Monday, August 31, 2009

The sound of one hand practicing

Just getting in under the wire - one more day, and August 2009 would be the first month without a post in almost two years.

August was a funny month. Between my travel and T4-'s I had half the expected number of cello lessons, plus I was building back up in practice time in fits and starts after my longer travel period in July. I'm up to an hour pain-free, but still lack the desire to work daily. I think it's coming, though.

Two weeks ago I initiated the "what am I going to do this semester?" chat with T4-, and I'm excited about the plan:

Set Allegro Appassionato aside in favor of Squire's Tarantella. I'll have many of the same bowing and fast-playing issues to be worked out in a slightly less complex piece of music. That was a relief, as I had reached the point of discouragement with AllApp. Now I can look forward to revisiting it with a new and improved skill set in the future.

Suite #3, beginning with the Prelude. This will be my first pass through this suite with a teacher, so I'm excited. I love the expansive joy of the 3d prelude.

We're going to spend some time on orchestra excerpts, which are important both as rep (I'm far more likely to play in an orchestra than to give solo recitals) and as an etude substitute. We're starting with Mozart Symphony #40 and Beethoven Symphony #5, which are the usual audition pieces for amateur orchestras in this area. Fun.

This is still a little up in the air. I'm continuing to work on Popper High School #1, and may look at the pre-high school book. Not sure about thumb position stuff yet, but for now I'll use the scales in Offenbach Grand Duo Concertante, which I am working up outside of lessons.

T4- doesn't seem big on scale routines and checking on them in lessons, so I'm a bit on my own. I can play all 12 major and 12 natural minor keys in 4 octaves at the drop of a hat, using Duport fingerings, so I've been choosing a key of the day and practicing elements of articulation or bowing from my pieces using either a standard 4 octave or Galamian 3 octave scale as the substrate. That seems good for now.

The impossible dream
Haydn Concerto in C. Yes, I'll probably get to start it later in the semester, and I'm thrilled.

I spent three years with T3- developing flexibility in my bow hand, so it's a nice change to focus more on left hand flexibility in order to play fast. At my last lesson on Tarantella we discovered that when I finger the notes without using the bow I make no sound. My project for the week is to observe my left hand while playing without the right hand. When I achieve the right degrees of flexibility, floppiness, unrestricted expansion and contraction, and balance the notes sound as I play them.

Very cool.