Please feel free to share. “Game of Thrones Group Project”
I would like to hear what pieces are you practicing just now and what do you think about them! Maybe we can do some kind of practice diaries here.
I have been working with La Cinquantaine from Suzuki cello book 3 couple of weeks now. I love it, it sounds so beautiful! I found this from youtube played by Rachel Xu, and fell in love immediately.
I think I’m done with this and it’s as good as it could be just now. I need to improve my vibrato, and return to this later. Maybe I'll make a video of this to critique corner, I’m considering it.
I want to play this with piano accompanient too. Unfortunatelly I don’t know anybody who could help me with this, because no one of my friends plays piano (good enough). I have practiced some of my pieces with virtual-accompanient found from youtube, but it sometimes frustrates me because I can’t choose the tempo.
I started Chanson Triste from Suzuki book 4 yesterday. It proved to be actually very easy, there is no difficult shifts except one passage, but it’s not bad at all. I tried this also with accompanient from youtube, and it was ok. But also this definitely needs more vibrato, so I’m stuck with that same thing again. However, this can be played so slowly that I can easily practice it too.
I have also some other projects going. My teacher gave me one book with more challenging songs, so I wouldn’t get bored during summer 😉 I already started with Sicilienne by Fauré and Bourrées from cellosuite 3 by Bach.
I actually never focus just to one piece, I really like to have some different projects. One should be extra hard to make the others feel easy 🙂
Sicilienne is my extremeproject this time. I can play it, but can’t keep right tempo yet. I always get confused at the same point where is that pizzicato. I don’t know why my fingers can’t remember that part.
Try Cellopedia. He does slower renditions. His Chanson Triste is lovely. It is meant to have almost all vibrato.
The thing with Cellopedia is that with his videos, it is just him with dark clothes and dark background. You are drawn to watch his cello playing, his fingering and bowing. I think he does all the Suzuki books. Google him. I think I have him listed in a thread I started in Learning Cello where I created an index with links to books, videos, etc that would be of help. Pretty sure Cellopedia is listed in my index.
I don’t do much with diaries, etc. I am not into writing down much in the way of thoughts, etc, in a structured way, so I would not be able to help with that part of your system of learning. I don’t do a lot of analyzing what I am doing.
I am working on Bourrée II at the moment. We changed the fingering from what is in the book we are using, Bärenreiter Bach Six Suites for violoncello solo. BWV 1007-1012. It is a tall blue covered book with yellowish pages. It is very easy to use. Plenty of room for notes and the yellowish pages are very easy to read. I will try to jot down my thoughts on Bourrée II if I get a chance.
We worked on ChansonTriste a while back to get some particular technique from it before we continued on with Vocalise. Both are lovely cello pieces. My instructor is working his way to a particular piece he wants me to do. Haven’t reached that point yet.
I should look at Chanson Triste and Vocalise again but I am wrapped up with the Bourrée II and some scales. Also trying to smooth out my fingers. Main problem? My finger joints are very stiff and not as flexible as they were in my younger years. I have good span for the cello finger board, but my joints do not like it. They don’t like speed, either. We are working on that.
But, do Google Cellopedia, or look for my index I started in the Learning Cello section.
Here is cello index thread link mentioned in the above post. Cellopedia is the first one mentioned where the index starts.
Cellopedia is super! He has helped me a lot, especially with Dotzauer etudes but also Suzuki pieces.
I took a look to Bourrée II today, but not focused to that. I have a book where is no fingerings, but I found this that probably could help a little.
Ps. What is the most funniest piece you have played so far?
I loved Danse rustique by W. H. Squire. This was my goal when I did 100 days of practice -challenge. I will definitely go back to this also later.
I really don’t know names of classical music or composers, just pieces I am doing, as I am doing them. I have no idea what a funny piece is, actually. All my pieces I work on end out funny, in a very sad way because I am, quite truthfully, just not very good, which is fine. I am just having fun. 😁
Right now I am practising the Bach double concerto (BWV1043) V2 part, to be found at the end of Suzuki 4 and also the Corelli Op 5 no9 prelude with Geminiani's ornamentation to be found in last year's ABRSM grade 6 syllabus. I couldn't perform anything at this level. I'm just trying to avoid a diminishing returns scenario and get out of intermediate and into advanced.
The marking is Largo, but it's surprisingly quick, especially with ornamentation. That guy is far more advanced than me - he has a nimble left hand, but I'm disconcerted by his right hand, which follows the music's bowing instructions dutifully and mechanically but without any expression: also he has no dynamic variation. I attempt to be a lot more expressive, but that gives me bow-management problems. I'm due a lesson on the 18th. I haven't had one since March 11th.
