I guess the devil's in the details because we're revisiting all of the old repertoire to get it more polished, which I don't mind since Adam is introducing some interesting concepts.
We went over the old repertoire during the entire lesson, which I found to be very interesting and we did a lot of practicing during the lesson. I always enjoy it when my teacher accompanies me because it always sounds so much better and I can get my timing and intonation better by listening to him while I play. :). He went into phrasing and dynamics and what makes these songs flow and how to interpret them.
- Dynamics - refers to the volume to indicate how loudly or softly the musician is supposed to play a section of the song
1) May Song
- I've still have to work on those darn F#s - I'm still rushing through them!
- I should try counting it out with 16 beats per measure ("1 and 2 and 3 and 4") and do the string crossing to the A string on "2 and" to get the timing better. I really don't think I can coordinate all that, but I'll give it a go
- I had him play the song with me and I definitely had some funky (and not in a good way) rhythm going on because I could hear the discrepancy in my timing compared to his. I recorded him playing it so I'll try playing along to try to get my rhythm more in time with his. I figure he's the one that will be determining if I can move forward in the repertoire so I'd better play it like he does!
- This rhythm for this is just not clicking with me. He recommended singing it first before playing it to really get it into my head. This is what he does when he plays more complicated pieces because it really lets him focus on his timing and rhythm instead of his bowing and fingering and such. Time for some singing...
- Forte needs to be loud - for me much, much louder!! There wasn't much contrast during the 5th and 6th measure because I was playing medium to medium soft. Or more like: medium to medium! LOL! :). Actually, I definitely know I can produce more volume, but for some reason it wasn't quite working today. I think I was a little tense from my usual nervousness so I wasn't able to relax into my bow to get a bigger sound - that, and my bowing was also off
- My teacher mentioned that volume is all relative and can depend on the other musicians, e.g. if playing in orchestra and there are 7 cellos than forte doesn't need to be played forte but more like mezzo-piano
- Time to re-visit my bowing again! I was noticing the last couple of days that my bowing was starting to get "weird," but I wasn't sure exactly was going on. My teacher said I was pushing my bow forward again and my bow didn't have full contact, especially after some of my string crossing.
- I'm going to have to incorporate my 20 min bow warm-up again. I had this on my Practice Log, but stopped using the log...I think I'd better start the log back up again since everything seems to be slipping
2) O Come, Little Children
- Measure 12 - use LESS bow (use only half) and save the other half of the bow for the second B note
- Work on getting a fuller richer sound - more bow contact and volume
- This piece has fairly clear phrasing as the quarter rests indicate where one phrase starts and one begins. I just need to make sure that I give enough time for the rests
- Measure 12 - we discussed how this could be interpreted. To me, measure 14 was the "peak' of the song, while measure 12 was a "small peak" before the actual summit
- He recommended starting the crescendo on measure 8 with piano (p) [soft] and increase in volume by using more bow and weight, but to also to remember the second B note in measure 12 is the beginning of a phrase, so make sure I don't skip over the rest before starting the second B note to give that note its fair share of the limelight
- Since this is a Folk Song and is passed down through generations, the interpretation varies greatly. Unless, the composer specifies how to play the piece than I should start learning different ways to look at sheet music to find ways to interpret it
- My teacher demonstrated a few different ways I could lead up to the D note, which is played forte in measure 14 to make it sound and flow differently.
- I wonder how many different ways I can make that section sound? That should be pretty fun! I've also found that by trying different dynamics I've learned to control my bow more
3) Go Tell Aunt Rhody
- In the revised Suzuki Book Vol. 1 I'm using, it doesn't have dynamics from measure 5 through 12 for Go Tell Aunt Rhody. However, my teacher says that measure 5 and 6 should be forte (loud) and measure 7 and 8 is mezzo-piano (somewhat soft)
- A lot of times repetition of notes are used to make it sound like an echo of the previous phrase. Or a "call and response" - the first phrase may be a loud statement or question and the following phrase is a softer response/statement or answer
- In general, when a phrase is repeated, the second repetition is played differently using different dynamics or bow technique to add expressiveness to make the piece more interesting
- Although he says not to go totally crazy on this because sometimes a repeat of notes should sometimes sound like a repeat of notes depending on what the piece is trying to convey
- I only got to play this twice, but the second time when I added dynamics it definitely sounded a lot better and was more fun to play and hear the difference!
- For this particular song, my bowing sounded a lot richer and fuller to me, but I'm not sure what I'm doing with this piece that I'm doing with the rest that is making this sound better...actually I think I use more bow for this piece than any other songs I've tried so far. I'll have to try using more bow for the other pieces
- We played the next piece Allegro really quickly and only once because we ran out of time, but I didn't play it as well as I normally do! :(. My bow was just being squirelly today! I definitely need to work on my bowing again!
- Adam said that I interpreted the ritardando (gradual slow down) in measure 12 correctly, but I think I should have made E a little bit longer and slowed down a bit more. He says when he used to play this when he was younger, there was always one person that would play right through the ritardando, which he's also done!
I think I've finally picked out my cello! Yaay!! :).
I have it at a violonmaker's shop to make some adjustments (lower the nut, soundpost adjustment and bridge adjustment) and will be picking it up today.
I'll post those pictures tomorrow, or more likely this weekend some time when I have more free time. I already have my first quiz this semester (tomorrow) and then a couple of exams at the end of the month!
I've also been doing some some research on rosin. Hmmm....I'm always doing some kind of research on a cello-related product! Learning to play the cello is very expensive hobby! Which reminds me - I need to post my thoughts on the strings that I've accumulated. I'll have to post those at some point too.