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Slowing Lesson Speed and Working on Basics
This post will be sectioned off into one post, this one, followed by Parts 2 and 3, and will be labeled as such.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
June 30, 2020 - 9:24 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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Slowing Lesson Speed and Working on Basics (Part 1)

So, with my cello lessons, we have slowed down and are now working on my bowing and technique. I told my instructor that I really feel like I have no good foundation. I feel my bowing and fingering needs to be worked on. When we do pieces, it takes me forever to learn them. 

After three months on one small piece, and yes, it is broken into segments, the piece is still sounding choppy. The piece is very disjointed, not because of working on sections at a time, it is choppy within those sections. The parts where it completely changes, and they always have those parts, make absolutely no sense to me. It is just noise, like jazz is to me. No, I am not interested in learning to like jazz, I simply find it very annoying and just a bunch of noise most of the time, makes no sense to me. Listening to jazz does something to my thinking and it really is not good, it confuses me. I cannot think correctly when hearing a jazz band. That is what that change of direction in the middle of a piece does to me.

That is what these pieces are like when I come to a part that completely changes course from the way it was at the beginning. It sounds like that section simply does not belong with the piece, sounds like jazz, etc, when I try to play it and try get it to fit with the rest. When my instructor plays it or I find a good YouTube video of it, it does fit in, but still sounds like it veered off course, but it is more acceptable. I have a hard time working on bowing and technique when that happens, so I never improve. I believe I need to be more comfortable and able to do fingering and bowing to be able to conquer that issue.

I mentioned this to my instructor, that it makes me feel I am not improving or moving forward. I feel that at the beginning of the piece, I can learn that somewhat to an almost acceptable point, then the change-up happens and it is just a whole bunch of 8th and 16th note runs that make no sense and, to me, does not belong to the beginning section, and completely destroys that piece, They are just cello exercises to me, that is it.

I also am never able to learn a song where I can play it and feel I know what I am doing, feel like I have been working on it for three months and improved. Instead, after three months, it is like I am still just figuring it out. I am going back to some of those pieces and trying to smooth them up, but do not have a lot of time to do that along with my lesson work because it takes me so long just to do the lesson work to the point where it sounds somewhat like I might know what I am doing. Songs have to be slow and really easy (my “What a Wonderful World” video) in order for me to do it.

(cont in first reply)

The Bumblebee Flies!

June 30, 2020 - 9:24 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 4327
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Slowing Lesson Speed and Working on Basics (Part 2)

We have decided to work on scales and bowing. We are, currently, using the Klengel Studies book. Mine is for cello, but I am sure they have them for violin and viola. I have no objection to this. I told my instructor that I feel like I need to work on that before moving on.

We are also using a metronome. I have issues with timing, and I also have a tendency to hang on a note when it looks like the next notes will be difficult. I hold back. I have found the metronome forces me to move on, or to stop and start over because the timing is off. This makes me learn it the right way, instead if ingraining that slowing down and hanging onto a note. I would change the timing in my mind to make the scale or piece work for me, rather than force myself to keep up.

Since it is a cello, I cannot hear the metronome if it is a desktop or an app. The cable for the earphones is annoying and distracting. I have a Korg(?) clip on ear metronome. I believe I may have bought it through Fiddlershop. If it is available there, that is where I got it, because I check Fiddlershop first. I also have a pulse metronome, but currently am using the clip on ear.

My point, after all of this, if you need to slow down to firm up your base, do it as soon as you feel you need to. Don’t ignore that feeling. If learning and advancing seems to have picked up too much speed, like a runaway trailer going downhill, disconnected from the truck that was towing it, speak up, explain it to your instructor, go back as far as you need with scales and bowing exercises until you are ready to once again move on. You can always break up the scales work, if you get bored, and do an earlier piece periodically, but maintain the foundation to keep from collapsing.

(cont in next reply)

The Bumblebee Flies!

June 30, 2020 - 9:25 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 4327
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Slowing Lesson Speed and Working on Basics (Part 3)

Now, understand, I am not an experienced cellist. I am taking lessons and have had little to no music training in theory beyond whatever we did in 7th grade music class. But, this is what I am finding was necessary. I am finding doing these Klengel exercises to be very  helpful in bowing, fingering and learning keys. I am only used to the C, G, D, and whatever has the E flat (B?), and E flat and B flat (E flat major?). I am currently using the key of C and adding the A major to two exercises we are currently doing. The A major is a little daunting, but at least I am facing it. I am getting used to the bowing pattern with the key of C, then will do the A major.

As I said, I am not at a level where I feel comfortable suggesting without explaining, I am learning and this helps me, and I do not object to lessons with scales and bowing and no current pieces. You may be different, and your instructor may be different. Go by your instructor’s teaching method, if you have one, first. But, speak up if that runaway trailer takes off down the hill.

I know, I have rambled on and probably jumped from here to there, but that is exactly how I am feeling, or was feeling, about my cello lessons. I say, “was feeling” because I am no longer feeling that way since we have stopped with pieces for the moment and am working on scales, bowing, fear of keys with many sharps and flats.

I am taking cello lessons, but I think it would apply to violin. I am posting this is Learning Cello and will provide a link to this post in the Learning Violin section.

(end of post)

The Bumblebee Flies!


June 30, 2020 - 10:44 am
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 1650
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@Mouse .  In track and field events, it is fairly common for a record to stand for several years.  Once broken, the old record is achieved by many competitors in quick succession (breaking the “physiologically impossible” four minute mile comes to mind). If you think you can’t do something, there is ample evidence that you will not do it.  

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.

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