Chinese Proverb

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

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lesson #19 (7/26/11): Go Tell Aunt Rhody & O Come, Little Children

I've been learning some songs that weren't assigned to me yet. I get fairly bored doing the same ones over and over, and I wanted to do some fun pieces over the summer, so I haven't really been focusing on the technique books for the last few weeks. I've been mainly focusing on repertoire, especially since we'll be going over all of the pieces at the end of the summer with a mini, informal recital.

I've discovered that learning additional pieces from the Suzuki book has become more easy since I've been using the technique books. I'll have to start the technique books again at the end of August.

Also, I thought learning the pieces will help me learn the fingering and bowing beforehand to help familiarize myself with each piece before I cover them in the lessons. Then the lesson would fill in the gaps and proper technique. Well...that's the excuse I've been using anyway!

Lesson notes:

1) Dynamics - some fun stuff!
  • We went over dynamics, i.e. being louder or quieter in different sections of pieces. I've found this to be really helpful because trying to do volume changes has really helped me understand what needs to be done (or whats lacking in my case) to get the correct volume. 
  • In Go Tell Aunt Rhody, on the second line with the repeat of notes, it typically is played more softly. When I played it with my teacher he was confused as to why I didn't play that section more softly until he noticed that it's not written in the updated version of the Suzuki book I have. During this part, I'm supposed to play more quietly and he plays more loudly.
  • I really enjoy playing around with this, especially since I don't know vibrato yet. It's given me some motivation to figure out how to control my volume! Where before controlling my volume was something that just had to be learned, now I WANT to learn to control it so I can determine how soft or loud something is played and interpret a song my way. Since my playing is medium to medium-soft only, I'd better figure out how to increase my volume so its more distinct.

2) Reading music notations 
  • I was curious how to read the music notations in the Suzuki book. I looked up the information online but wanted to go over it with my teacher in case I didn't completely understand it. My teacher was taught through the Suzuki method, but doesn't exactly teach the curriculum. 
    • Different speeds listed in the book: moderato, andante, allegro, allegro moderato, grazioso, allegro giocoso and a tempo
    • Different dynamics: mf, f, dolce, meno mosso, rit. & poco rit.
  • We also went over what the little dots and lines meant over a note, and other symbols.

3) Bowing
  • I was also curious about the different bowing technique, since there are quite a few bowing techniques mentioned for specific pieces in Teaching Suzuki Cello: A Manual for Teachers and Parents by Charlene Wilson that I haven't learned yet. Specifically:
    • Martele "Brick-wall bowing"
    • Detache -"Paint brush bowing"
    • Hooked bowing
  •  Adam demonstrated the different bowing types which I found to be really cool!! Can't wait to start doing those! However, I don't think I'll be learning any of those yet. I think I may request that he teach some of the ones that are mentioned in the book for the specific pieces I've already learned.

4) Repertoire
  • We went over Go Tell Aunt Rhody and O Come, Little Children - this was much better, but I still need to work on my smoothness, volume and bowing.

5) Need to work on:
  • Smooth bowing 
    • Notes should not have a distinct stop and start
  • Internalize rhythm 
    • Before playing scales I should stop and think about the timing and how each note will sound before starting the scale. This way the length of each note will be consistent. 
      • He mentioned that when I'm doing scales, the length of each note isn't very consistent so he has to adjust to it, and that it would be fairly confusing to other beginner cellists if I was to play with them. 
  • Internalize volume control
    • I always seem to adjust my volume accordingly and play louder when he's playing with me to match his volume, but when I'm on my own, I play too quietly. I have to learn how to have better volume control when playing on my own.
      •  Same thing here, know how loud each note should be. Expect a certain volume before playing each note, and make sure the volume matches what I envisioned it to be.
  • What I learn technique-wise from doing scales, I should transfer to repertoire
    • That's a no-brainer, right? But for some reason, I'll learn something on scales but it doesn't transfer over to other pieces that I'm working on. I think unless I intentionally focus on that specific technique for that piece, the technique doesn't automatically gets updated. Especially since I've played those pieces more than a few dozen times and its already in muscle memory. Therefore, I have to remember to rework that technique into each piece.

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