Monday, July 26, 2010

Practice Catchup

I have been practicing for about an hour the past couple days. I am getting in good time, and can really see and hear the progress. We have shifted my sticky tab down from where it should be for first position, and it is good. It was in a good spot before, right where your thumb should be for first position, but that made it a huge jump for me to reach with my pinky -- even more than extended 4th position. I think it is a physical issue, the size of my hands perhaps. So we moved it down a bit and it put my thumb between 1st and 2nd position, but I can now reach from X1 to X4 in 1st position with ease. I am also not missing G anymore.

As a second help, we put a sticker on C# to help remind me where I need to be when I reach X4 in 1st position. I get there, but tend to sit to low on the register, so I am flat rather than sharp. This has helped as well, and I think with a bit more time, will be able to find these positions without the little references. My cello looks like a kiddie instrument with colored finger tapes and stickers -- but, hey it works.

As to practice, I spent all of last week refining my bowing. My teacher says my bowing is lovely now. I am working hard on finger placement as well, trying not to flatten my fingers out but keep them up on the tips a bit. I am sure I am not playing the cello precisely as I could, but my hands are old, and they have been through the typing wars (typing up to 100 wpm for over 30 years). I just don't think they want to stretch or sit a certain way. I think there is some arthritis (beginnings of crookedness) setting in as well. Oh well.

My pieces this week include:
  • Lully's Gavotte (book 3) - I already passed this a couple months ago, but am revisiting all of Book 3 to work on better bowing and phrasing technique. Major improvement -- major!
  • Basic Fiddlers - playing in group now, and I am finding that I enjoy the cello/bass part more than the melody. Let the violins play the melody -- they like to take first anyway. I really like my part as it gives OOMPH to the entire piece. I feel very important, even though I am mostly playing the same two notes.
  • Strictly Strings - we are playing through this entire book, and I have mostly the cello part. Again, very nice to play this part because it adds so much interest to the entire piece of music.
  • Schroeder's Foundational Studies - working on etude 10 and 14. Bowing mostly, striving for long smooth bows, and short quick bows.
Overall, I see great progress and I am well-pleased. My cello has behaved, even with bad strings, and a worn out bow. Perhaps a new cello is on the horizon? I sure do hope so!

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