Chinese Proverb

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lesson #120C (3/6/2013): A Minor Melodic, Hunter's Chorus and Oh Susanna

This was a fun lesson, and we covered a lot of information.

New Scale: A Minor Melodic (2 octaves)
My first minor scale! Clayton explained that C Major's relative minor key is A Minor. Basically it has the same notes but I start with A, and then the last two notes (6th and 7th) are raised on the way up and then lowered on the way down, so I have to play it as a F# and a G# on the way up, but a natural G and F on the way down.
  • A Minor: A, B, C, D, E, F#, G#
    • Oops forgot to get the fingering!
  • Things to work on;
    • On the upper octave, remember that is half step, and not a whole step on the way back down so watch my spacing between my fingers 
  • Arpeggio: A, C, E 
    • Oops forgot to get the fingering

Hunter's Chorus 
Clayton thought it would be okay for me to start Hunter's Chorus while I worked with Adam to iron out the kinks in Judas Maccabeaus, which is mostly with my intonation anyway. So we worked on articulation for Hunters' Chorus.

  • I'm moving my elbow too much, I can leave it at one level if I need to do one string crossing to grab a note. In general, if I need to grab one or two notes its okay to leave my elbow at the same level, but if its a few measures I need to make sure that my elbow level goes with the string which Adam has mentioned to me several times as well, but I have the bad habit of exaggerating all of my movement. 
  • Measure 31 & 32: I kept picking up my bow and I need to make sure that I stay on the string.
  • To accent the the notes, just use more bow instead of my bad habit of pushing down on the string.
  • Don't reach with my 4th finger, I was playing everything to sharp 
  • Measure 2 & 3: I was stopping my bow when I got to the D, but I should "run into" the next note, that is, I need to connect to the next note instead of playing each note separately. I didn't even realize I was doing that!  
    • It boggles my mind regarding all the minutiae I do that I don't even realize I'm doing! I wonder if it drives teachers nuts to hear and see things students do that they aren't aware they're doing. Lol! :) Although I'm really happy that he is calling it to my attention so in later pieces I know what it means to connect to the next note or whatever. 
    • ..hmmm...I wonder how long it takes for a beginner to become consciously aware of "everything" that is going on (bowing, dynamics, fingering, phrasing, etc)? Although I guess if one doesn't know what information they are missing in the first place that would be difficult to determine.  
  • Measure 21, 22, 25, 26: Just as an exercise (this is NOT how it's supposed to be played): think of it as a decrescendo. Think about not playing the A, that it just occurs when I bring my bow back to the frog to get quieter dynamic.
  • This piece is in forte so I need to make sure that I play with a lot of energy and volume. I should think of hunters on horseback with trumpets blaring and match the sound to that. :)

O'Conner Method
I keep wanting to go back to jazz or some other genre with Clayton because I want to take advantage of the fact that he is really good with rhythm (he plays jazz double bass) and seems to know how to teach other genres.

Anyway, I told him that I was going to start the O'Conner Method so I've been slowly going through the book. Clayton recommended that I start from the very beginning and make sure that I read through everything since it's cumulative in its progression. So far so good! I like the content and it introduces nomenclature, how to read music, how to count out the rhythms and some history on each of the piece that is being played. Very well rounded with regards to approaching and starting a piece. Darn, why couldn't I have stumbled across this sooner??

Anyway, I'm only on page 8 on Oh! Susanna, and I have to admit I am not used to playing songs very quickly, which is evident in my videos since most of them (except 2 or 3) seem to be at the same slow tempo. The first few pages had similar rhythms with regards to the Twinkle variations, but I happened to skip the Twinkle variations because I absolutely HATE Twinkle and asked Adam if I could skip the variations! And of course, it's come back around to haunt me. ;)

Even though these are "easy" we were able to find a LOT of things to work on! Mostly on bowing however:

  • Match the bowing in the audio recording
    • I've discovered that when I listen to audio recordings that I have a difficult time distinguishing the different bowings used. I can distinguish it if it's drastically different, say from really smooth legato strokes to really short staccato, but anywhere in between sounds pretty much the same to me! 
    • It's weird. If I watch him play while listening, it's like "duh, I totally hear that!" Yes, extremely obvious! But, if I just listen to the recording I become less certain. I'm sure it's because I'm receiving more sensory information with Clayton playing it in a small room in front of me than what an audio recording can provide... I'm blaming it on  my speakers! ;) Or maybe I'm just not familiar with the different bow strokes and therefore can't tell them apart. 
  • Don't pick up my bow
    • I tend to spring off the string (whether or not I'm supposed to) instead of choosing whether I'm bowing on the string the entire time or not. Since I need to match the audio I need to stay on the strings more. Another thing that I'm not consciously aware of doing! 
  • Relax!!
    • To play fast, I need to be even more relaxed. Funny enough, I'm familiar with this concept since to be able to dance fast I have to relax and drop tension, which is at first counter-intuitive and not what my body wants to do most of the time, but I know it's achievable since I can do it with dance. Although that took a really long time to get used to! 

My goal for this is to learn how to count out the rhythms and learn how to play faster. I'll try to post a few pieces later on.

1 comment:

  1. Hi ya!

    It has been months, literally, since the last comment i posted here :) but rest assured, you are always on my reading list, top of it :D

    BTW, on minor scales, don't you think they really suit the cello? I don't know,maybe it's just me, I have this weird feeling that my cello is more resonant, easier in tune when I play minor (harmonic minor particular - in my case D, C, G and Bf so far). It's actually good since the pieces I am playing now are in Bf minor and Dminor. All the more incentives to slow practice on scales! (in fact in 1 practice session, I spent 45mins on scales, for good or bad reason). On the fingering going up and down, my teacher specifically instructed me to never memorize the finger numbers and memorize the melody of minor scales instead :) Really helps since sometimes unnoticed-ly i played some scales up until 8 position (with only 'nearly there' intonation tho) since i was only thinking about the melody!

    Other than that, I am still practicing the tarantella and have to accompany my 'guitar hero' friend playing Badinerie in April(on real electric guitar lol, not the plastic guitar hero!). Badinerie is nearly there (correcting my left hand posture since this piece is all extended position!) but not sure about tarantella for my 1st recital :P worst case ill just play a bit easier Webster's Scherzo instead ! Pray for me :|

    On rhythm, please please please share if you ever crack the code how to accurately count and play! I suck at this so much and my teacher has already hinted the ensemble in my school to include me :P I am so scared...

    And Good luck on your new adventure in jazz world~ you are absolutely lucky to have both Adam and Clayton to teach the different2 worlds of cello music :) You'll do great that I am sure~ Until you next post!