Friday, August 8, 2008

Practicing how to use my body

So, in practicing, I had another revelation ... I can't practice the cello's pointless ...

What I learned is that I have to practice how to use my body to produce the sound on the cello ... in an hour, I literally had more improvement on the Elgar than I have in the whole festival, and the sound was *amazing* (for the parts I got up to). I discovered the following:

-I have to practice playing each passage in a relaxed manner ... and once I can do that consistently, then I am done - that's the foundation I need to be able to play things consistently

-Triceps contract during down bow (and the shoulder should open), biceps contract during upbow, on upbow, transfer weight to first 2 fingers, on down bow to the last 2 fingers*

-I discovered that my problem with the main melody was not my bow distribution (which now is quite solid in that passage), but the fact that my thumb was too far over (as opposed to parallel to my 2nd finger) ... i.e. I'm playing on the A string, my thumb should be behind the a string, or maybe even not on the cello ... but basically on the side of the neck ... previously it had been behind the C/G string, which completely cripples the hand
*These are not the technical names for these muscles ... see my notes from the Jeff Solow class (which I'm about to type up)

-Bowing - by letting my fingers hang beneath the frog, more arm weight is transferred, and I get a much bigger sound - this is what I need when it seems like I can't build any more

I also applied some of the Sevcik to the Elgar - particularly in the upper positions (which I'm now going to learn the appropriate names for) - in terms of having a guiding finger, making a circle w/ the attacking finger (I'm not explaining it well - but it's Amit Peled's cobra technique essentially)

I'm gonna write up the masterclass notes now ...

Edit: a cool little discovery:

hi--i have short fingers too and i used to be a bass player!!! ouch.. some of those stretches are outrageous.. what helped me was really strengthening up my hands way beyond what normal prcticing can bring. rubber bands are a great portable easy way to work out almost any muscles in your hands. and the grip master is really great too. both of these can be used in the car,subway,line at bank..etc. this way when you have to make those big stretches you dont have to strain the muscles as much....hope this helps...tchau--bret

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