Thursday, December 30, 2010

Busking Take 2!

This was *much* more successful than my first attempt ... I made a little over $60 for 4 hours of work/playing (how awesome is that for a day job?) ... I started off in GCT only to discover that I had taken someone's spot by arriving before them ... I was nice enough to move on out and relocate to another spot in GCT ... did alright, though I think I might have done better in the original spot ...

From there I took a break & went over to Times Square & played in the Hallway btwn. the Shuttle and the rest of it ... while it was chilly, that was probably my best in terms of draw ...

From there I took a break & got lunch with a friend, and then spent a few hours with another friend ... afterwards, I headed to Union Square ...

Some things I learned:

1. Remember Rosin!
2. People respond well to Drones, Indian Ragas, Gladiator Theme Song, Star Wars (occassionally), Irish Folk Music, Grooving Jams with myself
3. There are battery-powered amps that sound good ...
4. After Peak Trains end in morning is a good time
5. Union Square is kind of Challenging
6. Little kids are godsends
7. In order to make this work, I need to bring lunch so I lose as little money as possible.
8. Playing standing up is very demanding on the knees...

May go do it tomorrow for a while depending on my schedule ...

I hope the next few times are as successful

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

YTSO Audition - What I learned (Technically)

Here's some technical stuff I learned:

1. The slow it down method really does work very effectively.
2. Tackle the hardest bits first & always keep in mind the way things are connected/relate to each other.
3. Practice the relative scales in at least 2 different fingerings is immensely helpful
4. I tend to use the wrong muscle groups a lot, or go horribly out of alignment when trying to hit something tricky - this is a downward spiral, because going out of alignment generally makes things tricky.
5. I am trying to figure out what exactly the other cellists' (who are all waaaay more advanced than me) have that I don't. One thing I'm noticing relates to the giant mess of my left hand technique. It seems like the other cellists are commonly keeping the general weight of the arm down into the string, and it also seems like they are keeping there fingers generally close to the string. All their movements are very efficient.

I tend to release my weight a lot and use some very ineffective movements to try to accomplish things. This would explain in part why playing Haydn C is still a major struggle for me/why a lot of my technique doesn't seem to work on any long-lasting level.

I think the next key in my practice is to constantly look for the most efficient movements possible & to consciously work on keeping my weight down (so that I can at least have control over when I use it and when I don't. I feel like it's very important to a general tonal/expressive palette to be able to do both.

One of my goals is to learn to be more imaginative in my playing and to be able to play the same riffs in many different feels/ways.

That's what occurs to me for now ... the YTSO audition really pushed my technique a lot & is giving me tons of food for thought with watching other cellists...

So glad I did it, even if the vid's a bit embarassing (for non-technical reasons):

YTSO Audition - What I learned (Psychological)

I learned quite a few things from doing the Youtube Symphony Orchestra Audition

1. Be Prepared. Underpreparedness is something I'm really fighting ... it's been a constant in my life & one of the things I'm really good at is making things work that I am not prepared for or don't already have skills for. It's a double-edged sword though. Anyway, what I learned is that I need to start preparing earlier & I need to start preparing with a better general awareness of what I'm trying to achieve. Part of the way I will achieve this is by listening to classical music more often.
2. When Auditioning, set an earlier deadline to have the rep. playable by. Then work on having them playable consistently. Too often when I prepare things, they are not thoroughly prepared enough & they are too at the edge of my technique. In order to have a successful audition, the pieces need to be somewhat easy.
3. Do not wait until the deadline day to do the takes and then also try and put together the video the same day ... this results in disasterous, embarassing video ... not to mention leaves you with a narrow selection of takes & possible technical failure
4. Set goals prior to playing - this is super important! It's so easy to just waste time ... yet a minute or two's thought/reflection prior to practice does an amazing amount to focus one's attention. The results are drastically different.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Strengths & Weaknesses: A New Level

Tonight I was made keenly aware of some of my weaknesses (as well as the progress I've made as a cellist, and the progress I still have to make) ... in a specific sense, I got knocked over by sight-reading Dvorak 8 ... in a general sense, I'm very ignorant of classical music ... I want to change that. I'm really going to make it a point to really learn classical repertoire (as a listener & as a cellist) ... particularly, the orchestra rep. It's so connected to what I do and what I want to do ...

Anyway, this post isn't meant to focus on this ... it's mean to focus on my strengths ... because normally, I'm not one to (intentionally) focus on them. In conversation a while ago with a friend, it came out that though I'm not a very good/advanced classical cellist & I can't play with the control/sophistication of other people my age who've been playing since they were teeny ... I'm really good at non-traditional cello ... at heavy metal cello & writing cool pieces and improvising ...

I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to actually make money doing this cello thing lately & I've been watching others and learning and trying to figure out how they get gigs & how I can get gigs (because I want to earn some money from performing and some from teaching) ... anyway, I LOVE to improvise - even if I'm not necessarily very sophisticated at it - you ask me to play you something on cello, without thinking I start playing some D minor pentatonic creation that nobody's ever heard before, or you need some awkward silence at a wedding/gig covered & I just make something up that captures the mood ... whatever it is, I'm pretty decent at improv'ing and I really, really love it ...

Earlier, when writing to Jesse Ahmann on facebook, I realized that I want it to be my trademark ... this is what I want to become known for (one thing anyway) ... but more importantly ... I'm going to make it my mission to help spread cello improv to as many people as possible - cellists and non-cellists.

I'm also going to make my improvisations a vehicle for my technical development ...

So here's my plan:

Step 1: Constantly Improv & keep really honing and developing my skills
Step 2: Busk in the NYC Subway with a big sign doing nothing but improv to try and make some cash
Step 3: Put together a cello duo to play duets and primarily focus on improv. Then take this busking and booking some gigs
Step 4: Youtube, Youtube, Youtube (I sort of already do this)
Step 5: If this all gets attention and becomes something I really actively do, find a way to make workshops out of this and get paid for it ...

So anyway, that's the general plan ... If anyone has specific advice for how to go about doing these things, I'd love to hear it ... I need all the help I can get right now ...


Also, I've had some amazing cello experiences lately that I plan to blog about very soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something New to Pay Attention To: Vibrato

So one of the things that came up in my little lesson the other day was that my vibrato could use some refinement. I use a really wide vibrato, intense all the time & it was pointed out to me that I could use a narrower vibrato & that I could do different things in terms of when I start the vibrato, or in terms of varying the note.

