I noticed something today with my cello, and it would probably be the same for my viola and violin.
I was playing “Let It Snow”, I had hoped to have had it submitted this past week, but it did not happen. This morning, my bowing was really hard and forced. I could feel it. It is not that I have smooth flowing bowing that gives a nice sound, anyway, I don’t, but I do what I can. This morning, I realized that this is not the kind of bowing I do when I play “Chanson Triste”. I am not saying I play a good “Chanson Triste”, I am working seriously on it, but, I am a whole lot looser when bowing that and it doesn’t feel as forced.
I kept telling myself, “Play ‘Chanson Triste’, play ‘Chanson Triste’” So, I put "Let It Snow" aside and played “Chanson Triste”.
It was an immediate difference. As soon as I switched to that piece and picked up the bow I use for that piece, I loosened up. "Chanson Triste" is not an easy song for me to play, but my desire to play "Let It Snow" smooth is as strong as my desire to play “Chanson Triste” smooth. So, it has nothing to do with wanting to play "Chanson Triste" more. But, it seems I need to warm up with “Chanson Triste”. I played it through a number of times and then went back to “Let It Snow”. What a difference. But, there was still something missing.
The bow was not right. I felt looser, but the sound was not right. Then I realized that I automatically picked up the bow I use for “Chanson Triste” when I switched to play “Chanson Triste”. I still had that bow in my hand. So, I switched back to the bow I use when play “Let It Snow”. Much better. I have to use my bow I bought back in June after I broke one of my other cello bows to play “Let It Snow”. With the proper bow in hand, and having played, "Chanson Triste", I was able to play, "Let I Snow", with a smoother bowing arm and was able to attempt to get the dynamics into it. I have never had much work with dynamics, so I am working on that. That was impossible to even attempt this morning with “Let It Snow” before I stopped “Let It Snow” to do “Chanson Triste”.
I can’t do scales to warm up. I do them as practice for fingering, but they do not warm me up. They tense me up. So, I think “Chanson Triste” is my warm up song, as well as a song that I am trying to get right.
I am also working on, “What a Wonderful World” on my cello. That went much better after doing “Chanson Triste” first, also. That uses the same bow I use for “Let It Snow”.
I am not after tips to make scales not tense me up, or other tips. The tips will just mess me up. I was just sharing what seems to work, at the moment, for me. I realized, today, that that is what I have been doing for about 2 months now, but never connected “Chanson Triste” to loosening or warming me up. I know I do stop and play “Chanson Triste” whenever I have issues playing, and it helps, even though I do struggle with, “Chanson Triste”. Kind of realized it this morning. Sometimes, it takes a brick.