Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lesson 5/28/2010

Ok, lesson was good. Funny thing was...I didn't get time to practice much between Wednesday and Friday. We found an abandoned kitten, which took over our entire day and night. I did get some practicing before, so today's lesson went well. I am really getting the hang of playing the cello. In fact, my teacher is impressed that I can play along with her (on violin). I am impressed too -- I never thought I would be able to do that so quickly.

More practice this weekend for sure, and then just one lesson from now on. I am ready to concentrate and meet once a week. She has gotten me to the point where we are really learning new pieces and where I am confident to try just about anything. Oh, she is the BEST teacher ever!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lesson 5/26/2010

I finished my lesson for today and it was good! I really am getting so much better on the cello. My teacher thinks I have excellent tone -- so do I. I can hear myself now and I sound so much better!!

My new pieces for this week include:
  • Rondo by Henry Purcell (Strictly Strings Book 2)
  • Gavotte in C Minor by JS Bach (Suzuki Book 3)
  • Devil's Dream (Memorize -- Basic Fiddlers Philharmonic)
  • as well as and Etude by Carl Schroder
Oh yes, I am also writing an Etude in G Major for Friday (I need to work on that one today).

Overall, I am really so pleased to be progressing this well. I see great improvement each week, and I am coming to love playing the cello more and more.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Violin and Cello

My son is asking me for a violin. He has had one before, twice actually. We still have his 3/4 violin, but it cannot be played (unless you have really tiny fingers). We sold his 4/4 violin to help offset the cost of a guitar. We should have kept that one, but who'd of thought he would change his mind three years later (me -- I should have thought that!)

I was surprised at how well he played the little one last evening. His fingers are too large for it, so it was next to impossible to really play it. But, he did OK.

I will try and find a good used violin for him to mess with -- I don't think he wants to focus on it. He is pretty settled on guitar and piano (oh yes, and drums, and saxophone and now trumpet!) LOL!

Just blogging about our musical interests here...I am still plugging away on cello, while my son is playing every instrument he can get his hands on! God is so Good to us!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stiff Fingers

I took Saturday and Sunday off, just to rest my fingers. My third and fourth finger of my left hand is getting stiff. At first, I noticed it just when I would get up in the morning, but by afternoon it was fine. Lately, my fingers are stiff even in the evening. I decided they needed some rest -- so have been off cello for two days.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lesson 5/19/2010

Happy Birthday, MOM! Just a quick shout out to my Mom, who is having a birthday today!! She is my best friend, and my biggest supporter! Love and hugs!!

Lesson Stuff

Today's lesson was GREAT (as Tony the Tiger says!) I passed everything with flying colors, and even wowed my teacher with my playing of Devil's Dream (a fiddle tune). I did it, I did it, I did it!! Hooray!! I honestly didn't think I could pay it because it is so durn hard!! But, with some perseverance and determination, I did it.

Still working on Beethoven's Minuet in G -- hopefully will be able to play it relatively well by next Friday. Other than piece in Strictly Strings, and another Etude to work on. Good stuff, Maynard!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Practice -- Stressing Good Form

Practice today was focused on good form. I have been stressing my bowing and also making sure I hold my half notes longer. My teacher tells me that I rush through and play half notes as quickly as quarter notes. Today, I worked on this, paying more attention to holding my notes and trying for consistency. A noticeable difference, simply with a little more attention to detail. Good practice!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Practice

Practice today was good (again!) I worked through all my selections slowly, paying close attention to the details. Good progress. I think I will do well next week. Not much to report, other than just a good practice, good outcome, and positive experience. I am pleased.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Practice Times Two

About 9:00 tonight, I decided to go and play the cello. Weird, huh? I had already done my mini-recital this afternoon, and practiced for next week. I don't normally play more than once per day (fingers and all), but I just needed something to do -- so I did it.

I am not sure if this a good thing or not (I think so), but I guess it means that I am getting good enough to want to play for enjoyment. Before, I was just practicing and trying to learn my new pieces. Now, I find myself wanting to go and play cello. I think it is like my son and his guitar. He always has that thing plugged in. He just plays guitar all day long. He is really good, too! I think this must mean that I have turned the corner from struggling beginning-intermediate cellist, to a cellist that enjoys playing for herself.

I played through all my pieces again, but this time, just played them for the enjoyment of playing them. I listened to the music, worked on intonation and bowing, and just simply enjoyed the sound the cello was producing. I think I need to get some more cello books, perhaps contemporary music, just things I can play fairly easily and enjoy.

As a side note, I finally have gotten the tricky part of "Turkey and the Straw" down. Oh, that was so hard to do, but I got it, and it sounds right now. Fun -- I like playing fiddle music.