I started to practice Sonata in C major by Breval (found at Suzuki cellobook 4). There is a lot of tricky parts, but I love challenges!
The hardest point in this song are the triplets, there is a lot of them and I can’t handle the rhythm yet. I feel like my fingers are moving faster than my eyes can read the notes, so I totally mess up where I am and what I’m doing. There is also one passage where is jumping between G and A strings, it was almost mission impossible first but then I found a great video that explains how to do it. (Abigail McHugh-Grifa did a great work!)
I think I will have nice project with this piece for a while... And the more I play this the more I like it, because there are so many techniques to learn. Triplets, trills, double stops etc.
I think I did that one in the late Fall or early Winter. I know it was a Breval Sonata for cello, and that sounds familiar. Yes, there are tricky parts.
My fight is getting my old fingers to move as fast as my eyes. Pretty much everything is a ballad, 🤪😂🤪😂🤪😂🤪😂🤪😂🤪
Right now I am not working on a piece for lessons. We are working really hard on my fingering and bowing, so we are doing scales, bowing drills and fingering drills.
As I am doing that, I am getting out my old pieces and using what I achieve in these exercises and drills to improve on those old songs. I have been sorting through them and trying them out. When I find one I really like and want to work on, and that is about to the point where my improvements stop, I will work on that one to enhance what I have been able to improve on as we advance forward with my issues in my lessons.
I also get out the books 1-3 of Suzuki and play the pieces that I like from those, and a Schroeder Foundation Studies book I have. This gives me the opportunity pay attention to bowing and fingering to improve on straight bowing to get rid of the scratchy and my intonation and fingering because I know the songs. There are some nice pieces in the Schroeder book that I have noticed are becoming easier since we stopped doing pieces and are concentrating on fixing my fingering issues and bowing issue in my lessons.
This system in my lessons being technique right now is actually giving me more confidence because I am improving songs I already know that I had issues with before, instead of getting new songs that keep getting blocked because I have old finger joint issues. I don’t have to be thinking about what fingering is needed or how to do it, or where to shift up to, etc as I do when we do the new advanced pieces, I can pay more attention to technique. I can’t do both at one time.
This is really making my cello playing so much more enjoyable and satisfying.
Please forgive my intrusion (I have too much time on my hands right now), but I've been curious about what I can learn from other bowed string players (besides violinists). So I've been reading all your comments.
As we get older and certain body parts deteriorate I find myself trying to figure out the best ways to use what I have remaining!
One inspiring quote I found (before I decided to play the violin) was by Jake Shimabukuro (great Ukulele-ist) - "If you can hum it, you can play it."
I want to share a video I believe is more about "how we learn" a string instrument, rather than just about violin.
Do any of you memorize your pieces before playing them?
I'm thinking of starting a new thread on this subject...
You are not intruding.
I don’t memorize before because when we were doing pieces for lessons, I would not see a new piece until that day. I try to memorize but the old memory ain't the same either! I need to remove some memories to clear some space, or get an external storage device 😂.
As I am learning the fingering, I try to memorize it. It takes a long time for me to get the entire thing memorized. The parts that have been memorized are easier to play, but a far cry from being good or smooth. By about the time we are going to move on ... The it is memorized! I go back to them in my own later, time permitting. It takes a while for things to click, patterns, etc. Some people can do it quickly, but not me.
It would be so much easier to actually work on the fingering and bowing if I could memorize them faster.
Humming does not make me able to play it, by the way. Maybe for some people, but not me.
cid - I hear you! Humming didn't do it for me either.
But, getting it stuck in my head did!
Probably because it helps me be a little "ahead" of the notes to play and what that note (I'm playing) is supposed to sound like. Even just playing to a click track I have a delay between what I hear and play if I don't memorize it.
My Grandmother used to do all sorts of word puzzles and number games to keep her sharp, but I'm trying to keep my (shot) memory going.
I realize lessons are different. I have some quick tips that helped me - to use while you're driving or doing other things around the house - or before you go to sleep at night (some music has put me to sleep).
#1 - ask "Alexa" (or similar device) to play the piece you're working on & after it starts ask her to repeat it (it should then loop for you).
#2 - if you can find a performance on YouTube - you can "right click" the video to select loop & even somewhat adjust the speed in the video "settings".
At 1st, I had to listen to a piece more than I can count, but it is soooo much easier now that I've been doing it awhile.