This is the sort of thing that I bet I do instinctively on occasion & I've definitely read various interviews with master cellists complaining about students just doing "on/off" with vibrato... I've got this sort of "everything as intense as possible all the time" mentality to making music ... it's an integral part of my style, but I've finally realized that I lack the ability to do more refined or quiet styles with ease (for example, playing mournful middle-eastern music or the "tea & scones" sort of classical/baroque music).

Part of this comes from being obsessed with the way Jacqueline DuPre plays, part of it comes from wanting to project/be loud & generally being enamoured with loud cellists (like Rostropovich), part of it comes from David Finckel's 80, 90, 103 Vibrato vid & practicing that only with a wide vibrato, and part of it comes from not really feeling like the narrow vibrato is a real vibrato.

On the other hand, watching the vid. of Steven Isserlis playing the Tchaick Rococo Theme Variations at the proms, the amount of things he is able to do just from vibrato is mind-blowing. The expressiveness and the uniqueness to what he's playing largely comes from this.

So now I've got something new to really pay attention to when I wath other peoples' playing ... and also something to work on in my own...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Biggest Cello Revelation of My Life

Earlier today I had a quasi-lesson with a cellist friend of mine who gave me some useful tips and thoughts on things I could do to refine my technique. While we were discussing things, it came out that he was reading this article: ( by Nicholas Anderson.

So let me interrupt myself right here and say you *need* to read this article. Yes, really you do - whether you're a professional, an absolute beginner, a teacher an advanced student, somebody with tension problems/tendinitis/carpal tunnel, or whoever you are, you need to read this.

I'm not going to tell you what the article talks about, because I don't want you to summary judge and go "oh, I don't need to read this". Instead, I'm going to tell you about the effect it had on my playing over the course of *one* day.

In the last week, I'd been practicing lots more and making some substantial technical improvement. Sunday, I went to a cello festival, which was both incredibly fun, and incredibly educational. I also went to orchestra & read the music almost the best I've ever read. Anyway, suffice to say, I played a lot sunday, played a lot yesterday and played a lot today. I was on the early stages of what becomes tendinitis and was trying to figure out where I can possibly fit in some time off (because I'm of course, behind in the music I need to learn).

So anyway, earlier today I started practicing for a few hours & reading this article, as well as trying out the method mentioned in the article. It's very clear from the article that Nicholas Anderson is a teacher - he teaches you very effectively through writing ... and that's not easy. Anyway, I'm not going to describe the actual process of going through the article, but I am going to tell you the net effect. Over the course of 3-4 hours of practice, I went from very tense playing that required a ton of energy to almost effortless, meditative playing with a complete sense of freedom and power while still retaining musical control. More specifically, I was able to play through the Haydn C 1st mov. and the Elgar 1st mov and Kol Nidrei & all sorts of other stuff, and maintain a sound and feeling I've never been able to achieve on the cello before, even with all the tons of weight and energy I put into my playing. What's more, the technical passages and all the stuff were easy ... I'm talking about the fast runs, the upper thumb positions, all that stuff ... effortless. I played in a way that I've only ever dreamed of playing. The only time I've ever come close to playing like this was in an Alexander Technique masterclass for a few seconds, and I wasn't in control of it. Tonight I was ... I was able to create the feeling of simplicity and ease, and I know I can do it again and again and that it will become a permanent part of my playing.

Everyday, I'm going to make this article and its method the focus of my cello playing/practice until it become intuitive. Right now, it requires concentration & it requires me to focus on the particular side of my body that I'm trying to improve. Over time, it will become the way I play the cello without even realizing it.

I've had various amazing teachers try to work with me on the things I managed to learn in just a few hours from this article. This was the first time I've ever really gotten them or been in control of it.

I really recommend you go print this article and work through it until you really understand and feel what it's talking about. It will make worlds of difference in your playing.

Oh, I should also add that by the end of the practice session, the signs of approaching tendinitis were all gone.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The World Is Built On Feelings...

I feel like I've betrayed the things that are truly important to me and put up false gods in their place ...

I've replaced creative and being progressive and exploring new creative boundaries musically and technically with fitting into a model and playing a certain way and becoming popular/making my music popular ... and those are all good things ... particularly trying to play well ...

But sometimes you just need to let go of all of that & just pour out your soul onto the cello or the keyboard and just create and not put yourself in a box of musical and social protocol ... classical music is awful for that ... rock music can be too ... but improvising and writing ... there's no rules for that - except the ones I want to follow ...

I just jammed out some pretty cool keyboard riffs for the first time in longer than I can remember & it felt soo great ... (to be fair, had I not been doing all the technical work, this wouldn't have been possible)

I've also started rereading my blog from the beginning, because as I wrote to somebody else (who was talking about a musical god) ... I still have my gods, but I've lost my religion ... so I'm going back to my gods.

There were other times when I was learning more and progressing more (even though I play the cello betteer now than I've ever played it in my life) & really expanding my mind more ... and thankfully I've written a lot of it down ... I've chronicled a lot of the inspiration and experience ... I'm not stopping until I've gotten it all back .

That's all for now ...

(oh, the title is a quote from Tuomas Holopainen)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My first mini-tour with Edensong

I just got back from my first mini-tour with Edensong. We did 3 shows in 3 days - travelled to Bennington, VT; Brighton, MA; and Lowell, MA.

It was a really neat weekend and experience. We didn't really get to explore the towns too much (at least not my group of people). Friday we left a bit later than we wanted & the weather was just awful (there was even snow up in Vermont where we stayed later that night). The car ride was quite a challenge, I was rather car-sick (but thankfully not to the point of vomiting). The South Side Cafe was very cool, friendly and very welcoming. There were probably about 10 folks (the weather was really not on our side for this), but they all seemed to really enjoy it and be genuinely interested. It was a complete contrast from New York where everything is constricted and stressed and everyone is jaded ... this was very peaceful and at ease. Most importantly, they had *great* hot chocolate :-P ... Friday night was just James & I. That was the first time we've ever done the music in that setting & we hadn't had a chance to rehearse it at all beforehand, but it worked very well, and I've got some definite ideas on things to improve.

