Lesson Notes for 26 March 2013

March 27, 2013

After a two week hiatus due to spring break, I'm back to regular weekly lessons again. I've spent a lot of time on the Bach Minuets and Gigue from the G Major Suite, and on a pair of Schröder études. On my own I've been working with the metronome against scales and some finger speed exercises.

Bach G Major Suite: Minuet 1 & 2, Gigue

Most of my time has been spent on the b-section of the Gigue. I've been working the last two lines in particular to get the hooked bowing pattern down. I can now play the entire piece at a deliberate pace, and have started to add a little lilt to my bowing to give it a "jig" feel.

As a result of my lesson I know that I need to focus more on accurate shifts as I tend to overshoot a little. Shifting up I tend to be sharp after, and shifting down I tend to be flat. Toward this end David has assigned Schröder 64. (More on this below.)

I can play Minuets 1 and 2 all the way through, with repeats and the da capo. My tempo wanders a bit however, so I need to use a metronome to cement the pace.

Schröder Études 33 and 64

David assign étude 64 since it is nothing but short shifts and extensions. Two things which are key to play any cello literature, and certainly key to the Bach pieces I'm developing. Rather than just attack the piece he wanted me to note all the fingerings, what position I was in, and whether or not an extension was required. The mental exercise of notating the piece has certainly helped my understanding of how and when my left hand should move. I am starting to see whole steps in terms of my fingers, and shifts in terms of where will my 1st finger be after the shift.

I didn't put too much time into #33 and so we didn't review it at the lesson.

For Next Time

At the end of my lesson David asked me if I'd started the Prélude from the G Major suite. I told him I hadn't, and he promptly assigned it to me.

Three years and four months ago, when I stated lessons, I downloaded a copy of all six suites and actually tried my hand at playing the G Major Prélude. After a couple weeks of trying it I set it aside as I knew I wasn't ready for it and I didn't want to cement bad habits in that piece.

I am thrilled that I am now ready to learn and play this iconic piece. I have considered myself a cellist for some time, but to add this piece to my repertoire really makes me feel like a true cellist.

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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.