Chinese Proverb

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lesson #70 (Jazz 05/30/2012): Etude & Bowing

I took a lesson once I got back from my dance trip from San Francisco, which I'm not sure was a great idea since I hadn't picked up a cello for a week! Though I practiced ALL DAY once I got back, which was really really difficult to get my fingering and bowing back.

I definitely missed my cello! It's times like those I wish I would have purchased an electronic cello so I could easily travel with it and just use earphones. But then again, electronic cellos don't sound as good and the fingering spaces will probably be different too.

Clayton also moved into a new apartment, and I'm one of his first students to play in his studio. Normally we meet at the university for lessons but this actually works out better for me since he lives down the street a few miles away. He'll also be leaving for the summer for Boston, so while he's away, he wants me to work on Schroeder's Etude Book and to continue to work on my intonation.

Schroeder Etudes:
He wants me to start at the beginning of the book, which looks fairly easy, but he said there are a lot of things to work on, especially if the fingering is easy.
  • Work on: 
    • Tempo 90 - I've been bowing at 60 bpm, so scales at faster tempos are kind of difficult for
    • Consistent tone, full bow in allotted time frame
    • Clean string crossings
    • Leading with upper arm and not my hand 
    • Other things I can work on: 
      • Different bow placements 
      • Lower tempos, like 72
      • Find different colors: rich sound, softer sound, etc.


  • Continue working on intonation, open bowing and using a drone. Work on the scale that is used in the piece before starting the piece. 

Bowing epiphany:
I made a break through in my bowing during this lesson! :)
  • I've been pushing my bow down unknowingly because I've been working on volume, which was making my bow slide downwards with the tip pointing upwards, so Clayton had me hold my bow up over my head (with my left hand holding the tip and the right hand holding the frog), and then slowly bringing it down in front of me while imagining it's a roller coaster handle bar. He pointed out that resting the bow on the strings should have the same arched feeling of the roller coaster bar coming into my stomach - which it wasn't! My feeling was more like - out and away from my body! I adjusted my bow so I could feel the arch which improved my volume without trying! Wow! :D
  • Another analogy I thought of, which is a bit morbid and weird, is if I had a knife, held it with my two hands and stabbed myself in the stomach (watching waaay to many martial arts movies), I'd have to go into an arch and kind of upwards with the knife to get it right into the middle of my belly. Weird analogy using the same arch, but it works! 

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