So that was Friday ... Saturday we travelled to Brighton & got to our host's house a few hours before the show ... we took the time to relax & eat. James had a meeting ... eventually we got to the venue and loaded everything in. The Magic Room was a *very* cool place ... it's this really awesome, fantastical art venue with a ton of cool paintings. It had the neatest vibe, though the room was a bit small for our sound. Kangaralien (an amazing acoustic guitar duo) opened up the night ( Our Magic Room set was electric & it was the first time we'd done an hour and a half set (basically every single Edensong tune except The Baptism). There were definitely some kinks, but the energy was there & I think the stuff we did well came off really well ... of course, I haven't had a chance to watch the video yet ... I have no idea what it sounded like out in the audience (well, I have some idea ... but no real idea). By the time that was all done & we were unloaded, all we could really do was head back to our host and get some sleep!

Then it was sunday ... Sunday we got some great breakfast at The Mirror Cafe in Brighton (check it out if you ever go up there - good food!). After breakfast, we headed over to the Brew'd Awakening Coffeehaus in Lowell. It's a really nice independent coffee shop & we had the privilege of getting to watch Rob Martino ( play a solo Chapman Stick set, which was really, really cool. It was amazing to watch him in action & he's an incredibly friendly guy. Our set this time was the standard acoustic version with me, James, Tony & Barry (that's cello, guitar, flute & drums) & really came across very well. There's something of a purity in playing in an acoustic setup that is completely missing from playing electric (but there's also an energy and intensity from playing electric that doesn't make its way into playing acoustic). It was nice to be able to do both in one weekend.

I've forgotten to share one of the most important parts of my weekend, which is that I got to play a Harp for the first time!!! It was amazing and beautiful and I've fallen in love with it & it will make its way to the next Edensong album. I really wish I could buy one of these things ... until then, I guess I'll just have to really work on my piano skills & on developing a good ability to handle multiple unique voices at once.

So that's it for my weekend ... we listened to some Dream Theater & Symphony-X & Blackfield during the car rides & all in all it was a great experience! I learned a lot from a playing stand-point & started to develop a closer relationship with the music, as well as gaining a better sense of the balance between technique & rocking out. It was a challenge to play 3 days in a row completely unwarmed up (one of the most important things a musician has to be able to do).

Can't wait to do it all again in December when we hit Baltimore/DC in early December!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Music Teaching Resources - A Review

So, recently, Rob of & invited me to check out some materials he's put together to help make the music teacher's life easier!

Essentially what he's got is an organized set of worksheets covering the fundamentals of scales and chords that can be printed out or easily transferred to a thumb drive at your leisure.

Some of the sheets are explanatory in nature, illustrating things such as major scale construction or diatonic harmony (which chords are minor/major within the scale). Some of them are worksheets that require the student to construct a scale or chords or to go through the chords within a scale. Some of those worksheets have a diagram of a keyboard on them, some don't.

The files all come in labeled folders, and some of them even allow the teacher to fill in the blank to determine what scale or chord the student will build. Essentially, it's like having a portable music theory workbook, which you can draw from as needed.

My favorite thing about the set is the inclusion of the blues scale, minor/major pentatonic scales. My only criticisms would be that the chords don't go beyond 7th chords & that the Dorian mode is included, but not any of the other modes, making the set not overly helpful for jazz students.

All in all, I think this is a pretty neat/handy set of resources, especially for $18 - can't go wrong with that. I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this with students on any instrument. Head over to and check out what he's got.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Visualize First

I learned something important this week as a result of band practice and the Steven Isserlis concert:

Visualize *first*, then play.

The key to playing well is to come up with a definite concept of what you want the next thing you're going to play to sound & feel like. The next important thing is to not accept exceptions to that vision while practicing. One thing that goes with this is having no excess - every movement, every note is directly, immediately, linked to the note.

Watching Steven Isserlis, one of the things I realized is that part of his technique is a freedom that comes from dexterity/agility ... nothing is slow for him ... it is all very quickly connected and well planned. He is one of the only classical musicians who I feel is telling a story when I watch, as opposed to playing a piece. I also think that a lot of his freedom comes from never looking down when he plays, allowing him to listen and think ahead rather than be stuck in the present.

It was interesting to see him from the front row and to see how much he sways/moves (reminding me a lot of Jacqueline DuPre), and also to see the similarity (and differences) of his left hand techinque to hers, as well as to hear how the tapping of the notes with his left hand (on just about every note).

In other news, I am really struggling to regain my musical drive (ever since my father died) ... when I play the cello, it's the only thing I want to do, but when I'm not playing, I have almost no desire to pick it up. I think the one reason for this is that I'm not in multiple ensembles with music that is incredibly difficult - just my band right now & I feel pretty comfortable with our music.

That being said, the level of my playing has increased incredibly and my practice is now generally oriented around analytical imitation of a great cellist or analytical practicing of solo rep. Both are very helpful.

In general, I am doing things right ... I just need to push myself to do more of them and to go further with them. I need to start really chewing through the standard rep. or at the very least the student rep, so I can develop a really reliable & proficient technique.

That's all for now ... so happy that I just wrote a blog entry for once...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A goal


My goal is to regularly start blogging about cello (now that I've actually started practicing regularly again) in the very near future ... I'm also considering starting up the Dotzauer challenge again...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sometimes A Dream Turns Into A Dream

I think it's time to end my freelance career. What do I mean by that? I don't mean it's time to stop playing cello or quit my band or anything like that. But ... I think it's time to stop playing with random rock/folk/singer-songwriter/whatever groups for barely any pay & I think it's time to stop taking random gigs that again barely pay. More particularly, I need to stop going into NYC for barely any money ... It's all good and well to get experience, but I've got plenty of that, and I'm even developing the technique & level that goes along with that. However, I need to pay bills ... and I don't mean leisure/pleasure bills, I mean I need to keep a roof over my head & have enough money to get food, etc. Taking these gigs has messed with this in two ways: 1. I'm never really making any notable money & 2. It clogs up my availability to work, which is just not something I can keep doing. I need to set clear guidelines with myself for what the minimum I'm willing to do a gig for is & I need to come up with times that I just can't fuck with, because either I need to actually take care of things around my house, or I need to not skip work.

That being said, I'm in a band, I'm sort of in a (currently) inactive piano trio (that I can make active again by freeing the time) ... I think if anything I'm doing as a performer is going to pay (short of weddings & musicals) it's one of those two ... why should I put my time into other things that I don't even necessarily believe in & that won't pay my bills?

As far as I can tell, these are the only things that pay reasonably in terms of performance (or have paid reasonably so far)

Weddings - usually $125 to $200 per gig
Musicals - usually $50 per show or something like that ... not a lot, but not horrible if it's not too far of a commute (ie, not in NYC)
Solo or Ensemble Performances as part of a music series - usually about $150, sometimes more.

