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Observation While Learning Humoresque on Cello
Although this observation is made while learning this song on cello, it is applicable to all. Have you had a similar experience with another song while learning it?
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August 20, 2019 - 9:55 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3634
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I am learning Humoresque by A. Dvorák. I was intimidated by it when my instructor opened the book to that page, and before that when I was looking through the book, but he told me not to be concerned with all the notes. He said it is not as fast as it looks. That hurdle has been jumped with this song due to that statement because it really panicked me.

However, I do have problems with stretching and shifting. I don’t stretch accurately, when it is a stretch and not a shift. My thumb does not like to follow along with shifting. It is all stretching! If my thumb does come along, it is just because it will not stretch that far and kind of drags along, but not in the proper position behind my 2nd finger. I think I am holding onto my cello for deal life and my thumb will not let go. 

I have issues shifting from first to anything! Rarely hit the spot, and again it is sans thumb.

So, I have been working on my Humoresque piece since Wednesday, about a week. First, I absolutely love this piece, surprise! I have made observations.

1. I am finding the shifting has massively improved. I have begun shifting and bringing my thumb along in the proper position. I am also finding that I am aware to bring that thumb along. That helps. It is not just something that is happening, which would just be a disconnect for the next piece. I am aware to bring the thumb, and am not really having to force myself to do it. Not sure if you can get the gist of the difference, but as one with that thumb issue, there is a difference. There are times I don’t follow through with it, but I am immediately aware I messed up and do a redo of that section a few times as a reminder. Then I continue. There is a connect between that redo and it sticks for a while. It is happening less now.

2. I am becoming more aware of bow strokes. This is a lighthearted song, as the title hints at. The mood is light and my bowing is actually responding in kind. I am normally rather heavy bowed and try as I might, it always ends out that way. This song naturally makes me bow lightly and feels like a little kid out skipping down a sidewalk, with the occasional slow down to observe a bird or something else of interest, in the slower sections of the song. What an improvement.

3. I am not intimidated by all those notes, as I have commented about before as being an issue with me, when I get the music out to play. I just dig in. That is a big step for me.

This all fascinates me. I have done many songs with my instructor and I think this song has really made an impact. I have no idea why. I did find videos of it on YouTube, but I look for these with all the songs we are learning. Therefore, that is not different.

I have gained a lot of confidence, I know I have improved. I have even moved along to that first slower section after the repeat of the first 8 measures at the beginning. For some reason, that rhythm and fingering of this slower (or mood change) section, measures 9-16, seemed to connect with me this morning, didn’t yesterday. I am now working on that. After I do it a few times, I start at the beginning of the piece and continue through that section a couple times. Then, I go back to work on that section to get it up to par with the beginning of the song. I do this so that it actually feels part of the song, not a separate piece.

For some reason, Humoresque seems to have connected with me with issues I have been having. Those issues have not disappeared, but they seem in reach of getting rid of now. It is very strange. The song that is in the book that really had me concerned when I thumbed through it, is the one that has given me the most benefit. On top of it all, it is a LOT of fun to play. 

I have learned from other songs, and felt a little more confident, but they were baby steps. With this song it was a giant step. I hope I come across other songs that do this.

Have any of you come across a song that did this? 

The Bumblebee Flies!


August 20, 2019 - 10:32 am
Member Since: February 9, 2019
Forum Posts: 2049
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@Mouse This was a great post.  I had to google the piece of music you wrote about.  Hope you don't mind me posting this video of it but I liked it and can see where you have alot to gain by practicing it.  For me the tunes that I feel like I have had an Ah-ha type of moment are not as technical as this but they are still satisfying.  Jackie Colemans and George White's are 2 that come to mind this past year.  I was able to get some traction on these two and felt some progression in a few things.  It's neat to hear others feel the same about their progression.  Enjoyed reading this and congrats on your progress. Fun stuff.


August 20, 2019 - 11:03 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
Forum Posts: 3634
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@ABitRusty I love that video. That is one that I used, and have bookmarked. I have a lot of his bookmarked. 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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