Chinese Proverb

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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cello Practice Log #5: Getting there...

I've been enjoying Colorado's summer weather and went on a nice hike with my hubby, so I did a short practice on Friday and didn't do a video yesterday. I know, I know... accountability... but my priorities were intact! My husband arrived home from campus and wanted to spend some time together. :)  Got to lead a balanced life, right?

Anyway, I decided to use as many of the method and technique books that I had planned by decreasing the time spent on each one instead. However, I think I'll put the Essential Elements as an optional activity, since the repertoire seems to be taking it's place.

I was worried that 10-15 minutes wouldn't be long enough, but I've found that it works even better for me. Since I know that I only have a minimal amount of time to get a section accomplished I'm much more focused (I'm still using 5 minute intervals). I think 20 minutes is sometimes a little to much for me because I feel my concentration drifting at times.   ....probably because I have the concentration of a gnat! Although on Saturday I did some extra time to make up my time missed on Friday and made some great discoveries, which I will post in another blog.

Practice Notes:
I also started doing 'Practice Notes,' where I jot down any discoveries, things I do that make things feel different or things that don't work very well. I think self-evaluation is important to make improvements and it makes practicing more efficient and interesting! It sure beats "just going through the motions."

This way, everything seems to be more active and engaging since I seem to run an internal dialogue when I practice:  "How did I do that?" "What did I do differently there?" "What can I do differently to change the sound?" "I wonder what else I can do to make it feel more relaxed?" Normally followed by - "okay, that didn't work," "That felt weird," or "Ugh, that definitely was not right!"

However, I do get the rare, "wow, that felt much better!" or "wow, that was really relaxed and the sound was awesome! - How did I do that again?"

...dear metronome, why can't you play nice and stop being so difficult all the time...?

I tried using a metronome for the rhythm section in Beginning Technique for the Cello and couldn't do it for the life of me! I've discovered I can only use a metronome with quarter notes and eighth notes - anything faster and my brain shuts down in confusion because it can't coordinate my left hand fingering, bowing, metronome timing and whatever technique I'm working on at the same time!

Therefore, I'm using the metronome with my repertoire and the book, I Can Read Music, to get used to playing with the metronome first. I'll use the exercises in Beginning Technique for Cello as finger exercises for now because the metronome doesn't want to play nice with that book yet.

What's nice about I Can Read Music is that it ramps up slowly, so I can really focus on intonation, fingering, and now, playing with a metronome!

Below is my practice log
I'm up to two pages now so the image is smaller than usual.

I wasn't given any new repertoire last week, so the video is all of the pieces I've learned so far. At the end of the summer, Adam would like to go over all of the songs I've learned.

Things to work on:
  • Continue working on getting a nice relaxed left hand and drop the elbow more
  • Continue working on getting a nice relaxed bowing hand and bend the wrist more
  • Intonation... especially during the French Folk Song, I always have issues with my first finger in this piece!
  • Continue working on Song of the Wind! I obviously don't know this very well because I don't consistently get this piece right. I'd better get this one down by my next lesson so I can move on to the next piece! :)
  • Make sure my bow points downwards
  • Watch the string crossing to A in Lightly Row

Improvements since my last video:
  • Definitely a lot less stiff than my previous video 
  • My left wrist is a lot straighter, but I still need to drop my elbow a little bit more and relax my fingers and arm 
  • I'm bending my bowing wrist more, but I still need to drop my elbow (darn elbows!)
Still LOTS to work on! 

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