Here's what doesn't pay well:
Playing with bands - if I'm *lucky* I make $50 per show (commute costs $17 round trip) ... after rehearsals, next to nothing

Here's what I haven't even touched into:
Subbing for an orchestra - I just don't have the contacts for this ... I don't know the people doing these things

So I guess I'm not really saying I have to stop freelancing, what I am saying is that I have to stop taking gigs that don't make financial sense & that don't work with my schedule.

I want/need to make teaching my main income. It's one of the only things that will give me flexibility and pay well. As a performer, I need to concentrate my efforts into Edensong & into the trio & my own solo stuff (which I hope to make a financial asset within the next few years) ...

Ok, needed to get that all off my shoulders ... I wish this wasn't the first blog post I'd done in months, but things have been so unbelievably busy & I just haven't had the energy/inclination to write...

In other news, I've started doing the real recording for my solo album & am planning to have it out in November (or earlier if possible).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quebec/Terra Incognita

I had my first real international musical experience last weekend ...

Edensong went up to Quebec to play for the Terra Incognita Festival. It was a very cool experience ... very long drive (about 8-10 hrs. total) ... we stopped in Vermont on Thursday night & got some *amazing* French Toast at Stellas (2nd only to a cafe in Brooklyn of which I can not remember the name). James, Tony, Sarah & I rode up together & did a combination of chatting, filming and listening to cool music on the way up. When we got there, the customs folks were pretty nice & the guy who interviewed us was actually a prog. fan & asked us if we sounded like Porcupine Tree - talk about unexpected (on the flip side, the American customs folks on the way back weren't nice at all)!

So customs went ok - we had no merch in the car with us & it was packed to hell anyway (I really don't know how we fit so much in there!), so I think they decided not to bother inspecting it.

Anyway, eventually we got to Quebec (on Friday) & were all very tired. We went out to meet James' family (who drove up to see the band play) for dinner & had our first experience with Quebec food (it was pretty bad). Then we walked around a little bit & headed back to the hotel where we got settled in and waited for the rest of the band to make it up & settle in so that we could do a vocal sectional.

Then it was saturday. We were the 2nd band on saturday & had probably the best slot of the whole festival! Saturday was a lot of time spent running around getting equipment together & getting the merch table set up & eventually even practicing a bit ... we got an hour sound check early in the day (so cool/helpful!) & spent the whole day at the venue pretty much.

The venue itself was a nicely-sized chapel with a concert hall that fit about 200 ppl & an outside room where everyone was set up. I also later discovered that there was in fact a green room - very helpful for warming up and running through the set (which was essential, because I had barely practiced in 2 days).

By the time we were on stage, I was physically exhausted/just not feeling well & we took everything *fast* ... despite that, there was a lot of energy btwn. the band and the crowd & it was the first time I had played a show with Barry (our flute player) ... he's awesome to play with ... he sort of ... dances? ... on stage while playing flute & rocking out & he's a great person to feed energy off of & to try to one up ...

One of the things that I love about this band is that we're really a live band & we all put 100% into the show... afterwards it was the usual rush of "get everything off the stage" & then I actually had a beer! And there was a rush of people many of whom wanted my autograph on the cd they just bought & many of whom were very excited about the set they saw. Some of them had seen Edensong multiple times & were very complimentary about my cello playing & stage presence ... it was really lots of fun & enjoyment ... also a nice surprise, I got to see John, Paul & Greg from IZZ (who played on night two)... John was the only one I really knew at that point...

The other bands to play that night were: Claire Vezina (whose set I missed, but the other band members said was awesome!) & Galahad. Claire was incredibly nice & friendly and a pleasure to meet & talk to. Galahad were all fun guys & their music was pretty neat too! The keyboardist had some amazingly realistic/great sounding choir patches ... we saw them at the bar/restaurant later that night & they were good fun. (Actually, I met Stuart - their singer - at the hotel earlier & he said that he had seen me the night before & thought "Either that guy's in a rock band or he should be").

Speaking of that bar restaurant ... I've never had so much trouble ordering a cheeseburger in my life! (And it wasn't even good... though it was appreciated nevertheless). At some point earlier in the evening I had had quiznos (oh wait, that was actually day 2...) ... that was ok...

Then on to Sunday ... On sunday we ran into Galahad at the hotel during breakfast & it made for a lively and fun breakfast - they're all a pleasure to talk to & great guys! Hopefully we'll get to play with them again sometime ... Afterwards, James & Sarah & I headed to the city to meet up with James' family again & to do some exploring/eating (again, food was disappointing). The street musicians their played piano, harp & accordion. They played classical & improvisational music. The old city is incredibly beautiful - a must see for anyone who can ... a great example of what we can do/be...

Most of the rest of the band had gone home at this point (except Stefan, who was also with his folks). So we hung out in the city a bit & got to do lots of walking and talking before heading back to the venue for a full day at the merch table (with a bit of watching the bands) ... I really enjoyed doing this & was surprised at how much we sold on day 2!

The highlight of Day 2 for me was getting to see Izz & to hang out/chat with them after their set. I got to meet Tom earlier in the set & got to chat with the rest of the band more afterwards ... I discovered Greg was also a Mville graduate (guess we should have all sent an email to the music department & let them know what we were up to, but oh well, next time) ... on top of Izz, there was Atreal (whose set I missed) & Discipline (who were very nice & cool folks) ... James & Stefan are huge Discipline fans ... it was my first time hearing them, though I was really too wiped out at that point to give them a fair judgement (I had been struggling to stay awake during Izz's set just from the exhaustion). Discipline did really well considering some technical difficulties they'd been having with the festival's keyboard controller earlier in the day.

I think we went straight to bed after the festival ... can't quite remember ... we had decided to stay an extra night at that point (it made more sense & James had gotten a clue to the origins of his hat from one of the Izz folks earlier in the day).

So, Monday was a nice, enjoyable day off that involved just going through the city on our own. We drove to the address listed on the card James had, only to discover that it was an Atelier (which I believe means factory/workshop?). James told him the story of his hat (worthy of a blog entry for sure) & he offered to have us follow him to the boutique ... once there, James re-told his story to the folks working there & bought another (much cooler) hat! On the way out, I decided that it would really pain me not to have a souveneir of Quebec. So, I got a hand-made leather bracelet there that I now wear all the time (though I have found that it interferes with my cello playing, so I often take it off for that). Then we picked up Subway (the only good food we had the entire time!) and started the journey home.

