Monday, November 23, 2009

Discovering Secrets

I learned 4 very important things in the last 2 days of cello playing

1. I needed to "let go" of the bow & stop using so much downward pressure/trying to force the bow & use my upper arm muscles to increase the bow speed instead. I had had this pointed out to me before & had lessened the pressure from what it was then, but I didn't really understand it until now.
2. Which leades me to my next point - Cello is a physical task & no matter how important the mental side of things is, the body has to learn & feel how things should be. The cello and bow are really just extensions of your body while you're playing them.
3. Which leads me to my next point - "practice makes permanent". Countless repetition (until consistent perfection) is the essence of what it means to prepare something on cello. Learning cello is like any other creative process - it's a tension & release cycle & in order to get the most out of it, one must put in as much effort/analysis/repetition as possible & then let go & take a break and then come back to it & repeat the process
4. Which leads me to my next point - Every single motion is linked to and is a preparation for the following motion. I learned this from watching Julia Lichten play at Purchase tonight. There literally is no excess in her playing, every single motion was connected to the next one with such meticulous detail. Instead of hindering or subtracting from the music, this in fact added to it substantially. It's this level of preparation that allows someone to actually express themselves/the music's intent fully.

Ultimately, this all could be boiled down to this: "Your cello practice is a temple. What you put into it is what you get out of it."

It's all about how many hours you put in all the time & how much more you ask of yourself in your focus & persistence. I finally feel like I'm beginning to grow into being a real player, as a result of these realizations & all my recent experiences. The Journey is just beginning.

A lot of these realizations came as the indirect result of the interviews I was reading with Howard Shore & Douglas Adams - for any who discover this post: It is so important to have interests outside of your main discipline. There is so much to learn & so much that can be applied to cello...


Emily said...

What you have written right there is the entire tenet of my approach. :)

forty-two 195 said...

since you mentioned Doug Adams' blog on the LOTR music book: When can we expect the cello version of "Twelve Days of the Ring"? (


Mike Lunapiena said...

Emily - Cool!! :)

Markus - Um ... well ... I'm sort of doing too many things right now & as I think you may have seen, I'm going to be notating "Twelve Days of the Ring"

Maybe I'll make a smaller medley or something ... we'll see...