Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Focusing on Technique

It's been a while since I posted, so I thought I would add a little update. My current program is working well, and I feel that I am steadily improving. One thing that needs addressing is my cello bow-hold. I have been holding my bow incorrectly, and my thumb is stressed. I have to now learn how to rehold the bow, and it is so difficult to change this bad habit. The good news is that I am in less pain, and I can manage my practice and lesson times without a lot of tension. It will all work out in the end -- sometimes you just have to relearn technique.

As far as my study books go, I am progressing through the following books:

Solos for Young Cellists Cello

Solos for Young Cellists is an eight-volume series of music compilations with companion CDs. The series ranges from elementary to advanced levels and represents a truly exciting variety of musical genres and techniques. This collection of wonderful music offers young cellists the opportunity to work in various positions, techniques, meters, keys and musical styles.

American Fiddle Tunes for Solo and Ensemble: Cello

This collection contains 16 traditional fiddling tunes from across North America. They are arranged in a theme and variation format, typical of American fiddling. The authentic fiddling style harmonies are written so that various combinations from solo instrument with piano to duets and trios to full string quartet/orchestra are possible. Includes cello melody (solo), cello harmony and piano accompaniment. American Fiddle Tunes for Solo and Ensemble books are written as ensemble books, so they can be played as solo books with piano accompaniment or together as ensemble.

Hal Leonard Introducing The Positions for Cello and String Bass Vol 1 (Fourth Position)

I am currently finishing up Vivaldi's Concerto in C, first movement, and will begin the second movement next week. It is really a very nice piece of music, and I am enjoying it. I may post a link to my practice piece soon. I am feeling more confident now, and I think I could easily perform some of these works.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Working on some new music

I am finally back in the swing of practicing again.  I took some time off at the New Year, but now have some new music to master for Chamber.  We are playing several Riverdance pieces, and I have a fairly easy part to learn.  I am also working through Soloists for Young Cellists, and a great book on Favorite Hymns.  I think I need new strings, but other than that, my cello is doing OK.  I still wish I had a new one, but for now, I have to make due with my old cello.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Music from Riverdance

Learning to play some music from Riverdance.  It should be a fun chamber recital come April!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recital Blues

I made it through recital last Sunday.  I actually did OK, but I would have preferred to perform better.  I knew those pieces of music so well, but nerves got the best of me, and well -- you can follow that path yourself!

My goal for 2011 is to work on performance anxiety, and to continue to strive to play my best.  I am committed to working hard this year, and to focus on getting better at reading music (especially when nervous).  I will do fine, I know -- I just need to work on relaxing more, and enjoying the group experience.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Plans for 2011

I have taken a good long break over the Christmas and New Year's holiday, and I am now getting ready to start the next semester with gusto.  I have purchased some new material to work on with my teacher, and I have set some goals out to accomplish by the end of 2011.

I bought three new books for my studies, and will continue to work through Shroeder's Foundation Study book.  This book along with a nice selection of pieces should keep me well in hand for most of the year.  Add to this mix, my work with the Chamber Ensemble group, and I think I have a good mixture of easy to learn, easy to play pieces along with some more challenging classical works.
  • Jazz Wizard Junior -- picked this up on clearance online and will work on this to learn how to improvise a bit on the cello.  Sweet.
  • Solos for Young Cellists, Volume 1 -- this book is actually a bit easy for me, but in looking over Volume 2, I decided I would rather play pieces I can easily sight read and learn, than struggle through like in Suzuki Book 3.
  • Favorite Hymn Instrumentals, Level 2-3 -- this is a nice book with traditional hymns for cello. It comes with the piano accompainment so I should be able to play some duets with my son.  These tunes are favorites, and for the most part easy to play.  WOW!  After learning Vivaldi, Bach, and some more challenging classical pieces for Chamber, I can actually look at this music and say, "Oh, easy!"
I have also decided to purchase a new cello as soon as I get FT work.  Southwest Strings has a payment program, and while I wanted to purchase my cello from Linda West, I think payments are the way to go for me now.  They have some nice cello outfits, and I think for the first time out, this is my best option.

My goals for 2011 (Year 2 of Cello Study) include:
  • Greater comfort in playing in groups and in front of people
  • Confidence in my ability to sight read and then play with a group
  • Expression and fluidity in my bowing
  • More study in position, especially 3-5th
  • Generally working on playmanship, playing so that I sound better -- no matter the style or level of music
  • Lastly, overall enjoyment of the cello.  Less pressure to perform, more effort to enjoy and be moved by the instrument and the beauty of its voice.