On the way, we stopped in a place that could only be described as Hick's ville (not meant in any derogatory way) & got some great food for really cheap! It was quite impressive ... Sarah ordered a whole pizza pie (that was not entirely intentional) & we worked on french on the drive home (a little late huh?)

All in all, it was a cool, incredible experience & though I was less awe-struck than when I traveled to Baltimore, it is definitely something that will stick with me. It was generally very relaxing & helped lift the weight of the world off my shoulders a bit ... I'm going to really love it when Edensong becomes more successful & we can travel even more ... I definitely think lots of traveling is something I'm meant to do, and it seems like Edensong will be my venue for that...

Ok, time to go to sleep ... I'll try to write about something technical soon ... I've been practicing a lot lately & will be teaching my first guitar lesson tomorrow (which has caused me to start learning the blues, which is just *so fulfilling*) ... it's funny how life sort of has its own timetable/way of filling in the pieces...

Tonight's Lesson

Tonight I had a horrible experience - I was playing along to some music for a hip-hop fashion show ... which was all cool and fun ... BUT I had not thought about amplification/it just never got brought up ... the result? Somebody was holding a mic to my cello when I already had inadequate space

What would have solved the problem? Having a quarter inch on me ...

The Resolution: Always carry a Quarter Inch in the car ...

The show was good otherwise, but that really put a damper on it for me :(

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bow Technique

I learned two things from watching Nevarra's bow technique vids:

1. The index finger & pinky are the most important fingers ... the pinky is for balance ... it is important to concentrate on both of these fingers.
2. I was doing my bow changes wrong ... I was doing them with the fingers and not with the upper arm ... he had an excellent point: you can tell if you're doing the change motion correctly, because the angle of the tip will remain the same. That was a valuable lesson & I'm playing better already ... coordinating bow changes was always something I had trouble with. ... It's amazing how much of playing the cello well really just comes down to have a concretely & correctly defined technique

Caveat: Anybody reading the above should go watch the actual videos, because it's easy to misunderstand what I'm saying since it's out of context (and I don't think I'm explaining it well):

Part 1 -
Part 2 -

An Update & A Reflection

So, first I want to start off by saying that all is well in the land of tendons and body-injuries & sickness ... I'm all better & playing a lot better too! (Partially from time off, and partially from watching a lot of Jacqueline DuPre & Greenhouse vids and trying to understand what they're doing with their left hand ... also, Nevarra's bow vids ... maybe someday someone will translate the rest of those into english!)

So what happened? I increased my practice time from non-existent (I was still playing in 3 or 4 ensembles regularly) to 3-6 hours a day in the span of a week and a half ... as Emily of put it *Hits head with frying pan* What did you expect?! ... or, as the saying goes, hindsight is always 20-20. Seems painfully obvious in retrospect... I had lots of accumulated tension in my upper arms & pecs and lower back and so that manifested itself in my tendons. Emily was kind enough to chat with me about some preventative strategies last night - definitely helpful!

There were some good things to come of this all:

1. I built up muscles/strength
2. I re-evaluated my technique (always a good thing)
3. I started stretching again (For a good series of stretches, I recommend finding John Petrucci's Rock Discipline video ... I use a few of those, but mostly use stretches I learned in Karate, years ago)

So, last week was a bit of a panic ... on top of all this tension stuff, I was pretty sick, taking about 4-6 ibuprofen a day & had 3 concerts and a ton of rehearsals!

I actually cancelled one of the concerts, because on top of all this I really hadn't worked out what I was going to play (it was my own solo show) ... I learned something from this: Decide rep/program *first* then book the show. I have a bad procrastination habit that I reinforced in college and that I am trying to break. One of the biggest keys to not injuring myself is that I have to keep the amounts of work I put into things consistent, which means I have to do more earlier. The other things is that I have to build my workload up in small increments & not giant leaps!

The other two concerts were a marathon to get through ... Friday I had dress rehearsals for both, and then saturday I had both concerts. The first concert was with my Piano Trio & involved playing Beethoven, Gade & Haydn in a hall where the sound on stage gave the impression that I was being buried by the piano (which was not actually the case) ... this was a real challenge to get through (mostly because of a fever and not being able to breathe clearly) & it really messed up a lot of my intonation & some of my entrances. Despite that, in the end, it had a lot of great moments & a very good energy & the people who were there really loved it.

The second concert was the St. Thomas Orchestra concert. This was also an endurance test (SS Cello Concerto, Schubert 4 & Coriolanus Overture). However, there were some *very* cool things about this concert. First was that we were doing the SS Concerto ... the soloist was really amazing & only in her late 20s. She really enjoyed the actual act of playing & there was this very singing quality to her playing - it was very cool. It was also interesting to note how toned her upper arm muscles were from playing cello - very much reinforcing the idea that the only way you get better at this thing is to put a tremendous amount of time into practicing. However, the thing that struck me most about Zhou Yi was that she really loved playing (and playing with us) - she was so excited in a completely sincere way & stayed along afterwards to tell the orchestra players good job & to stand around and chat with everybody. She really loved what she was doing & that was so great to see! (She also was part of what inspired me to get my butt in gear and start practicing more again ... it's so essential to watch - and really tune in to - great playing of your instrument as much as possible).

The other cool thing about orchestra was that we had two ringers (Our cello section is normally 5, but our principal was horribly sick), so there were 6 of us in total. Michael Meade - my teacher from college - came & sat principal & it was so great to actually work with him in orchestra & Viviane Penham also joined in & was a pleasure to get to work with.

On top of that, I think I played the best as an orchestral player that I've played so far ... still have a lot to go towards actually learning the music fully, but for once, I didn't feel like I was taking away from the group by playing

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Having tendinitis yet again is really making me question the viability of doing this as a career ... I don't think there is anything that I'm doing wrong technically/posturally (if... it appears to just be from over-practicing & demanding too high of a standard of playing from myself (relative to my ability level) & also from increasing my practice time dramatically in the span of about a week and a half (from almost not practicing daily to 3-6 hours per day)

It's just very frustrating, because everytime I seem to be making substantial improvement I run into this roadblock ... it's also frustrating, because before that first time I got tendinitis in college (from doing yoga) - I never had a problem with this (and I used to play 3-6 hours every day then too)

I know I'll find a way to get through the concerts I have this week & all the way through the Quebec gig in the middle of may (assuming this even lasts that long, which I doubt it will) ... but I'm really scared that I'm going to keep running into this & I just don't know what to do about it ...

