Chinese Proverb

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lesson #25 (09/26/11): More Perpetual Motion and Variations

We spent the entire time on Perpetual Motion, but I really like working on technique anyway and he finally went into a lot more detail with regards to different bowing which I really enjoyed.
I get bored fairly easily so I love it when we go into the minutiae of cello technique. Otherwise, I feel like I'm just repeating the songs over and over without really getting anything out of it. However, when I have technique to work on, I feel like the songs just blossom because I have a whole new way to approach it so its no longer dull or boring!

When I attempted the new bowing (ack, I forgot to ask what the bowing is called again!) during this lesson, the sound was really, really UGLY and I was afraid to try it in front of my teacher because it was kind of embarrassing how awful it was! He pretty much said I shouldn't be afraid of trying new things - but it was more that I wanted to try it in the privacy of my living room first so I didn't have any witnesses during my EPIC FAIL in trying the new bowing~! :).

Actually, once I got home and tried it, it was much better and easier to do. I think when I get embarrassed I just tense up and over-think things so nothing seems to work. I've got to get over that somehow - otherwise, I won't be able to get feedback while I'm working on new things!

I also need to stop jumping in with what I think is wrong when he starts to give feedback. I always feel like my playing is never to my satisfaction and I can pick out a hundred different things wrong with the way I played it. ...Well, I take that back - it seems when I'm NOT trying that it just flows and sounds good; and I'm always surprised when that happens!
Most the time, he points out things that I'm not aware of or worried about, so my goal for my next lesson is to keep my big mouth shut and just wait for him to point out specifics!

1) Perpetual Motion in D Major
  • Some improvements from last week
    • My notes on the A string were weaker last week, and are better this week
    • The notes are more articulated this week than last week - this is still a work in progress though, my teacher definitely has more "bite" in his bowing
  • Need to work on:
    • The D notes on the A string are to sharp - during my string crossing to A, I drop my elbow which causes my pinky to also drop and make the D sharp 
      • The Fix: when moving the elbow back, think about lifting up my elbow and pulling back so the pinky goes straight back. This may feel like it will make the D flat, but it won't
        • Feels like drawing a bowstring
    • Going from open D to another note is typically hard because there aren't any other fingers down for a reference point. Therefore, in measure 4 during the open D notes, use this as an opportunity to put the first finger down
    • Exercise: 
      • In measure 4 for D4, D1, D0, D0
        • Play D4 and D1 normally
        • First D0 = play open D string, but at the same time put down first finger on A1 
        • Second D0 = play open D string, but at the same time put down fourth finger on A4 (then my finger is ready to play A4)
    • This is to help getting the correct intonation easier- as always, use any available fingers to help out
  • I'm rushing through some notes 
    • To slow down a bit, I should think about accentuating the second note every time a note is repeated
      • I'm not supposed to do this all the time, only when I am rushing through notes or increasing the tempo. 
      • This way, I can get used to paying attention to the second note and not rush through it. This will serve as a trigger/reminder to slow down when I see repeated notes
    • My teacher mentioned this was technique called "bracketing", overdoing something too much or too little so I can get used to the difference and settle on doing something in the middle which is typically the correct way to do it, e.g. overdoing some notes so I have to slow down and get the correct tempo 
    • Start using the metronome
      • This is going to be a tough one for me, I just recently learned how to use a metronome with my scales and have yet to figure out how to use it with songs. 
      • Adam recommended tapping my foot out to the metronome to get the beat, internalize it, and then try it with the song without the metronome first
      • During the lesson he observed correctly that when I tap my foot sometimes I'm tapping the beat (and my bow is following), but sometimes my foot tapping is following my bowing! It was amazing he could tell that, but he said it was because he used to do that all the time too

2) Variation B (Doubles)
  • I’m bowing too close to the bridge, and should be closer to fingerboard which is why I was getting the horrible scratching sound
  • For the doubles, I should start with the bow closer to the frog otherwise it'll be a lot of effort and my arm will be tired by the time I get to the end 
    • Make sure I start and stop at the same place - I was traveling to the middle of the bow
  • Use the whole arm, not the wrist 
    • For now, lock my wrist because my hand is getting too loose (bracketing again)
    • Also, my arm and body should jiggle with this bow technique if I'm doing it correctly!
      • hhmmm...what were the lyrics to that song..."jiggle it, just a little bit"
  • How the bow should feel
    • The bow pressure should be consistent through out and the sound continuous 
    • This does feel like a consistent scrubbing motion
  • The rhythm
    • The rhythm on this is a bit difficult for me. Adam thinks I'm over-thinking it (which I agree), so I'll have to listen to the recording in a loop for awhile to figure out the timing so I don't have to think about it and just do it
    • I think I'll also memorize the notes first so I can really focus on the rhythm and bowing and not have to worry about the reading the notes


3) Preparation for Doubles
  • This is a different bow stroke 
  • Bounce off the down bow, which will make the up bow lighter. The sound should be: STRONG-weak, STRONG-weak
  • Make sure I start and end at the same place on the bow

Some other exercises:
  • Play against open A string when playing notes on the D string to help with intonation

Weekend pictures: I took these pictures with my hubby on Sunday on my iphone. I happened to be listening to some cello adagios during our little hike/walk and the scenery and everything (the smell of fresh air and fragrant flowers and leaves, and the sonata playing in my earbuds) was just simply AMAZING!

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