Cellospeak - Tuesday

July 28, 2015

Today's schedule pretty much mirrored yesterday's: three technique classes in the morning and private lessons and practice time in the afternoon.

Pulse and Rhythm

The first group session this morning was all about pulse and rhythm. Using our hands and feet while walking in a circle we practiced different rhythms against different pulses. We also learned basic conducting motions. By self conducting as you audiate a piece you can start to identify which beat a particular figure of the rhythm belongs to. We also talked about the rhythm of the bow - which is not always the same as the printed rhythm of the music.

Throughout my lessons David has talked about the bow "playing half notes", or "whole notes", meaning one bow for several notes. Hearing this stated as the rhythm of the bow helped to drive that concept home for me.

Elementary Technique

We had a different pair of teachers for the elementary technique and musicianship sessions and they used our assigned Cellospeak music to further drive home the ideas of pulse, rhythm, and bow rhythm. It was a good session that not only helped us to progress on our music for Friday's performance, it helped me to better understand how to translate the notations on the page to physical motions in my left and right arms and hands.

Private lesson

At my lesson with Alan today I was able to perform the open three lines of the Tarantella with improved tempo and fluency. We reviewed the first couple of lines and then spent a lot of time on the 10-note slur that ends the second line and finishes with a harmonic A.

This passage has given me trouble since I started the piece and today I feel like I unlocked it. I'll have to practice it several times to really grasp my new understand, but I see that it is possible to play it rapidly and fluently.

We didn't have time for the Bach today, but we'll start with it tomorrow.

Recital

Tonight was the first night of student recitals and they were very good. The support and positive feeling from all the members of the audience was incredible. After the students played we had one more faculty performance and then a wild tango with several of the faculty. Included in the tango was a skit beautifully pantomimed by two faculty members.

Sight Reading Jam

After the reception for tonight's recital I joined about 8 or 10 cellists who sigh read a bunch of pieces in increasing difficulty. I was pleased with how well I was able to keep up. What throws me are notes several ledger lines above the staff. I don't recognize them on sight yet and once that happens, I'm lost. Some times I can jump back on, other times I sit and listen until the end. It was a good hour to end the second full day of Cellospeak with.

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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.