Maybe part of the solution is mandating 2 days a week where I don't physically practice no matter what ... or setting some other cap on my practice time ... but on the other hand, I know there are people who practice 4+ hours daily who don't seem to have this issue, so why do I??? And more importantly, how do I overcome it?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Recording Session That Changed My Life (Recording With Richard Martin)

Every so often in life, something happens that completely alters our course or perspective in a very substantial/meaningful way.

I had one of those today ...

For the very first time, I did a recording session in a completely analog studio. I also worked with a producer who was very calm about taking as much time as necessary to get something done properly.

But anyway, working with analog was completely eye-opening... I record myself pretty frequently, because I'm frequently jamming or improv'ing or writing music & garage band is essentially my musical notepad (after all, it's much easier to record to jot something down than it is to transcribe it). In Garageband (or ProTools/DP/Audacity or any other DAW), I can look at what I'm doing visually. I can also record take after take after take & replace individual notes with relative ease & have an unlimited amount of tracks and data manipulation within instant control.

Recording straight to tape is a whole different story. First of all, this recording setup did not go through a computer, and that's a revelation in itself. It went straight to tape - meaning the visual aspect of editing is just about non-existent. This was a completely different world for me, considering the most recent session gig I did before this involved a *ton* of editing & looking at waves & matching stuff, etc., etc. (as does my current editing project). The second thing was that there were very few remaining tracks to use for each song, and the producer did not like punching in/out. What this meant is that I had to get a really great whole take.

This was a revelation for 3 reasons: One, this is how bands like Metallica (and everyone else) used to have to record. Two, it makes a *huge* difference in the outputted track ... it forces you to take more time to work on a track & the track really develops a character of its own .. something often missing in modern recorded music. Three, It forces you to actually play well, which led me to realize that (in addition to just not accepting mediocrity in my playing), I need to look at The Whole, instead of pieces when I'm practicing (and aim to play the whole perfectly, instead of just the parts). Some people have this rule that you have to play something x times perfectly in a row before moving on (where x is a number 10 or higher) ... I think this is a good rule, and plan to apply this in my practice from now on.

I also learned about some things I need to work on technically - for one having spot on pitch (I have decent pitch, but it does not cut it for recording ... One method I'm going to work on is shifting/doing scales without vibrato). Two, playing every note in the left hand like I really mean it (meaning having my full weight down into the night). Three, being able to shift with ease from any note to any other note (I also remembered that the way to develop this is to start with shifting so that you hear the entire gliss. This means that all your weight is down & helps you develop the proper motion/method of shifting). Four, remembering to shift with the upper arm first. Five, being able to consciously choose whether I'm playing flat-fingered or curved-fingered and being able to do both with ease. Five, counting/feeling syncopations with ease.

On top of all that, I actually had to play to a track that wasn't metrically perfect/consistent. I am sad to say that that was actually a challenge! I'm so used to striving for rhythmic/metric consistency that (like playing with vibrato) it actually became a challenge to turn this off & to really feel the track.

In general, I feel like I have a pretty good/developed innate sense of music/musicality (at least in rock music), I have lots of ideas & feelings, etc. ... But, I often lack the technique to really put them into use. This session took substantially longer than it needed to (about 9 hours), and there were a variety of reasons for them, but one of them was that I was underprepared. You hear stories about session players who come in and just nail the tracks on their first or second take. That's what I want to be ... not what I am.

So, Final Lesson: I need to consistently practice more ... more as in 4 hours everyday ... It's time. Because if I don't do it now, I won't ever be that good.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I love Random

So, Yesterday I was pretty burnt out and depressed as a result of some bad home stuff that had happened throughout the week and just not having had any kind of break since tuesday (going straight from work to rehearsals (Newbeard & Edensong) & having late nights working on other stuff) ...

Then I had to go into the city to check out The Duplex (b/c I'm organizing a concert with a few friends & that is a place we're considering booking & while there, I ran into Phil Smith (the bass player from Sweeney Todd). It was great to see him & get to chat a bit, etc., etc.

If that wasn't cool enough ... after leaving Duplex, on my way to the subway, I ran into this cool-looking cellist & singer-songwriter. So I chat up with them & find out they're playing a gig 3 blocks away at Cafe Vivaldi & decide to go check it out ... well, first of all, turns out that they're very friendly folks, and I got to meet a bunch of other cool folks they're friends with & second, it turns out that they are both amazing musicians & amazing songwriters (I mean seriously, I've heard so much singer-songwriter stuff that I'm really desensitized to much of it & they did some amazing stuff). They played cello/piano together & sang together and it was just so beautiful.

They were: Martha Colby ( & Anna Dagmar ( & you should check them out ... Martha (the cellist) writes this very jazz-influenced, yet very organic music with lots of focus on nature/natural images & it was a real treat to get to see/hear this ... plus, she has a BLUE cello from Grace Music ... cool ... Anna's stuff is also really beautiful, and she is an amazing pianist (and balances the instrument amazingly well with her singing ... never overpowering or being lost)

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see them ... also learned that Cafe Vivaldi is somewhere I want to book a show!

After that, I ran into an old friend on Metro North ... cool night!

That's all for now ... so much work to do & I have a sorta day off (meaning I can practice!!!!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

So, it's 11PM and I'm tired, exhausted, depressed, smiling, happy, amazed and lacking energy to do anything that doesn't involve writing or reading. So, it occurred to me that I have this blog ... and you know, I haven't really updated it in a very long time (though apparently not as long as I thought) ... and well, here I am ...

So, the musical world of Me has been a challenge lately & a damn cool one at that!

It has involved:
-Being a fulltime member of Edensong ( - which includes a variety of musical and extramusical tasks
-Playing in a Piano Trio & Orchestra with upcoming concerts
-Singing in a chorus with multiple concerts
-Recording tracks for a couple of different bands
-Being broke time & time again & just when I think I'm getting out of it, being broke again
-Teaching & losing students (for reasons unrelated to my teaching)
-Writing lots of music
-Spending lots of time on Twitter (@cellomike)
-Planning out my solo show (4/29) and solo album
-Giving up on the Dotzauer Challenge (sadly I just don't have time write now)
-Organizing a composers' concert that will be really unique & amazing

It will also involve:
-Playing in Quebec with Edensong for the Terra Incognita Festival
-Playing with Newbeard on 4/21
-Hopefully finding more students & not being broke (2 things I'm very bad at)
-Other things I have forgotten or not imagined yet...

