Chinese Proverb

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Cello New Year's Resolution 2013

Well, it's a bit late - but better late than never!

My 2013 resolutions are:
  1. Finish Suzuki Book 2
  2. Start learning how to do vibrato and use it in my playing
  3. Play with a community orchestra 
  4. More practicing, less organizing for my cello group! 
  5. Post at least 5 videos by the end of the year - that will give me 2-3 months on each piece 
  6. Keep up with my blog entries 
  7. Work on sight-reading skills
  8. More efficient practice time 

A look back at my 2012 Resolutions:
  1. Stop worrying about how far I get in the Suzuki book and focus on getting each piece polished, getting them memorized and learning the technique - after Book 1 of course! ;). ...uummm.. screw this goal!! I need to get through these Suzuki pieces faster darn it!! That darn turtle has lapped me twice already! Turtle soup is definitely on the menu next year...
  2. Learn vibrato - NOPE!! Although Clayton did show me some pre-vibrato exercises, but I haven't really practiced them. Does that count? ;)
  3. Learn 2nd & 4th position better and practice it consistently 1/2 point! I've gotten more comfortable with 2nd position, but haven't really played in 4th position much or practiced it.
  4. Be able to have consistent good intonation for 1st position - this should become second nature Well... intonation is something that needs to be worked on all the time. I'm much better at recognizing when I'm off. Point for this!
  5. Start playing more improvisation NOPE!
  6. Learn how to transcribe songs NOPE!  ..*sigh*...
  7. Learn how to do jazz pizzicato on cello Kind of?? Not really jazz pizz - just have to use more of the fleshy part of my finger. It's more about learning jazz basics. I did attend a jazz cello workshop for beginners. 1/2 point! ;)
  8. Start playing with other musicians YES! I play in a cello ensemble, have tried playing some jazz with a couple of guitarist (I was WAY over my head!!), played some cello duets with my co-worker and played duets with a pianist. 
  9. Do some ear training YES! Although this wasn't a very good goal, since ear training should be part of practicing anyway right?
  10. Practice shifts and extensions daily - I hate practicing these, I tend to avoid these because I'm not very good at this! 1/2 point! I've started practicing shifting more because of the Mooney's Position pieces. Not daily though... 
  11. Focus on 1 or 2 pieces, instead of 3-4 pieces and other misc projects at the same time! Focus on assignments given and not what I want to work on or skipping ahead. I've discovered once I finally get to the piece I'm already bored with it because I worked on it before and its no longer fun and exciting! uummm..not going to happen?? Just too many things going on at one time! At least now I know this wasn't a very realistic goal. 
If I do 9 out of 11 goals, than I think I'll have met my goal for 2012. Well, not quite - although I think I may have set way too many goals to begin with! 

Some positives to end on - highlights from 2012:
  1. Started a successful cello group/project - not quite ready to disclose the name, but I think I may later 
  2. A lot of "firsts":
    • First time I attended a cello workshop (I attended two!)
    • First time I played with other musicians 
    • First time I played in a cello ensemble 
    • First time I played in holiday concerts (for two retirement communities!)
  3. Got mentioned in a popular cello blog (SWEET!!) - Cello Practice Smackdown:

Here's to another year of learning, growing and enjoying the art of cello playing! Cheers!!!! :D


  1. Dear Gem Cello, I started playing the cello 9 years ago at the age of 50. I was introduced to your blog via Cello Practice Smackdown. It has taken me 3 weeks to read your 2011 blogs. I intend to catch up to the current ones this month. It's a lot. You amaze me. If you are retaining 1/10 of all you've learned and shared you are a Cello Goddess already. I must say that I was duly impressed with the progress between the early videos and the ones by the end of 2011. Your tone is wonderful. Your bowing is wonderful. You must have a terrific teacher. I have to share with you that I went back and looked at my Suzuki books and I finished book 1 in 2 months. Finished book 2 over the next 4 months, and book three in the next 5 months. Fast is NOT better. My tone after 9 years is not as lovely as your tone is after one year (I'm really looking forward to seeing 2012 videos). So don't feel like a turtle. You are way ahead of the game. It's not a race. It's a mountain that you're always climbing with no finish line. Just the pure enjoyment learning, growing, and sharing the music. Enjoy the ride. Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thank you so much for your kind words, wonderful reminder and sharing your experience with your Suzuki repertoire! :)
      I do have two wonderful teachers whom I adore and who also inspire me with their own playing. Even though I know it's not a race, I get impatient to be able to play those beautiful pieces that I hear. One day... ;).

      Hope you have a enjoyable cello-year as well!

  2. WoW, another good year to get better at rocking/jazzing/classicking on the cello huh? Really glad this blog got mentioned in a popular cello blog :) I honestly believe this blog has contributed to many aspects of my journey, so I really hope more adult beginners come here and benefit like i know i did.

    Unlike last year,I don't think I have new resolutions for 2013 since looking at my 2012's, I haven't fulfilled 80% of them! Since one of them was to set up a cello blog much like yours, not having one after a year is a solid proof of that :P

    So I am retaining 2012's resolutions, and like last year, more importantly on #6 :-
    6) To never let the passion falter, not one bit :)

    Btw, i think Dr Whitcomb's book is really helpful on your 2013's #8. I am still in chapter 3(slow reader!) and it has helped me achieved more with my ever shorter practice time.

    And don't worry too much on being slow whatnot. I agree 100% with nancy on Fast is not better. Needless to say, I learnt many great things from your videos (and honestly I am envious with your tone at times!) whether or not it's direct. Just last week I had an ah-ha moment on my bowing after revising one of your videos. Got my latt dorsi to assist me with my near frog bow and I feel I have more control than ever now, thanks to you!

    May God bless us with great cello time this year and beyond. Pretty sure you'll achieve all your goals :) and for me, hopefully like last year I'll at least keep this one promise:-
    6) To never let the passion falter, not one bit :)


    1. Yeah, I'm still waiting for you to post some videos!! =p
      So glad that it helped you out! ;). It's definitely a different feeling - and then eventually you don't have to focus on it and then it becomes much more relaxed...

      Yours is probably the single BEST goal out there!

      ...definitely not letting the passion falter. ...I question it, I get impatient, I get mad at it, but so far it's held steady. If I can make it to five years of consistent playing I think I'll be set.

      Hope you have a blessed cello-year too. Cheers!

  3. LoL I am waiting for myself since last year as well! Well some progress, I've started audio recorded myself and boy, they were so honest! I had to delete some of them bcause the 'truths' were unbearable. But at least now I know a bit more where I sucked at. Definitely need more practice on double stop scale for my intonation. Since I only rely on my not-so-great relative pitch, many times I went adrift and only realize it until i hit open string/harmonics :( Maybe when i practice rep or anything, drone is a must now!

    Yesterday my teacher also set me a goal (after I showed him your blog/vids!) - to perform/video-record myself on at least 2 'student' sonatas/concerto this year. I haven't decided which music yet but most likely Marcello E-moll (including largo and allegretto) and maybe Squire's Tarantella since my Breval C-maj still sucks! Lotsa polishing to be done even on these two but at least I learnt the notes/fingering and both are in minor which I love (although tarantella got that dmajor section that really screw my counting ).

    Hopefully I will get this done before my cello anniversary in June! Time to step up my efforts to get that nice tone of yours :)

    1. Yeah, I have many deleted truths! I don't look forward to the days I have to record, but I always feel good afterwards because I know I tried my best - but its a LOT of work!

      Yaay on the 'student' sonatas/concertos - you'll be sharing those online right?? ;)

      WOW - Squire's Tarantella is faaaassst!!! Good luck on that one!! :D