Chinese Proverb

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lesson #153A: Warmup exercise & repertoire

It's been a while since I had a lesson with Adam since he was out-of-state during the holidays and I've been really busy with family stuff.

We worked on the exercise he gave me, which I find to be really frustrating! It's supposed to help with my intonation and shifting, but for the life of me I just can't seem to get it right. I guess avoiding practicing it doesn't help either. :(

String Finger Note Problem
IV 0 C
IV 3 E Finding that E from "no where"
IV 1 D
IV 2 F
IV 1 E Make sure this matches the other E
IV 4 G
IV 2 F Making sure this matches the other F

Repeat pattern on all strings (same finger pattern).

The beauty of this exercise is that I'm supposed to match my notes to the previous matching note that was played, but I can't seem to get it consistent enough to match. Although I'm getting better at recognizing whether I'm flat or sharp. Before I just knew I was "off," but not which direction.

Move my entire arm. My hand seems to be tipping forward and not keeping its shape as I shift. Also, I should think about leading the shift with my forearm more, and feeling how the crook of my elbow opens up to help me calculate the distance of my shifts.

Rotate top half
I need to rotate my upper half more when I'm playing on the A string.

Hunter's Chorus
We worked on some intonation and phrasing issues since I need to revisit this piece before I can record it by the end of this month. I wish I would have recorded it when I had it down a few months ago!

Take the first two measures and play them as double stops to work on intonation. My second finger C seems to be the culprit!

Measure 25, 26, 29, 30
  • Watch intonation
  • Use less bow, and think of a "scrubbing motion"
  • Play with dynamics 

We briefly worked on phrasing since we ran out of time, but I need to work on making my bow strokes more legato to make the notes flow into each other more.

So I need to work on:
  • Staying on the string
  • Using more bow
  • More legato bowing

I'm starting to like how this is sounding! :)


  1. Sounds like you have a very good teacher! You are lucky. With regards to the third finger E, make sure you find the correct note before you start to play, then lift it just enough to play your open C and don't move your hand, that way, when you put it back down, it will be over the note (I'm not sure if you already do that, but if not, it will make a big difference). Not even a virtuoso could reliably find the correct note out of nowhere. Also, remember that open strings are your best friends. You can check the intonation of almost any note by playing it with an adjacent string. For example, of the g string:
    Ab with open C or D
    A with open C or D
    Bb with open D
    B with open D
    C with open C
    D with open D

    Shifting with your hand instead of arm is very common. I have a problem with that as well and it is good you are addressing it now.
    Sounds like you had a very good lesson with lots of things to work on! I look forward to hearing of your progress.

  2. Did you mean 4th finger for that first F on the C string? As for finding that E, it is the fourth harmonic of the open C, so it should be the most resonant and least resisted spot in the vicinity of your third finger in first position while the C is still ringing. It may feel like a "groove" in the string that your finger could sink into depending on the resonance of your cello. Btw, this sounds like the target note exercises I do for shifting and intonation. It really works! When you play the D and the G on the IV string, try to be accurate enough that the open D or G string begin to sympathetically vibrate visibly and widely - a good quarter inch at least.