I am doing improv. vids in place of the Dotzauers & those are starting to get a little better ... I also have some other cool & soon to come vid. ideas planned ... I just need to fit in more practice time ... it's so hard lately

I will try to write more regularly about what I'm doing ... I really want to get back to the technical work and innovation I've been going through with my cello technique ... I've learned a lot & am really for the first time beginning to feel like I can play the instrument (though still such a long way to go!)

Also, we are playing the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto in Orchestra ... it's awesome!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Finding Myself

I came to a revelation today - well the other day really ... I don't think Harmonically. This is why I don't get jazz on an emotional and intuitive level. I just do not do it. I think rhythmically, melodically, moodily & I think about articulation, but I do not think about harmony as a guiding force ... I get patterns and chords & stuff - they just aren't what speaks to me & I don't immediately identify them ... this is an inherent limitation of mine (which is good and bad) ... it's just interesting to realize...

I'm also finally starting to find myself musically for what I feel is really the first time. I'm realizing how to combine all the different things I love and make that into who I am. I'm realizing I need to songwrite & sing & writer lyrics & play the cello, etc., etc.

I was at a classical cello recital earlier & the music put me into a meditative state ... it's so rare that any other instrument/ensemble/sound does that - but cello does it right away ... particularly cello playing bach. It just takes me to a different world ... I have no rational explanation for it, but it is such an integral part of me and I really like it, even if I think a lot of classical music is boring.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You Practice When You're Sick?

Yes, I practice when I'm sick! ... *Especially* when I'm sick.


1. Because me being sick doesn't mean I have less music to learn or less things to accomplish
2. Because it makes me feel generally better (even though it's a struggle)
3. Because it gives me a good idea of what my limits are and makes me really push myself to concentrate & achieve
4. Because I've played enough gigs where I'm sleep-deprived/exhausted/sick/whatever. The more practice I have doing this, the better those future gigs will go.

So besides that, here's what's up in my musical world:

1. Improv & Dotzauer vids running on off-weeks with each other
2. Edensong Rehearsals - we've started rehearsing for our festival in Quebec City in May - Can't wait! (Also need to get my EDL, which means money!)
3. I made up a facebook group called The Westchester Music Scene: ... It's been less than a week, but already we've managed to get up to 80 people - really exciting!
4. Composers' Concert - I am organizing this really cool concert of original music (featuring my & 3 other composers' music). We mostly write classical-rock fusion sort of material (for lack of a good pre-determined way to describe it) & are probably going to do 1 in westchester & 1 in nyc

On a different note:

Reality has finally caught up with me & I need to start making more money. I'm stuck though, because I really don't know how to do it. Gigs are cool and awesome, but they are not often enough or well-paying enough for me to rely on them. They are "spending money" at best. Teaching should be the money making option, but I just do not know how to find students. I finally printed up some flyers & posted 2 at the local library. I'm going to drive around to other places and post them there too, but what if that doesn't work?? I already have a day job. It involves 15 hours of work a week (and literally is in the middle of the day). I really need private teaching to become my second job, because it gives me relatively few additional hours, good money & the ability to keep my practice up & have something of a life. I'm scared that if I get something else as a second job that my practicing will go down. I suppose I could also tutor or teach beginner piano or do who knows what else, but I just really don't know how to get into these things. I am really scared/worried that what's going to happen is music will become the thing I do on the side ... I really want to do this professionally ... I just have no experience in how to do that & no guidelines to follow & am not doing a good job of getting gigs or students ... I know I have to put myself out there ... I'm just not sure where or how.

Anyway, that's my world for now ... I think there's other stuff too, but I'm sick and exhausted, so can't think of it now...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dotzauer #5

The short version:

I'm really dissatisfied with the result of this, but have been stretched a bit thin lately & it's really challenging to pick up in the middle of something ... so this is what emerged ... I'm not gonna do a rubric for this vid. b/c it's way overdue & I really don't think there's anything to be gained from it. I just needed to upload something so I can move past this & get the whole project running again.

On a good note, I've learned from the whole experience & I think I'm just starting to get the staccato thing (or at least how to do whatever I'm doing in a more relaxed fashion) ... I also learned about memorizing & what I need to do in the future to practice these.

I've decided to change the schedule to once every 2 weeks, because there are all these other things I'm working on and need to memorize (like Edensong material) ... that's all I care to write for now ... I'm hoping to start blogging a bit more regularly soon...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Resuming Dotzauer

There's a ton of stuff I want/need to blog about - just haven't had the time lately ...

Anyway, I'm starting up the Dotzauer Etudes again, but I'm changing the schedule ... I'm going to do one video every 2 weeks (and on the other week, I'm going to do an improv. video). This will give me more time to learn the etudes properly & reduce risk of physical injury (from trying to push myself too quickly)

Other recently past events include:
Epica Concert - was amazing
Edensong Audition - I'm now part of an awesome prog. rock band ... more on this soon
Finished writing solo album (now I have to record it)
Haiti Benefit - Brahms German Requiem & Barber's Adagio for Strings!!!
Concert at Beth El

Upcoming concert w/ December's Fall this weekend ... will write more on all this stuff soon...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dotzauer Series on hold...

Dotzauer vids are on hold for now due to some tendon issues I'm having ... and on that note, computer use is too!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Peter And The Wolf, Neil Gaiman, And Bold to Fall Withal and Gary Fagin

So last night (saturday), I went to a free performance of the Knickerbocker Orchestra ... the features were Peter & The Wolf, and "And Bold to Fall Withal" - a newly commissioned piece...

It was down in the World Financial Center, which would have been great, except this was the one weekend that the subway was all kinds of screwed up & it took a bit of extra finding (as did locating a seat) ... I was a bit surprised at how dismal that area of New York seemed ... really seemed like something out of a comic book (and perhaps it was, but if so, I've never read it)...

Anyway, so I got there at 6:45, (it started at 7) & discovered there were no seats left, so I had to sit on the stairs like many of the rest of the folks (which had a decent view). The downside to this was the sound. I *hate* the "back of the hall" sound ... I don't understand why it's so appealing to so many people who like classical music ... to me it's disconnecting & impersonal - especially when I can barely see the orchestra (who I know are all working hard & doing a great job, because I play one of these instruments!).

