Friday, August 8, 2008

Jeff Solow Masterclass Notes

Little Russian Dances thing (forgot the actual name of this):

-Need flexibility in Right Hand ... usually the lack of flexibility comes from the thumb
-He showed a dead arm exercise where we shook our arm, then connected our thumb & 2nd finger & shook our arm, then tightened it & shook our arm - you could really feel the tension, and see the way it limited you
-The arm is like a hose. A block of the water flow means little water (small sounds)
-Tools for RH Power: Arm Weight, Gravity, Muscles
-Raising Arm w/ muscles=potential energy & then you use muscles to direct the fall of your arm
-Muscles lift, gravity pulls down, cello gets in the way - Dead weight: bow would fall if strings weren't there (Marc Tagle used to say that too)
-door hinge/snake motion needs to be present at all times [this is my observation, not his comment]
-Upper arm muscles - Deltoid, Pectral & Latissimus Dorsai
-Deltoid holds the bow up
-Pectoral contracts for upbow
-Latissimus dorsai contracts for down bow
-Fingers must be completely lose
-bow must go slower than arm
-fingers stretch while bowing

-similar to shooting basketballs - once you shoot, it's out of your hand
-shift launches from elbow
-image: trampoline under elbow & you want to dismount in 3 bounces

The way you practice shifts is by launching, and if you hit too high, launch lower, if you hit too low, launch higher.



-Bow shouln't be tilted so that it hits the string
-Maintain contact point
-Tone Production: Cello is like a bell - we bow, then get out of the way
-You have to feel the sound that's about to come out of the cello. For a good/pure tone, play just under the breaking pt. for loudness
-Bow controls whether you hear the shift or not
-Bow is sitting on a shelf when you hit the right spot


allen smith said...

sounds like the summit festival is teaching you a lot and providing you with a great working environment. thats what i was hoping for but it doesnt seem to be there for wind players. i expected to have the same kind of schedule you are having adn was looking forward to the kind of work load and learning experience you are going through.

the lessons i got from julian the first week were terrific. he plays the clarinet beautifully and you should make sure to hear him next week. he is going to play the bartok contrasts which is a great piece of chamber music.

you have a great attitude towards your playing and seems like you are willing to put in the hard work. to me those are the best ingredients needed to becoming a great player. dont let things get in the way of the practicing though. its too easy to fall behind.

my email is
i think im on face book but i really dont use it. though i created the new technology area of sony music and we incubated my space i am finding myself lately becoming a bit of a "ludite"

Owldaughter said...

Wow -- the actual description of which muscles do what in a bow stroke is incredibly helpful, isn't it? Thank you so much for sharing these notes!

Mike Lunapiena said...

Yeah ... Summit's been a mostly string thing for a while I guess ... hoepefully they'll start to expand that more ...

I heard him last year and was completely blown away ... the fact that he's playing Bartok is just more amazing ... glad to hear he's as good of a teacher as a player ...

I'll keep in mind what you said re: not letting things interrupt practicing ...

I can certainly understand the "ludite" bit .. I'm gonna go get some air & then go practice ... talk to ya soon ...

Mike Lunapiena said...

Autumn - I agree!

and check out this interview for a little bit more:

In my opinion, this (the body portion) is what teachers need to teach, and it's always what I'm asking about it - Jeff's one of the only ones I've met who's really given me that (though I didn't play for him)

I'll be taking notes for all the other masterclasses, so hopefully those will be as interesting ... nice to hear from you..

allen smith said...

have you listened to and looked at the bartok string quartets. the concerto for orchestra and violin concerto are also great pieces of music. they were almost an everyday listen for me when i was a kid at juilliard. along with coltrane.