Chinese Proverb

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cello Practice Log #4: I wish there were more time in the day

There just isn't enough time in the day to practice! For the most part, I'm up to 2 hours, but I'm trying to limit myself to 20 minutes for each section, although I've definitely gone over on some days because I wanted to work on specific sections more than others. I can see why a lot of serious cellists practice a minimum of 3 hours. The funny thing is, I know I can practice longer and want to practice longer, but I'm holding myself back to make sure I don't burn out!

I started using the books I purchased last week, which was First Position Scales Studies and Beginning Technique for the Cello by Cassia Harvey. I really like the Beginning Technique book because its broken down into weeks and covers bow exercises, double stops and bow rhythms. I'll be starting Week 2 in the book for my next practice log.

I really want to continue on working on some of the books, but now that I'm learning repertoire and 4th position, I don't think I'll have time to use some of the books I've planned. I'll have to be more picky about which books I choose for my next practice log. I think I'll continue using the following:
  • I Can Read Music 
    • I'm not using this for reading notes (so far) because the beginning section is too easy, but this gives me an opportunity to concentrate on my bowing, left hand fingering and intonation
  • Beginning Technique For the Cello
    • This book is a great overview of all the basic technique I need to know: bowing, double stops and bow rhythms
  • Essential Elements 2000 for Strings
    • Helps with reading notes, rhythm and fingering
I'll re-incorporate the scale books into my practice sessions later. I think my bowing and fingering need more attention, and trying to read scales from a book distracts my concentration from both. In the meantime, I'll just do the D Major scale so I can focus on my bowing and fingering.

It's ironic, now I wish we had stayed at Twinkle a little bit longer so I can get through some of the beginning basic books I purchased. I think if I had known about these books while being stuck on Twinkle during my Spring 2011 semester my technique would be a lot better than it is now. Oh and learn!

However, I have a sinking feeling if I don't keep up with these technique and method books, as we progress through the repertoire that I may crash and burn! So I'm going to diligently continue with these books - although I skipped this today! Maybe that's why it wasn't a very good practice session!

Below is a video of Song of the Wind. I've practiced it for a total of one hour and 5 minutes so far. I faced my iphone towards my fireplace because my living room was kind of a mess, but it's the same room. I'm going to finish painting the rest of the fireplace this summer!


Things to work on:
1) Dropping my right elbow to allow my wrist to bend forward!!
  • If I don't drop my elbow than my wrist can't bend the way it's supposed to, but it feels really unbalanced when I bend my wrist at the frog because my bow gets squirrel-ly! I think it's because when its at the frog I don't know how to balance it there. I wonder if I have a video of one of my lessons that goes over that...I'll have to check.
  • Also, I feel like when I try to drop my elbow, that I'm almost forcing it to drop so my wrist doesn't feel very comfortable. Maybe I should try coming in more at an angle or something to alleviate the wrist pressure. I'll have to ask Adam about that.
2) Making sure my right side doesn't collapse forward
  • My right side is definitely rotated/pulled forward more than my left side. I think one of the reasons I do this is because I don't like it when the peg touches the back of my head. If I straighten and face forward completely it puts the peg closer to my head or it touches the back of my head. I know its okay to have the peg touch the back of your head, but it totally drives me nuts!
3) Watch my posture
  • I was watching my posture, but I think I may have over done it because I look totally stiff!
4) Point the bow downwards
  • This is driving me nuts too! I just can't seem get my bow to consistently point downwards. In this video it looks okay, but when I watch the mirror it looks pretty bad.
5) Left hand fingering
  • I'm still working on having a straight wrist for my left hand. It's getting better, but I see a few times where it collapses.
I guess it's not that bad for an hour's worth of practice for that piece.

Random thought: I wish the pill from the t.v. show American Dad were real! It's the episode where Stan takes the pills to stay awake and to never feel tired. So he's able to learn a bunch of stuff, read tons of books, watch thousands of movies, learn a few languages and does activities he's always wanted to do, but never had the time to do while everyone sleeps.  An extra 7-8 hours a day to do whatever I want - that would be great! Or, I'd take the pill from the movie Limitless as well.
"Yes please, I'll take an endless supply!!"

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