Thursday, March 05, 2009


Today I am inspired to make a quick video response to a couple of questions Michael asked recently on his blog, Cello Practice Smackdown. Or maybe I am inspired to avoid my own practicing. Either way here you go.

The first comment was

Another curiosity question - why does my hand drift out of position so easily when I play cello but not recorder? In both cases, I have my thumb in an easy place for reference. Oh, I know that with cello I do move my thumb slightly to maintain balance, but that doesn’t explain the total letting go that I see myself do.

My response is that the thumb starts in an easy place for reference, but is then continually moving, even when you are just staying in first position. You can't see it so well in the video response (note to self: record thumb while sitting on a piano bench in the future) but trust me, the thumb is constantly in motion unless you have developed the very bad habit of gripping the fingerboard. Get used to "re-referencing" your landmarks!

The second question:

On to my question. In Kummer #7, in the first measur e of the second line I have to shift from IV(F#) to III(A), which is a fairly large shift (for me). I’m not sure I see a way, if there even is a way to walk from one to another without giving up the fingerboard.

See the video for my take on extensions, and two ways to practice this particular pair.



Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this - I can't wait to get home to watch it.

Guanaco said...

I like your approach of starting with your forefinger at the nut before going to first position. I developed the bad habit of glancing at my fingers to make sure they're in the "right" place. I'm going to switch to your method tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

That was helpful on more levels than just the answer to my question. I'll give it a go. And seeing that you are the first to ever make a video just for me, that makes it special as well.

Thank you for putting this together for me and all the cellists out there.

Anonymous said...

Your quoting me also brought to light a grammatical monstrosity that I did not catch in my editing.

A 'curiosity question'. Was I paying attention when I wrote that? Is there any other kind of question?

Thanks again!