So 7:00 comes, the Orchestra starts with Tchaikovsky's Polonaise from Eugene Onegin - sounds exactly like the sort of stuff I played (and detested) in orchestra in college ... but then again, Tchaikovsky has never been my favorite composer. Either way, it was interesting to hear a piece in this style as an audience member (because I so rarely actually get to listen to any orchestral music, since I'm generally playing it) ... can't say it was my idea of exciting.

Next was Up and Down, Up and Down by Duke Ellington (orchestrated by Gary Fagin) ... this also failed to really capture my interest ... I think had I been able to hear it better, it might have caught it a bit more ... I'm really not turned on by a lot of jazz though ... especially when it becomes jazz for orchestra ... just not my thing ...

Then came the moment I had actually come for. Peter and the Wolf narrated by Neil Gaiman. Neil's banter with Gary Fagin when he first came on stage was incredibly hard to hear (because the mic was adjusted for Neil to be sitting), but it was interesting to discover that he and Gary Fagin were cousins.

Peter & The Wolf itself was interesting & you could clearly see its influence on film music ... looking at it historically, it's an incredibly significant and cool accomplishment. However, hearing it now, it felt a bit dated. It really would have worked great with some sort of animation (I was picturing a disney version ... and in fact they have done that!). Otherwise, it was occasionally hard to hear Neil Gaiman, but otherwise pretty cool. The other thing that would really have made this was a film crew & screen setup that could zoom in on instruments that had solos or melodies ... rock bands use them to great effect (Dream Theater is the #1 example) ... no reason an orchestra or a concert hall can't - it would do wonders for them... In general, this was a pretty cool experience ... Neil's narration was great

Afterwards, the concert actually got better! (talk about good programming order) ... the next piece was Charles Ives "The Unanswered Question" ... I studied it in music school, so it was great to get to hear a performance of it ... awesome piece - period. They did a great job with it.

Still, it got even better ... the next piece was the World Premier of "And Bold To Fall Withal - Henry Hudson in the New World". It was commissioned for the Orchestra & their conductor (Gary Fagin). Very cool piece ... I would love (and might actually even listen to) a recording of it ... the only weak spot was occasionally the lyrics (and this is something that classical music and musical theatre are plagued by) ... monologue is monologue and there's nothing that can fix it ... except maybe narration + monologue or dialogue ... either way, very cool piece, vocal part was awesome (I love the tenor range in general) & the orchestral part was very grand/Wagner-ish/awesome (I wish I had better words for it, but unfortunately, I don't, and I was not feeling too great at the time, so things didn't get stored so well...)

The final part of the concert was a Tchaikovsky waltz from Eugene Onegin (substantially better than the first piece!) ... the conductor invited the audience to dance & they did - it was quite awesome ... I think more groups ought to do this ...

In general, I liked the event ... am glad it was free though, not sure I would have paid money for it (because orchestra is generally not what makes my eyes light up, and my income is all kinds of very low right now) ... if there was a concerto or some amazingly cool piece, that might change my mind...

General Admission
Neat Venue (on the edge of the water)
Neil Gaiman
Lots of very different people
Lots of kids
New piece = awesome

FOH Engineer didn't have the sound loud enough
No Video Screens
The conductor's speeches in between felt more like lectures than genuinely connecting with audiences (something rock bands do real well)
I didn't have any friends to go with

Overall, cool event.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Years Resolutions

I just realized, I posted this on my LJ, but not here, so here are the musical ones:

1. To practice cello more than 3 hours a day whenever possible (it's after that 3rd hour that visible progress really starts to occur)
2. To practice piano an hour a day or more whenever possible
3. To release my very first cd (I've been working hard at this since september and have written 9. To give concerts with my own music and to start playing nursing homes and any other possible area in the community

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dotzauer #4

Youtube Link:
Grade: D
Comments: Tempo inconsistent, could be faster. RH & LH Articulation could be cleaner/more synchronized.

This is a fun etude, and unfortunately I spent not enough time on it (what else is new?). I really didn't account for New Years, but I didn't get started on this etude until Saturday or Sunday... needless to say, not enough time to prepare, and the video has me rushing in parts ... I did gain a lot from doing it though ... there's a lot of hidden techniques in this.

What do I mean by that? Well for one thing, this etude makes you switch between flat & curved fingers (b/c of the open strings and the broken 5ths) ... you also have to have thirds prepared, you have to be able to do staccato triplets at whatever given tempo you're doing, you have to be able to do triplet staccato string crossings fluidly, etc.

Every single piece of music we ever work on has something of this sort - technical aspects that aren't immediately observable on the surface. This is why we do technique - so when we encounter these hidden bits, we can automatically tackle them.

I tried to differentiate between on-string & off-string staccato this time (based on a comment I got on Dotzauer #3) ... I was starting to get it by then end ... I literally spent all my practice time today on this etude ...

In terms of memorization, I worked backwards about 3/4 of the way & then did the rest forwards - psychologically, this was a great way to approach it, because there's this feeling of relief that comes from working on the last quarter forward.

I've added a criteria to the rubric for tempo.

I'm so glad I don't have to make another one of these vids for a week!

F - Failed to memorize notes and bowings within one week.
D - Notes and bowings are memorized, and piece is performed completely through without any stops or wrong notes (multiple attempts are acceptable).
C - Notes and bowings are memorized, and piece is performed completely through without any stops or wrong notes (multiple attempts are acceptable). Correct Bow Distribution is present. Tempo is steady.
B - Notes and bowings are memorized, and piece is performed completely through without any stops or wrong notes (multiple attempts are acceptable). Correct Bow Distribution and Articulation & Dynamics are present. Tempo is stead.
A - Notes and bowings are memorized, and piece is performed completely through without any stops or wrong notes on First Try. Correct Bow Distribution and Articulation & Dynamics are present. Tempo is steady.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Uploaded Songs

Normally I use this blog to talk about the cello specifically, however recently I've been putting sometime into web presence and social networking and all that, so I wanted to share the following:

1. I've uploaded some original compositions to my website:
2. I've uploaded a track from the solo album that I've been working hard at writing onto myspace:
3. I've finally joined Reverb Nation & Twitter ... and apparently I can link all these things (which is just great, because i need to spend *less* time in front of my computer ... anyway, if you're on twitter, feel free to follow me at:

I think that's it for right now ... I'm hoping to be done writing this album in the next 2 weeks!!