This was an awesome lesson!
I was telling Clayton that I noticed that my back, neck and shoulders were hurting from doing vibrato and he mentioned that I may be pulling my shoulders back and down, which would cause my back to hurt. And of course I was! :(
He mentioned when he does fast strenuous vibrato he can feel it in his back, but it shouldn't cause back or neck pain. Apparently there isn't a way to avoid those specific muscles from activating since the job of the muscles of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the humerous inside the shoulder socket, and doing vibrato activates those muscles. ...okay, it's been a few days since my lesson and I didn't take any notes (all from memory), so I may be off with regards to muscle names or whatever.
Anyway, I should be able to do vibrato without making my back hurt, and I'm obviously doing something wrong if it's causing my back and neck to feel tense. So much so, I went to get a couple of massages within a couple of weeks! ugh!
I have to say that Clayton makes everything look absolutely EFFORTLESS when he plays the cello. He advocates playing as relaxed, natural and efficiently as possible, so I've been trying to mimic his movement for awhile, which is not working! I guess my "mimicking powers" don't work very well! Lol! ;)
He assigned an "exercise" to feel how natural movement would feel like when opening up the arm. Basically, I should pretend to reach up and grab an object that is located above and behind me, and then pay attention to what my body wants to do naturally, and how it feels when completing that action. The "naturalness" of this action, should feel as natural when opening up the arm to move up and down the fingerboard.
We worked a little bit on shifting to help with fixing my vibrato.
One of our conversations went something like this, "so you remember that shifting exercise that I assigned?"
I reply, "yeah, the one that I've been avoiding and don't like?" ...and yes, I really did say that! ;)
"Well, that shifting exercise will help with your vibrato to make sure that you're opening and aligning your arm correctly."
**DOH!!!** ...and no, I didn't say that - I was actually thinking of a four letter word instead!!!
I hate that exercise!! Darn it, I guess I'm going to have to practice that one...
Clayton actually knew that I'd been avoiding that exercise and disliked it, so I think he was relieved and somewhat pleased to know that I would be practicing that exercise since there really aren't a lot of good shifting exercises out there. Darn, no way of avoiding it now!
Well, my vibrato is on hold for a little while anyhow, I just have too many things going on right now and can't spend much time on cello practice. ;(
Can't wait for this summer when I can devote more time to my cello!!!