Lesson Notes for 15 January 2013

January 15, 2013

It has been a long time since my last regular lesson. Way back in mid-November I had a normal, regularly scheduled lesson. The following week there was a conflict, and then there was Thanksgiving, and then I had foot surgery. In mid-December my teach graciously came to my house for a lesson as I was still recovering from my surgery (all is well now). Then we had the Christmas and New Year's break, which brings us to today, and my first regular lesson in two months.

I've been busy with a number of pieces, and we reviewed most of them today.

Bach G Major Cello Suite, Minuet 1

Just over three years after starting to play the cello, I am working on my first Bach suite movement. It's like graduating from middle school and getting on the high school bus. I'm thrilled to be playing this piece. Moreover, I am having fun learning and playing this piece. David assigned it to my at the last lesson before the Christmas break. I've spent the past few weeks working it out on my own. That I was able to figure it out without have it spoon fed to me felt tremendously good.

David was pleased with my progress and promptly made a few fingering changes and some bowing changes. There are two sets of three-up-bows in a row that he wants me to play up-down-up. For the trill at the end of the first line, instead of playing a D-G-B chord to start, he wants me to play a D-G-C chord and then trill the C-B, until time to play the D-G chord at the end of the measure. The D-G-C chord introduces a slight bit of tension, which is release when the trill ends on the B.

Midway through the second half, after playing the dotted-half note E, the suggested fingering has the C (on the G string) played with second finger. I couldn't figure out why this shift was there as I was immediately shifting back to first position to play the B-D-A. David showed me that by not shifting again I can play the B-D-A as 1-2-4 (first and second finger on the G string, and fourth finger on the D string). This is a much more compact movement of the hand and just feels right.

We looked at the beginning of Minuet 2 and talked briefly about chaconne base. A chaconne is a four note descending pattern: G-F-E-D. There is a partial, recurring chaconne in Minuet 2.

Chanson Triste

This Tchaikovsky piece is beautiful. I am drawn to melancholic melodies and this piece is no exception. This is the first piece in the Suzuki method that uses Tenor Clef. After three years of working solely in Bass Clef it is somewhat disconcerting to have all the notes in the wrong place. However, David gave me a wonderful clue three weeks ago when he pointed out that the pitch you play is basically a 5th higher than the notes on the staff, were they in Bass Clef. In other words, when you see what looks like a G, play the D that is a 5th higher.

On my own I was able to learn the first 27 or so measures. Since the ending is largely a repeat of the beginning I've got about 2/3 of the piece already. He and I worked on the middle section, which has several shifts.

Schröder

I worked on several études from the 170 book, the last two being #27 and #28. He was pleased with these and assigned #30 as my next étude.

Position Pieces

I haven't been as diligent about practicing from this book and it showed today. For next week I need to have the first 4 pieces prepared.

After a bit of a hiatus it felt wonderful to have a lesson again. I'm looking forward to this year of cello.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.