It’s hard to believe that this month marks TWO YEARS of playing the cello, and yet somehow the more I play, the more I feel like a beginner. Perhaps that is why I haven’t been able to post much of anything useful lately, because I am starting to get to the point where I realize the extent of how much I don’t yet know! During the last few months of my lapse in posting, I have been working hard on some fairly technical pieces: Two movements from the first Bach cello suite, Tchaikovsky’s Chanson Triste, Saint-Saen’s The Swan, and Faure’s Bercuese Op 16. I have also been drafting a few somewhat technical posts that I’ve been trying to condense into their most digestible and useful elements regarding the known science on bow technique and the mechanics of string vibration on the cello – this one will take a while longer to complete because the physics is heady stuff indeed. I also have another post in the works where I’m attempting to refine the essence of what I’ve learned over the last two years with my four stringed companion into a list of practice focal points, so look for a post in the next week or so on that topic.
As for now, after reviewing my blog and deciding what needed the most attention I noticed how shamefully anemic the video section has become. This is mostly because I am loathe to post anything before I feel like it’s spent a sufficient amount of time in the oven. The pieces I am currently working on will likely take years to become proficient at playing, but after a few months of living under that shadow, I realized that my perfectionism was undermining the point of this blog: which was supposed to be a transparent investigation of the process of learning cello as an adult. As a compromise, I resolved to post a progress report video of the “easiest” piece that I am working on at the moment, the Bach Cello Suite Minuets I & II. Just trying to play through the repeats of this 4+ minute song with a blinking red record button is an taxing exercise in focusing, so I am beginning to see why the strain of recording an entire Suite would be a true mental and physical endurance test. However, what is probably one of the more frustrating aspects of recording is knowing how much better you can sound when you are relaxed and no is listening! Yet, as an aspiring performer there is no escaping that facet of musicianship. I have spent enough time as a musical hermit, and I have resolved that I will share what ever I can as freely as I am able.
Please feel free to share any comments, insights or tips. My ego isn’t nearly as important to me as learning new things!
Bach Cello Suite no 1, Minuets 1 & 2: