Chinese Proverb

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sad day to discover Janos Starker passed away yesterday...

The Strad: Legendary cellist and pedagogue János Starker dies at the age of 88

I think buried in some of my blogs I wrote how brilliant I think he is! I pretty much compare all cellists' body movement to his when playing cello. It is how I would like to play one day... unlikely, but I can sure try! ;)

He is, without a doubt, the cellist I have watched the most YouTube videos of... and I watch A LOT of videos of cellists! I know some people think he is a bit robotic, but how I see it is: to be that relaxed, and precise in movement and get that sound is just marvelous... and he IS moving around, thank you very much!

I mentioned this in my other blog post, but I like to compare this to dancing. Beginner partner dancers who don't know what to look for (the connection between partners, the steady pulse in the body, the groundness in dancing, the stretch and release, etc) miss all that subtlety and think dancing is boring if it doesn't have aerials or what I call "flash and trash." Really big movement, tricks, aerials or whatever (even if it is not done correctly) because it's exciting and obvious. While the advanced dancers are drawn to the technically sound, subtle dancers.
I'm definitely not saying I'm an advanced cellist, I'm still a NEWB beginner (can't even do vibrato gosh darn it!), but I can definitely recognize and see the precision, relaxedness, ease, economy of motion he executes when playing the cello and I think he sounds wonderful too!

He is just a complete inspiration to me! One day "when I grow up" I would love to have his technical dexterity and ease in playing cello! ...darn it, I really wanted to meet him... :(

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Okay, so it's been a while since I've done a blog entry...oops... and to be honest I have no idea how many lessons I've done since my last post and I haven't been writing down my notes - I'll have to guest-imate that for my next lesson entry.

It's ironic, but when I DON'T post entries I get more views and subscriptions...hmmmm...

Anyway, as usual, instead of working on my two papers due next week and studying for my two final exams on Monday & Tuesday, I'm procrastinating and writing a blog entry! At least, it's making me keep up on my entries! :) So once this semester is over (thank goodness!!) I'm going to "forget" these last few months of no practicing (so I don't get discouraged) and just focus on practicing consistently like I was before. I'm so behind... IF I was practicing consistently like before, I think I would be almost done with Book 2 by now! ggrrrrrrr....

So lots of new things going on cello-related wise:

1) No fine tuners, except C!
I had a fellow cello buddy challenge me to remove my fine tuners to see if it would make a difference on my cello. How could I refuse right?? ;)
When I originally got my two cellos Linda had recommended leaving them off, but I was a newb and wasn't comfortable with tuning. Now that I've gotten a lot of practice tuning with the fine tuners and my mechanical PegHeds - it's REALLY easy just tuning with the PegHeds - I don't miss the fine tuners at all and most importantly, the sound on BOTH my cellos are more resonant and have more volume now! I kept the C fine tuner since I have a posture peg for that one. Ha, challenge accepted and met! And thank you Ben for the challenge!! :)

2) Love messing with strings!
I have Larsen Magnacores on C & G on my Lombardi cello (above) and wow, those strings are powerful! At first, I didn't like them because they were too metallic-y, so I offered them to my teacher Clayton to test them out because I figured he could break them in too! ;) Anyway, once I got them back I tried them again and voila - sounded beautiful and warm!! I think my Lombardi cello may be a "low tension" cello because it likes Permanents, Obligatos and Passiones on the C&G, so I was really surprised that my cello liked the Magnacores since he didn't like the popular tungsten Spirocores! Spirocores don't move that well on that cello.

My other cello, the Jonathan Li cello is a different story, he likes most strings, but I think Belcanto on the G and Belcanto Gold on the C works the best. I used to have Belcanto regulars on both, but putting the Gold on the C really made all the other strings sing more. Photo of my Li cello below. ...hhmm... I just realized I have more cello photos on my iphone than what a normal sane person should have!! Lol!! ;)

3) Darn you ringing tones!
I've been bouncing between my two cellos.... yeah, I know I'm spoiled (but I have a job and saved money for them)... everyone should have two cellos anyway, it would make for a much happier place! Lol!! ;) Anyway, the Li cello is much more resonant (the B even rings on that cello - the Lombardi does too, but not as much) and I've discovered that practicing on the Li cello is highly discouraging because it's SO OBVIOUS when I'm off because it doesn't ring. I was complaining to my teachers and they obviously thought I was crazy that I was complaining that I could hear that it was NOT ringing and needed to work on it, or that I was AWARE that it was supposed to be ringing at all!  ...ugh, so discouraging though... it sucks to realize that most the time I'm NOT in tune in with my cellos when I work really hard on intonation all the time. ...darn you ringing tones...

4) No vibrato yet... sad... :(
I haven't been practicing much, so I haven't been working on vibrato much either. Though the little I do practice on vibrato, it's has just has not been working. Gotta figure out the secret to getting that... there's got to be an easier way....

5) Concert
It's really difficult not to talk about the project I organize since I'm so heavily involved in it, but I want to keep that separate because I don't want my opinions to reflect what the project is about. But, we're doing a concert and planning for this one is just CRAZY! It's more difficult to plan since we're including other instruments (tubular bell chimes, drummer, flute, trumpet, and other percussion with eight cellists!) so it has been taking up a lot of my time. MUCH more difficult organizing a concert with other instruments!! I'm sticking to all cellos next time. ;) Anyway, I'll try to post some photos and videos later.

6) Solo versus ensemble 
I had this great talk with my cello teacher Adam about the benefits of doing solo work and playing in an ensemble. While it's really enjoyable to play with other people, personally, I think I have to be a strong individual player to contribute well to an ensemble, and I've noticed that I've become much more lackadaisical about my solo playing and don't sound as good playing by myself any more, so after this semester is over, I'm kicking it into overdrive and really focusing on my individual playing!!!

Two Finals in the next few days, and then back to cello-ing for me - so more consistent blog entries and videos! :)

Oh yeah, and I'll be attending CelloSpeak in Pennsylvania, which I am REALLY excited about so I've got to get my butt in gear and actually start practicing again!! YAAAAY!!!! SO EXCITED!!! :)
Here's a great blog entry about another cello blogger who attended their workshop in 2011: