Chinese Proverb

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lesson #56 (03/17/12): Minuet No. 2

We worked on Minuet No. 2, which I was having the same issues in Minuet in C, but surprisingly enough, the small shift to second didn't cause a huge problem for me! Go figure! :).

Lesson Notes:

1) During this lesson I was getting a skating sound throughout this piece, which I've been working on adding more weight and getting more contact between the string and bow for a while now, so we covered some of the same info:
  • Make sure my arm is hanging and the weight is being transferred to the strings. 
  • Adam thinks there may be an imbalance between the pointer and my first finger - although I don't remember why that was... Also, I need to make sure my whole arm and hand is involved in the motion - I seem to have more wrist action than whole arm action.
  • He recommended that I think about: 
    • Staying on the string the entire time and not lifting my bow, and to really make a point and emphasize having the bow on the string at all times
    • Watch where the bow is located and keep it in the center at all times (for now), so I can work on getting my sound to be consistent and my volume to be louder. 
    • Also to think about how it felt when I did the articulation in Etude because it should have a similar feeling, i.e. I should be making sure that I am able to grab the string, the weight is there, the bow is being pulled horizontally, and the difference is just not releasing the string. Also, I should feel comfortable and feel that I am able to grab the string before moving on to the next note.  
  • Exercise #1: go ...r e a l l y  s l o w l y... note-by-note
    • Adam instructed during this exercise that I don't go to the next note until the first note is ringing and I feel comfortable with that note. Then add the next note. However, I need to start over if the note doesn't sound good or doesn't have the same tone as the other note. Once I get that correct, repeat a minimum of 3x to make sure I have it, this way I can get it into muscle memory. I should not move on as soon as I think I get it correct. So I'm literally building it note by correct note.
  • Exercise #2: smaller string crossings
    • My string crossings seem to have really huge movement, and not very clean either! So Adam recommended that when I do string crossings, that I should have the "feeling" that it's a small movement, which right now, I definitely think it "feels" like a fairly big movement and that I have to move my entire arm more than what is probably needed. 
    • He also instructed that I take each string crossing and make it as small as possible to find out how small a movement I need to make a successful string crossing without bumping the other string. I should pay attention to how that feels when that happens, and adjust accordingly. 

Measures to work on:
  • Measure 1,4,9, 11
    • Do these measures really slowly and make sure the string crossings are clean with good bow contact.
    • Make sure whole arm lowers, and I'm not just using my wrist. 
      • I’m was keeping my elbow height the same so the weight wasn't getting transferred to the string
  • Measure 15, 23, 39: Triple slurs
    • I was playing these triples too slowly and not equally. It's really hard for me to make the notes even in a slur! Too many things going on at the same time I suppose... 
  • Measure 29 & 30: smooth slurs
    • Remember to give the full beat in the first note and not to cut it off. 
    • Make sure that the two notes are seamless and smooth, unlike the other slurs where it's okay to have it articulated. 

Since it's already Wednesday, and I had my lesson on Sunday, I've had some time to work on this piece and get it memorized (though not that very well), since I've had to pay attention to my bow location at all times. But I have to say, it's definitely coming along! :).

I have to admit during one of my practices, I was a little frustrated working on this piece, and thought, "...more volume, okay you've got it!" and totally laid into my cello! Lol! :). Surprisingly, I had an epiphany, when I was "going at it" and not worrying about how bad and harsh I sounded, I finally felt how heavy the "weight of my arm" could actually be! My poor cello... I LOVE my cello, the poor thing! <3.

Anyway, after that I seem to have gotten more volume, although I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly. Hopefully, I'm not pushing down on my bow because it's a little harsh sounding right now, although it feels different than when I "normally push down" on my bow because I can feel it from my shoulders instead of my forearms and wrist - I don't know...we shall see during the next lesson...

Anyway, hopefully by my next lesson this piece will sound a lot better than it did during this lesson, which was frustratingly horrible!  


  1. I am SO happy to find you! I am also an adult beginner! Thank you for posting SO much.