Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm going to miss them

I know, it's a wonderful home, and I really like the people. But sometimes you just especially love them. I'm going to miss those warm, purry, snuggly wakeups. Johnny leaping from the dining room table to the counter to enjoy his goat's milk. Frankie grunting, unsuccessfully imitating a Maine Coon's trill. And so many other things.

Have a good life, Frankie and Johnny.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Weekly practice review

Yesterday, I welcomed Daylight Savings Time by sleeping all afternoon, after being up early to play for church, then succumbing to insulin toxicity induced by the carbohydrate load of the apple fritters I consumed at a local dining emporium.

Why do I mention that in a post about practice review? Because I slept all day, I didn't start to practice until after 8:30pm, which is fine for me, but DH has a weekday 4:30am date with the alarm clock, and our house is very open. So I didn't want to practice more than about 30 minutes. I did that, however, instead of skipping it because it was the last day of the week and I wanted to report a good practice week, 5 days out of 7. Thanks, Practice Club.

The funniest moment of the week happened just as I came to the end of my 30 minutes. I was playing the first four bars of arpeggiated chords from the Sammartini Sonata in G (Suzuki Book 8, 1st mvmt, p3) with my eyes closed so I could concentrate better, when DH stopped by on the way to bed and kissed me on the top of my head. Oh, my! I nearly jumped out of my skin! Then dissolved into laughter as my heart rate returned to normal, and asked him to please, never kiss me when I am playing the cello with my eyes closed.

How romantic is that?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009


I think that many things would be easier to learn if the tutorials were written by true beginners.

Example: I started trying to learn ABC for creating graphics of music snippets several years ago, collected a ream of instructions, got bogged down in the details, and gave it up to go on to something else. Yesterday, Michael blogged about creating his first ABC project, and eureka, I knew just enough to start.

Here's my first project. Well, really my second, because I had to do it twice after I lost my first file when ABCedit timed out because I hadn't fed it the (free) license code in time. Oh, well. You know what they say about practice.

This is my current etude bugaboo. Maybe I'll write more about it later, and scare off the last remaining readers of my sporadic-in-2009 blog.

(BTW, that took about two hours. Can I count it as practice time this week?)

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.


Monday, March 02, 2009


This is Pi, curled up in the circle ball track. It's odd that this is one of his favorite places, all 7 1/2 months and 9+ lbs-worth of him. It's not a very big space, but it must be cozy.

See what I mean?

This is Pi after he woke up and spilled out of the track.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Something New

Okaaaay... One big, fat post for the month of February. That's what I call taking a break.

I credit the Practice Club on CelloBloggers for helping to maintain my interest in practicing in a month filled with taking care of my mom post-op, administering meds to cats to finally resolve the diarrhea issue, multiple kitten adoptions (the Vanalikalikes, Spud and Jo all found excellent homes), the return of Pi due to an unsuspected heart condition and his subsequent diagnosis and ongoing treatment. Actually, it was a busy month, but knowing that I had committed to reporting my practice time every week to a handful of faithful peers was just enough motivation to get me to my practice room.

This is my other inspiration this month:

I have been keeping a rudimentary journal in a weekly academic appointment calendar, but decided that something a little more colorful might increase the fun quotient. Sort of like stickers for adults. So I bought a dry-erase board with daily divisions and a space for lists, along with a pack of multi-colored dry erase pens. Now I have the added incentive of covering the board each week.