Chinese Proverb

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lesson #47 (02/11/2012): Etude & bowing

Wow, way behind on my blog entries again!! It's been a crazy busy month! Besides school & work, I've been doing a lot of dancing lately: troupe practice, social dancing, teaching a blues dancing class and taking a class in contemporary. Dancing definitely has been taking away some of my cello practice time, but I've put cello practice as my top priority...well, right after finishing my homework...blah!

It's pretty common to see Lindy Hop/Swing dancers be lured away to learn an instrument and I've always wondered how in the world learning an instrument can possibly compare or even compete with the love of dancing! I know of at least 4 top level international Lindy Hop dancers/instructors who play instruments, and at events would prefer to jam with the band rather than dance! Well, now I can understand why that is! :).  ...not that I'm jamming with other people yet, but hopefully soon...

I swear, since I've started learning cello (even though its mostly been in classical), hearing and dancing to music has taken a whole new meaning! Intuitively, I think the rhythm and phrasing of music has sunk in and I'm able to dance more musically and also have better partner connection because of it! Connection to music is such a HUGE factor in dancing. This is definitely a no-brainer and not a surprise to anyone, but it actually affects dancing even more than I had originally thought possible!! I can only imagine how awesome it would be to start off as a musician and then become a dancer, instead of vice verse.  Although, I can also see it being more frustrating as well.  

Anyway, below are my lesson notes: 

C Major Scale
  • The lower C Major scale in first position sounded much better, and I was able to sound more legato-like without having a very obvious sounding start to each note. I was practicing mostly the C & G string since that was what my weakest area during the previous practice - so I improved a lot on that. 
  • Unfortunately, I kind of neglected working on the upper C Major scale on the D & A string, so my spacing on between the first and second finger was off, which was correct during the previous lesson. 
  • Fingering 
    • For the upper scale think about having more spacing between the first and second finger, and always think about putting down the third finger as a unit with the second finger to get practice in spacing, plus it assists the third finger. Or I can think of it as having the second and third finger being closer to the fourth finger. 
    • My first finger is too far forward which is probably why my first finger feels a little sore sometimes. I need to bring it back closer to the rest of my fingers.

Playing in different chairs
  • I still have issues when I'm playing in different chairs! At home I practice in the same room, with the same chair, with the same stand and so on, so I know exactly where everything is in relationship with each other. But as soon as something changes, e.g. different chair or wearing heels, it completely throws off my bow angles and left hand fingering! I play on two different celli too which have different finger spacing and bow angles, so I would think I would know how to adjust to different environments by now, but no... :). 
  • Anyway, Adam recommended that I use different chairs at home and move to different spots so I can start adapting more quickly to each environment. He also mentioned, he used to practice the same way I do, with everything setup perfectly each time, but when he started college he was unable to set up a consistent practice area, so instead he purposely made each practice area different each time, e.g. when using one of the many practice rooms at the university, he would rotate through the rooms which had different chairs and stands, and also set up so he faced different directions each time. 
  • He also recommended that the reference point should be where the button of the cello hits my chest. I used to try to reference the cello position where the inside part of my leg touched the cello's ribs, but wearing heels totally screws that up since it puts my knees higher, even though the cello is where its supposed to be! I've stopped wearing heels while playing the cello, which was kind of weird for me since I used to wear heels 24/7. 
  • A David Finckel Cello Talk 95: Adapt! speaking just about that: 

  • Singles
    • Still not getting a very focused clean sound in this, so he recommended playing closer to the bridge. 
  • Doubles
    • Don't rush through the piece or speed up 
    • Don't exaggerate on angles - I think I was kind of lost where my bow angles were supposed to be so I was fishing around for them! For some reason, this entire lesson my cello felt like it was "off" or something because I couldn't find any notes quickly or get clean string crossing - which is why I thought my cello setup at the beginning was incorrect. 

Emailed Assignment from Adam: 
  • Try playing a scale with your pinky off the bow, so that way you can get your hand used to not really actually using the pinky for anything else than just balance.
  • Think of more space between fingers 1 and 2 in general.
  • I  think your intonation on the D string was out because you went from doing 1-3-4 fingering on the c and g strings, but when you have to swtich from that to 1-2-4 on the A and D things start to go a miss
  • Etude: More definition between notes... it was really quite legato, don't rush (get faster), Practice the different bow arm positions so you can get between the G string and C strings without hitting another string.
    • You want some angles, but not too many
    • Make sure your bow is by the sticker for doubles

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