Very complicated music can easily be done in sections. I've just video taped what I want off the laptop screen with my phone, then loop it (most smart phones can). This is also great if you can capture someone performing so you can see fingering.
Let me know if any of this is helpful.
I have done a lot of those. I try to look ahead, but then I have issues with what is in front of me. I have been working on that with my instructor. He will be bald soon from pulling his hair out. That is why I wish I could memorize the pieces mor quickly. You should be able to be anticipating a few measures ahead, be able to turn the page before you finish the current page, etc. I have issues. It will come.
I watch videos of some and watch the bowing and get the feel. But, it is mostly my own ability that I have to deal with and this is just for me, not for playing in front of or with anyone.
Thank you. That was a very easy song, not one of my complicated lesson ones. I also recorded that, must have been at least 10 times, if I remember correctly.
I was testing a bow when I decided to record it. I wanted to hear how it sounded. I ended out purchasing a different bow and am very happy with it,
I always try to find a video of piece I’m working on, and I look and listen it so many times it is stuck in my head. That really help me to learn it. I have strong photographic memory, so I can quite easily memorize also the notes and see them in my head. When learning a new piece I like to listen it with the sheet music front of me, so I can look them at the same time. This is the best way for me to memorize quickly.
I also often practice my pieces in sections. I pick the hardest parts and loop them over and over. (Then my husband or daughter comes and asks would I play something else... 😂) Just now I’m doing that with the triplets of Breval Sonata. I also figured out that it helps with the rhythm if I repeat some word in my mind while playing them.
Cid - your technique lessons sounds good. I would like something similar when I will go back to my lessons in August. I have learned many new pieces during this break, so it would be a good idea to improve them before going further. I know which techniques I need to improve, I just need help with it.
I feel like I’m a little lost, I don't know what to practice now. 😔
I look forward so much to my lessons starting. (I'll know it next week!) I feel like I can't start anything new anymore, but all the old pieces have already been played so many times that I don't have enough motivation for them anymore. 😳
I've done a lot of few simple etudes and tried to think carefully about the bowing. I’ve had problems with my right thumb, it gets tired easily and somehow turns into wrong position. I really hope that this problem will soon be solved with my teacher.
You are holding the cello too tight. I would maybe work on just paying attention to thumb position and do slow scales, while paying attention to that thumb. You can cause injury if it keeps up. It should not hurt. That is what I would do. Work on that right thumb being in position.
BUT, first, give it a rest for a day or so to let your thumb heal a bit.
I probably echo most people's sentiments when I say the lockdown is demotivating.
I'm supposed to be working on the/a Schubert Allegro Vivace, but the progress is poor. Maybe it's a bit too hard and I should find something with similar bowing demands but at a slightly lower level, although I chose it because the bowing is typical of what a 2nd violinist in an orchestra might be expected to be able to play in their sleep.
So the other day, distracted, I found myself sight-reading my entire book of Children's Bartok and something else that I've now forgotten, and yesterday I spent most of the afternoon working up Tea For Two. I've got a Trinity book with an arrangement at grade 5, but I didn't like it much - the intro is too short and 6 measures not 8(!); there are passages where they have edited an 8-measure section arhythmically into a 9-measure section (!); there are places where their own bowing doesn't work because they've chopped one single note out of a sequence, so I chased down the original in IMSLP and decided that my own jazzy improvisation on it was going to be the best option.
Trinity's is in Bb; the original is in Ab. I haven't yet played it in Ab to see which I prefer.
I've ordered a new preamp and October is my 2nd anniversary of violin playing, so I'd better choose something to record and upload. Tea For Two may be a good choice.
I guess most people in this thread aren't talking about cello stuff any more...
My practice time has been limited since 2018 because of chronic shoulder injuries and further limited in the last two weeks by whiplash from a car accident. (Not bad enough to stop me from playing completely, but I currently only practice 30-45 minutes every other day and have to ice my neck and shoulders after practicing.) It forces me to be extremely focused and efficient with the time I have. At the moment I'm spending the vast majority of my practice time on scales, arpeggios, and technical exercises because I'm in the middle of a 6-week viola technique workshop. Virtual orchestra projects get a little practice time, but I'm recording each one on less than an hour of practice in total.
Prior to the accident, I was polishing Bach Cello Suite No. 3 (in transcription) and resuming work on the Walton viola concerto. Since the accident, I've spent about 15 minutes on the Walton and none on the Bach.
When practicing, I do not play through pieces from beginning to end at all, except that a virtual orchestra project may get a reading with the click track when I get the music and a play-through with the click track the day before I record. I just pick tricky spots and work on them.