Chinese Proverb

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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lesson #90 (09/29/12): May Time

We went over May Time and it went fairly well, except from some spots with regards to intonation, but I get to start on Minuet No. 1! Adam mentioned as my technique gets better and better, we should start to notice that we can go through the repertoire a lot faster! :D

I'll try to record May Time this weekend (hopefully).

I've been so swamped with work stuff, school stuff and my cello project that I've fallen way behind on my entries so they're a lot shorter than usual. I just wanted to get the posted and updated. Hopefully, going forward I can start entering more detailed lesson notes. They definitely help the concepts sink in a lot more.

[Fall CE Lesson #1]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lesson #89 Jazz (09/23/12): May Time & Bflat scale

Since Adam was busy, I had Clayton go over May Time with me since I wanted to practice it before having to play it for Adam.

I have to admit it was a COMPLETE DISASTER!!! I was having a lot of issues with string crossings again and I was getting a bad skating sound, and I hadn't practiced much on it, so we spent half the time working on May Time and the other half on practicing the Bflat scale.

I've found it's kind of fun going to sixth position, although it still sounds pretty awful and my shifting is still a disaster, but I feel like I'm actually moving around the fingerboard! Yaay!! Definitely a confidence booster!! :).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lesson #88 (09/12/12): Long Long Ago video, Gmaj & May Time

I had taken a break from taking lessons with Adam since he was really busy, but we went over my last video, which I thought was a great idea! :). He asked what I thought about the video, and I had my usual response that "I didn't like it" although I had liked the second section (the variation) better because I thought I felt more relaxed and it sounded better.

He commented that he liked the first section better because it was more focused and sounded better overall. We then got into a great conversation regarding things we like to focus on, when they may not be the things we should be focusing on or having issues with!

After the lesson I went back and looked at the video, and I have to say everything he commented on, I 100% agree with! It's so weird getting feedback and then re-watching a video and getting a completely different perspective! Going forward I'm going to have to ask him to review the videos, since this is such a great way to look at something more objectively.

We went over the Gmaj scale and I recorded May Time so I could start working on that piece for the next lesson.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lesson #87 (Jazz 09/09/12): Bflat scale

I did really well learning how to do the Dmaj scale and didn't have too many issues with the extensions, so Clayton decided I should start on the Bflat scale in two octaves. Yikes, he's definitely tossing me some difficult stuff to do!

bflat   C   D   Eflat   F   G   A   Bflat   C          D    Eflat   F           G   A   Bflat
2        4   0     1     x2    4   0     1       x2         1     2       4            1   x2    3
III            II                        I                           4th pos.                    6th pos.

Ouch - 6th position... no, sorry that isn't a cat screeching... what is it? ..ummmm....

For the arpeggio, I need to go down and then back up since I haven't covered some of the other positions.

Fingering;  2      1      4      2      0      2      1
String:      III     IV   IV    III     II      II     I

It's the strangest thing, but I have the worst trouble in recognizing whether Eflat and Bflat are in tune. Those notes are just really hard to tell... ugh..

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lesson #86 (Jazz 09/03/12): D Major & Shifting Exercises

I haven't been practicing consistently lately and am trying to get back into a routine. Hopefully I can get back into the swing of things shortly and start enjoying practice time again.

D Major Scale (2 octaves):
Since our focus on this semester will be trying to learn as many scales as possible, he gave me the D major scale in two octaves to work on. LOTS of extensions... I hate extensions. ...oops, I mean I LOVE extensions... ;)

I don't quite have F Major down yet, but Clayton wants me to start another scale... Although he explained that he wants me to start being comfortable moving around the fingerboard more and to become "familiar" with the scales so we can start jazz stuff. I guess the scales don't exactly need to be perfected just yet.

Shifting exercises:
He also started me on some shifting exercises. I hate shifting... ugh... *sigh*  I'm starting to feel like everything has gotten SO MUCH more difficult all of a sudden. I just want to make "beautiful music." Can't it just be easy and beautiful?! ;)

So the shifting exercise from finger to finger.
1 => 1     2 => 1
1 => 2     2 => 2
1 => 3
1 => 4

Vibrato Exercises:
Vibrato exercises! My husband came down to grab a snack while I was having my lesson and commented that I should start working on vibrato!! The little weasel...

I have mixed feelings about starting vibrato though... I want to start doing vibrato, but I don't think I'm ready for it yet. Too many things to work on anyway!

Luckily, it's just an exercise without actually doing vibrato.
  • Thumb Vibrato - "place hand in a position with natural balance, then lift up fingers and leave thumb, initiate forearm with loose thumb"

Clayton instructed that my thumb should be loose at all times and that the forearm was moving and not my wrist or hand. He held is hand close to my forearm and instructed me to bump up against it with my forearm while keeping my thumb nice and loose, and to keep the angle in line with the fingerboard.

I told him about my blog, and asked if I should continue avoiding any concepts that we go over during our lesson, and he said that would be best. However, he'll be done with his paper in November and I could post about it then, and in the meantime, blogging about my assignments are perfectly fine.

Which is too bad because we go over some really cool concepts and ideas... I was thinking about maybe typing it up and then posting the details later, but that's just too much work, and writing about concepts takes a really long time!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Practice Log #16: Book 2 Long Long Ago and Variation (after 85 )

Wow, it's been a little over 2 months since I posted my last video! :(
It's been a busy summer - with the cello workshop and camp, and also organizing a cello group. 

So here's my Long Long Ago, which I pretty much gave up on. I really wish I had recorded it when I thought I had it!! It sounded so lovely back then.... Trying to re-learn something to get it back the way it used to be is beyond frustrating, the things I thought I fixed are back in full force and it just doesn't sound right any more. I can't focus on this piece any more so I need to move on. 

I also have a drone on in the background. I recorded myself playing a C on the G string and looped it for five minutes. I've found it's easier to hear if it's my own cello and its in the same octave. The electronic tuner is just really hard for me to hear because its electronic and is higher. It a good exercise to get a smooth legato stroke too. 

Things to work on:  
  • Tempo: this is definitely on the slow side again and should be a LOT faster 
  • Rhythm: I can hear myself slow down and speed up in certain sections 
  • Intonation: my fourth finger - flatty, flat, flat!! Darn you fourth finger! And first finger E. 
  • My bows is sliding all over the place again and I was using the rests to re-position my hand, I think I should be less obvious doing that... 
  • A positive: I was working on dynamics and I think I was able to go much quieter in the sections I'm supposed to