Chinese Proverb

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

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lesson #38 (01/06/12): My first lesson of the year! :).

I've been sick for a few days now, a really bad cold or flu, and almost cancelled my lesson Friday.
I was feeling the first symptoms Wednesday, but woke up Thursday morning feeling really bad, so I called in sick from work and stayed home all day Thursday drinking Theraflu and Emergen-C and watched the movie Contagion (my husband's idea) ...good way to become a hypochondriac and think I'm spreading a deadly disease!! LOL! :).

Anyway, I was too excited to cancel my lesson Friday so hopefully I didn't get my teacher sick. Although practicing in one of the university's very small, poorly ventilated practice room is almost a sure fire way to get sick...sorry Adam!

Unfortunately, just as I suspected, my technique has been getting worse. I've always thought getting corrections done sooner than later was important, so as not to ingrain bad habits, and I've definitely had some bad habits returned.

Although my teacher mentioned that when he's off for awhile not practicing that some of his bad habits go away and things that he's been working on just clicks. This occurs in my dancing, but not in my cello practice yet. I think you have to get to a certain level before that starts to occur. I took a year off in my dancing, but am back at it this year (Yaaay!) and noticed the same things. Time to start some dance training (cardio, lifting weights, losing the weight from sitting on my butt for a year playing cello...*sigh*).

Review of old repertoire
We went over some old repertoire to get back into the cello-playing frame of mind. I've been practicing during my two week vacation but not recently during the past few days because of my cold. Therefore I wasn't really prepared for this lesson. If I don't practice the day before a lesson I always do horribly worse. Its ridiculous how much I lose if I don't practice daily!

Adam reminded me that I need to keep reviewing the previous repertoire periodically (which I haven't and I'm sure it showed!) so that I can play these pieces from start to finish from memory and have it polished! Hmmm...that may be an idea...I should record all the pieces in Book 1 at the end of 2012 and compare it to the original recordings! ...should be interesting...

Some notes on things to work on:
  • French Folk Song
    • My bow angle on the A string was way off again - my bad habit has returned! blah...
    • Another bad habit returned, I'm lifting my bow again and not letting the weight of my arm sink into the string...
    • My teacher mentioned that one of his teachers gave him the advice of making sure that he could see his second knuckles on all of his fingers, but to be careful not to bend the wrist in the other direction
      • I'll have to practice this and try it out
  • Lightly Row
    • This was better, but I think my intonation was off, although my teacher said it wasn't
  • Song of the Wind 
    • hmmm.. I don't remember what the critique was on this...I think I played this okay although I don't feel comfortable playing this
  • Go Tell Aunt Rhody
    • F# is flat again
  • O Come Little Children
    • F# are flat again - need to work on intonation on this piece 
  • May Song
    • My strokes were too smooth and too legato-like, but this needs to be more articulated. This was the weakest out of all of them. I'll definitely have to work on this more  
  • Allegro
    • Good job on this one, not much work on. I really like this piece! I always do well with pieces I like. 
I definitely didn't play these as well as I should have, and as well as I know I can, but Adam seemed to think it was fine - I think he was just being nice!

Current Repertoire: Rigadoon
  • Slow down
    • I'm rushing through this - Adam mentioned that I seem to be on the front side of the beat instead of the end part of the beat, but I did better when my teacher played the accompaniment with me, although the third way through I rushed it again because I was nervous 
  • Think of this as a "heroic" piece! 
    • Measure 17 - 24 should be medium soft, but I ran right over it and continued to do it very loudly. I caught myself the second time around because I heard my teacher get softer but I was a measure or two late! I'll remember the next time around. 
    • Measure 25 - 32 should be in forte, I should imagine the triumphant return of the hero so it just needs to sound grandiose! Fun stuff!! :). 
  • Adam went into a little bit of history on the composer Henry Purcell who was an English composer in the Baroque period 
    • Apparently Rigadoon Z.653 in C Major was written in 1687 and may be an excerpt from one of his semi-opera compositions and I think originally created for the harpsichord

Goal Time:
I have 7 weeks to get through Book 1 with four more pieces to get through, so that means I have 1.5 weeks to work on each of them and get them recorded. I'll try to record Rigadoon by Wednesday (I think I have this!) and start working on Etude afterwards.

I know I'm rushing through these... not good! :(

I told my teacher my goal and he said I definitely can get the pieces learned by my time frame, but not as polished as it should be. Although he said in most cases, a student will learn the piece, and as they learn and better their technique, they have to return to the old pieces to polish them up because there are just some things they can't learn right away.

I've been listening to the Suzuki recordings diligently at work - I'm sure my co-workers are sick of hearing it! Fortunately, my teacher said he would record the cello accompaniment to all of the Suzuki pieces so I can start playing along to that to get used to how it sounds playing with another cello! Awesome idea!!!  Can't wait to get those recordings!! :).

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