April 11, 2012
My lesson this week was good. We worked on my current nemesis piece, Schröder #27, and spent a lot of time on Allegro Moderato.
The goal with this étude has been to play it faster. My technical skill level allows me to play up to a certain tempo and then no faster. At least no faster without the wheels coming off. I spent time this past week working on smaller passages of the piece, adding a note or two when I had the passage working. I also worked on using a shorter bow stroke. The shorter bow stroke really speeds things up. A couple of times I was astonished at how much faster I could play a measure or three. Sustaining faster playing will require more effort on my part. When I first learned to juggle I could keep going only for a few exchanges, as my skill grew I could sustain the juggle longer. Playing fast(er) falls into the same category. I can do it for a while but then I lose my concentration or momentum or something and it all falls apart.
David was satisfied with the improvement I've shown on this piece and so we set it aside. It isn't by any means done, but I have gleaned from it all I can for now. For next week he wants me to start #32, which on the surface is much less imposing than #27.
We spent most of my lesson working on Allegro Moderato. This is the graduation piece from Suzuki book 3, and its the first piece that occurs in performance literature. I like the piece musically and my progress with it has been good. In the middle of May I'll be auditioning for a local orchestra and he thinks this should be my audition piece. We played through it together and for the first time ever I wasn't thrown by his cello voice against mine. Usually when he accompanies me I get lost as I listen to what he is playing. This week I was able to concentrate on my own playing while keeping an awareness of his playing. Very cool.
I also need to prepare three scales for the audition: C:, F:, and d: melodic. I know all three, I just need to polish the intonation and presentation of them. The final part of the audition is sight reading. This is scary for me as I haven't done very much of it at all. I'm thinking about downloading samples of cello pieces from the Internet to use as sight reading practice fodder.