's a consipiracy to confuse me even more!  :) 
      • I’ll use the terms Whole Tone and Semi Tone since that is what my teacher uses.
  • How do I know if it's a Whole Tone versus a Semi Tone?
    • Without looking at a keybaord, I can apply this to all Major Scales, I just need to remember: WT, WT, ST, WT, WT, WT, ST
      • WT = Whole Tone
      • ST = Semi Tone/Half Tone
    • Also, remember that E to F sharp and E to C sharp is a Whole Tone
      • A whole tone is made up of two half steps and is the distance from one key to another with one key in between.
  • With a keyboard: Count how many times before I can get to the next white key to determine if it is a Whole Tone or Semi Tone.
    • A whole tone is made up of two half steps, and is the distance from one key to another with one key in between.
      • If I count 2 keys, than its a Whole Tone (WT).
      • If I can count only 1 key, going from a white key to another white key, than it's a Semi Tone (ST)
        • Counting left to right below:

2) What is a Tetrachord?
  • A tetrachord is a four note scale.
    • A major tetrachord has a 1/2 step between the 3rd and 4th notes and forms the first four or last four notes of a major scale.
  • Below is the C Major Scale.
    • If I divide it down the middle, the first section makes one tetrachord and the other half becomes the second tetrachord:

3) How do I write in notes for a 4/4 signature?
  • Incorrect – the half note cannot be in the middle (not the proper form).
  • Correct – 3 ways this can be written:

Miscellaneous Questions:

1) Getting to the C String

  • I was having some issues reaching my C string and found that my wrist was bending too much, which I knew was wrong. He recommended that I raise my elbow more to reach the C-String.
    • Do not move my elbow forward - it should move upward towards the ceiling.
    • Imagine that I have a steel rod through my wrist and it cannot bend.
2) Finger Chart
  • In a previous lesson he recommended that I get familiar with the cello finger chart because it would help as I progress through my studies.

    • If going up (moving from C to A string) – then the notes will be the same.
    • If going down (moving from A to C string) – than the note will be the next octave.
    • Cellists use different fingerings on the cello to “color” their playing. 
    • He also said 2nd Position and 3rd Position are debatable because cellists may start with different notes than the one listed above.

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