Saturday, February 14, 2009


I haven't updated in a really long time for all sorts of reasons ... but basically being busy ...

Anyway. Had the concerto competition earlier ... I lost it (2 contestants, I came in 2nd) ... I was playing the Elgar Concerto (1st mov.) ... something I've been working on for almost a year and a half ... later I was talking with somebody, and basically the following came out: "I hate when I don't reach my full potential in anything ... and in 4 years here, I haven't really ever reached my full potential ... I don't have enough time to practice, and it's a cyclical thing" ...

It's really frustrating & really true ... I'm still not where I should be & that piece wasn't up to the basic level (it was close though) ... I'm still not making mind-blowing progress like I used to & I still don't have real callouses like I used to ... So I've got to change for good. I'm promising myself that on all weekends, I'm going to practice 3 hours every day ... every other day, I've got to practice 2, and wednesday will be my day off (b/c I have orchestra that day anyway, and it's just impossible to practice w/out waking up at about 6:00 AM ... but I need to do more if I'm ever going to make it or amount to anything on cello ...

The End.

PS. I don't mean to say I'm sore about the results of the competition ... I'm not ... I'm just pissed at myself for not being better and not being the best I can yet again... the other person in the competition did a great, amazing job w/ some really awesome pieces (Grieg Piano Concerto & Slow movement from the Pathetique ... can't go wrong w/ that shit!!) ... she deserves it & I'm sure it's gonna be an amazing performance!


Emily said...

I'm sure my take on this comes as no surprise, but...

Make sure you're not taking that frustration into your practice mindset. Often times, I would lose the focus of working on a technical issue in the hurry to improve. You're right, it will take hours and hours of practice, but maybe thinking about the things that need improvement instead of a quantity of time will help. For me, my list would have looked like this while I was in my last semester or two of college.

1) my big shifts are unreliable

-imperfect technique
-stronger ear training needed

2) vibrato is not smooth

-long tones
-mirror practice

3) some phrases don't have direction, I don't know what to do with them

-find the point of the phrase
-pedal back rather than go overwrought
-record myself

Then get good at the solution, and applying the solutions to your whole way of playing. It's hard to feel traction when you're at a high level. You are faced with a sophisticated set of issues. What you also need to improve is your way of practicing; the stuff that got you here won't get you any further. Your practice needs to become more sophisticated, too. Leaner, meaner, more direct. If you have any specific issue that is killing you, email me and I'll give you my two cents. There is, even in these times, even with the glut of talent we have here, a way for you to make your life with the cello. If you keep practicing and getting better at practicing, that life will find you.

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