Practice Makes Perfect

After my informal recital today, I spent time practicing my new pieces for next week. I was really pleased with my performance, and see now, that if I take it a bit slower, I will actually do better. I am always in such a rush -- don't know why -- but it goes much better (practice, I mean) when I focus and slow down. Words and food for thought!

Informal Recital

Whoo! I survived my first recital! Actually, it was an informal recital for family, but I was still nervous about it. I played a couple of my older pieces of music, and did OK. I was nervous which showed up in my bowing, but other than that, I did OK.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lesson 5/12/2010

My lesson today was very good. Actually, it was satisfactory; but, my practice beforehand was outstanding. I am not sure what is going on, but I played the cello like it is supposed to be played! Hooray!!

My new pieces for next lesson include:
  • Minuet in G by Bach (1st two lines only)
  • #21 in Schroder Foundational Studies
  • More work on Liberty, Turkey in the Straw and Devil's Dream (Fiddlers Philharmonic book)
  • and one piece from Strictly Strings Book 2 -- I can't recall the name right now
I am really happy with my progress today, and feel like I am finally getting somewhere. I passed my Scherzo piece, and my two Handel pieces, as well as Jenny Lind Polka. So far, so good. Next lesson is Friday and I am ready to move on!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesdays Practice

I returned to my regularly scheduled practice time, and it did help. I have been scheduling time in the mid-day for practice, and then got a bit behind and moved it up to evening. I am just not as fresh in the evening anymore.

Today's practice was good. I am working on several pieces for lessons this week:
  • Scherzo by Webster (Suzuki Book 3)
  • The Two Blacksmiths by Handel (Strictly Strings Book 2)
  • Bouree (from Water Music) also by Handel (Strictly Strings Book 2)
  • Jenny Lind Polka, Mississipi Sawyer and Liberty (Ok, Turkey in the Straw too!) from Basic Fiddlers Philharmonic
  • Etude 20 by C. Schroder (Alwin Schroeder Foundational Studies)
I've got the Scherzo down except for shifting from 1st to 2nd to 4th in rapid succession. Oh my -- that is the tricky part -- I still stop and start there (slight break -- not terrible, but not as it should be). The Handel pieces are coming along well. The Fiddler pieces are a challenge to me. This book, for beginning ensemble players, is so difficult. I am glad I bought the beginner one and not the more difficult one. The Etude is always fun -- I love Schroders Studies book -- and feel like I make great improvement the more I play these pieces.

Other than squeaking, which I see now is more position and crossing my A string when I am play G on the D string (it happens at this exact moment), and the buzzing (which is me turning my bow too far and touching the wood to the strings), I am content to know that the noises are not really Satan in there, and just me practicing with bad form! LOL! I was getting pretty depressed the other day, but then last week was pretty hellish for me (kidney stone, my elderly cat needing to be put down, etc.) A bad combo and then add in awful noises from my beloved cello -- and well -- you can fill in the rest. I was ready to pack in the whole gig!

Better today, a good practice under my belt, and am now enjoying some fine Yo-Yo Ma music (Cello Concerto in G Minor by Kabelevsky). A good end to a good day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

UGH! Practice was deplorable!

Sigh! Four days of not practicing really does do a number on your psyche. Oh, my goodness! I was sick all last week and didn't practice as much as normal. I went in to practice today and it was like cats howling -- just awful. I am sure the weather changes are the cause as well -- but I factor in there too. Oh well...continue on, plod on, and keep on keeping on. There really isn't much more to say than that.


Ok, I didn't give up, and after my practice earlier today, I went back and spent more time going over my lesson pieces. I fixed a few mistakes I was making (bow holding, position, etc.) and then tried again. This time things went much better, less squeak, and overall a better session. Hanging in there...Tomorrow will be better!

Been under the weather

I have been off this past week -- no real practice and cancelled my lesson on last Friday. Today, I am back in swing again, so I hope to be posting more progress reports soon.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Practice May 4

Yuck, yuck, yuck. Why will my fingers not cooperate with me? I tell them what to do, but they will not do it. I tell them to move in a particular order, but they tend to want to go where they want to go. It is so frustrating for me. I am about to quit (no, not really), but I feel like that is what I want to do today. I am thinking that I will never get past this point, that I will never play like a real cellist, and that I will always so sooooo crappy! I think this is why most teachers say that it is much easier to learn as a child. Children are far more patient than adults, and they don't take it quite as hard when they sound bad. They just accept it and move on. Adults know what sounds good, and when they make screeching sounds -- well -- no one needs to tell them just how bad they really sound.

Sighing and feeling so blue. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.