Chinese Proverb

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lesson #32 (11/14/11): Bowing on G & C String

Okay, so I'm a bit behind on my lesson notes, this was from Monday's lesson.

This was a good technique lesson, which I really enjoyed! I love going over technique! :).

Lesson notes:

G string bowing
  • From my previous lesson, I had been working on my hand position on my bow, so playing Long Long Ago didn't go as well as when I was using my bad hand position because I was trying to implement the new technique I learned from my previous lesson.
  • Unfortunately, changing my hand position and angle to bow on the G string is also throwing off my bowing for the A&D string! Not sure why, since I'm not trying to actively change it since my teacher said it looked good and the angles were correct. 
    • Maybe my muscle memory had connected the relationships between my previous incorrect bow angles and is trying to adjust accordingly to the new angle? 
    • Now that I fixed my wrist so it doesn't bend downward (the opposite of what its supposed to be doing), I'm over-compensating by creating a sharper angle for my upbow and downbow when it should be more horizontal than what I'm currently doing.
  • Also, I'm making my wrist come up before the frog reaches the string (again). During my upbows I should think about not popping my wrist up until I absolutely have too. Or, just not popping it up AT ALL and it will occur on its own. 
    • It definitely feels more horizontal rather than vertical, i.e. since my pointer finger, wrist and elbow is aligned it feels like if someone were to push my elbow in, than it would come in on a straight line, almost like my pointer finger is leading the way, but being pushed by the elbow... I don't know...It's definitely a different feeling than what I was doing before!

C string bowing
  • My C string bowing is also off, but I knew this since I couldn't really get a nice clean sound from my C string and my bow was skating all over the place!
  • My teacher suggested that I move my first finger forward on the grip and to have the stick touch below my first knuckle to give the bow even more weight, and spread my fingers more to have more contact points on the bow.
  • Also, I was forgetting to rotate my body to my right to allow more access to the bow.
  • My angle on the C string is also incorrect and over exaggerated. I have to remember: conservative angles and body movement, since I tend to exaggerate everything - economy of motion is my friend! 
  • All cellos will have different angles to bow on the C string, therefore he said I could tell if was bowing correctly on C was if: 
    • The bow doesn't skate all of the place and remains in one place without too much effort, 
    • I'm NOT using a relatively large amount of weight to make a sound, and I'm not "pressing down" on the string; and,  
    • I can feel my back working to pull the string, which is especially true for the C string.

Thumb position on G & C Left-Hand
  • My thumb position needs to be closer to right side of the neck, so more of the neck is in my hand. 
    • I was keeping my thumb in the same place for fingering on the A & D strings, but my thumb should be moving towards the right as I use the G & C string accordingly. 
      • If I don't move my thumb, than I won't be able to get the weight into my fingers and the fingers' angles will also be incorrect.
    • This feels very weird too me because I feel like I have less control over the fingerboard since the strings aren't hitting my fingertips where it used to be - I'll just have to keep working on it and am sure I'll eventually get used to it.

  • We played Long Long Ago and Andantino together and I thought it didn't go as well as the previous pieces we've played together. My teacher was definitely more positive than I was, maybe he sensed I was disappointed in my playing!
  • He mentioned that every time he's played with me my timing and sound always got better. I explained its easier for me to play with other people because I like to listen to what the other person is playing to find cues on what to play and to also blend in. 
    • I'm much more comfortable doing that because I know my mistakes won't be so obvious and I never know how loud I should be. I always think I'm too loud, but I'm always too quiet. For me, playing with someone else is always easier because I can just match their volume or whatever else they're doing. Easier to mimic, then lead I guess... 
  • My teacher commented that this was a good skill to have because it's important to know how to follow and blend, but on the flip side, I should be able to lead if I ever want to do solos. 

  • Adam suggested that I should set a goal to play in a community orchestra in 2-3 years, which I thought was an interesting idea!
    • Although, I think I'd much rather play in a chamber group or small ensemble - much more intimate. However, I'd still try out for community orchestra, but that's a few years down the road anyway.
  • We also set a goal of playing Saint Saens' The Swan (among my favorite pieces and one that is on my To-Do List) in the next 2-3 years! 
    • It's in Suzuki Book 5 and I told him I'd be really sad if it took 5 years to get to this piece since I thought it typically takes a year to go through a Suzuki book. He said after the first couple of books, learning the pieces goes by faster so we should shoot for 2-3 years as well! YAAY! :)

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