Message from the Editor
This newsletter has an unusually large percentage of Californians. While some consider the East Coast (i.e. New York) to be the hub of musical activity in the United States, I'm beginning to wonder if California shouldn't be considered a less-than-distant second, at least in terms of those who have made noticable ripples in the cello world and/or ICS. Let's look at some of the names:
>> I saw the cello mute in your latest issue and thought it was a delightful departure from my usual tourte. I am sure that youngsters will be captivated by it as well as their older counterparts. Thank you for the info and the wonderful photo.
>> I used to play the cello. I grew up in Issaquah, Washington, and started playing the cello and piano as a very small child. My cello teacher was Frances Walton, who is one of your past interviewees. She is the most beautiful person I have ever known -- she infused me with the love of music-making. She has a way of making everything seem glorious and she knows what unconditional love is. She is the motivating reason why I'm writing to you today.
I was a very lucky young musician when I studied with Frances and played in Thalia Symphony (a local community orchestra) and went to music camp. I would say that I was a relatively good player until around the age of 15. Then I began having difficulties. I thought I was doing something wrong because, at the time, I was studying with Eva Heinitz and she had a unique way of instructing that required one to look deep inside and discover the truth.
I had this dark little secret that I was losing control of my playing and I was convinced it was because there was something I was not "getting." I was fascinated with Janos Starker and how perfect he made the impossible-to-play seem. I was so mixed up. I aspired to some kind of fanatical precision, while at the same time was losing more and more of my natural ability to play at all.
After I completed my degree, it took ten years for me to finally turn my back on playing completely. I sold my Vuillaume and then my Gagliano (I assumed the instruments had everything to do with it ... sigh). Finally, I resolved to never tell anyone why I couldn't play anymore. I was too ashamed. I felt that I was just one of the failures straight from conservatory to crap heap and that I had to accept it. I was so programmed to blame myself that I never considered that perhaps something else was going on. I never went to a concert or talked with another musician about music for many, many years. I couldn't be around performers because I couldn't hack it. I even kept the secret from my sister, who played oboe and went through a similar type of conservatory hell as me ... not a word.
I turned my attention to a million different things. Nothing ever filled the void left by music. I studied art and science -- always sublimating my energy. I bought CD's and listened like crazy because I still loved music, even if I couldn't play, but even then I would catch myself daydreaming about playing in this orchestra or that chamber group, or whatever it was, and sometimes the old feelings would well up like some kind of suppressed grief. I've kept my very core hidden ... until very recently.
Let's fast-forward 22 years after I turned my life away from music. I so happened to think of myself as a bit of a gardener. One gorgeous Florida day I happened to injure my left shoulder when I lost my balance while carrying a large piece of fencing. Frances sees the accident in philosophical terms. As she put it, "I have a very sure sense that building a fence has taken you from the precarious business of balancing on a fence to the right path back to a whole soul." That's why I love her so much ... she always sees, without fail, right into one's heart and gives her love, unconditionally.
After picking myself up off the ground, I decided to take advantage of my company's excellent health insurance and I went to a doctor. He referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon who in turn had me get an MRI of my left shoulder. The surgeon informed me, rather nonchalantly, that nothing was wrong, except that I had bone spurs, a stretched out rotator cuff, and impingement of my shoulder -- ha ha (not funny).... I asked him if that could cause all the difficulties I was having playing the cello. He looked at me surprised and asked me what kind of problems would I have, aside from chronic fatigue in my arms, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, bursitis, and pain in my arm, shoulder, neck and back? I said well, "I can't hold my arm up for more than a few minutes, and I can't vibrato at all." Then, while sitting there talking to him, things in my past began to make sense. My shoulder was totally messed up, and my bad shoulder might be the real reason why I lost my ability to play.
Evidently, I grew up this way. There was nothing I "did" to create it. I grew this way, and when I think back, my body was maturing along with the gradual loss of control of my arms. He also informed me that I had the problem in the other shoulder too. A matched set. He went in and has subsequently repaired both shoulders with three different procedures that have only been around for a few years. The before and after pictures of the bone spurs and the gap in the cuff is astounding. The spurs looked like the Grand Tetons before, and after he had reshaped the bone, it now has the smoothness of a billiard ball. I had a feeling after I started to recover from the first surgery that maybe, just maybe, this was indeed the problem.
Within a two-week period I was starting to see a profound change. Within a month I knew that this was the cause and I started to think that I might be able to play again. Within two months, I was playing with no pain, I had a vibrato! And my hand, instead of going cold and numb, felt pumped and ready for more playing! My right shoulder is a wonder. I never thought that I would be able to change everything that was a result of the previous condition. My whole body has opened up and my posture and attitude while playing are of a different person. Now I understand a lot of what my old teachers would tell me, like "imagine your arms are light and opened as the wings of a bird." -- Fritz Maag. I see how Yo-Yo sits and I notice that my posture while playing is similar to his -- really, I'm in a state of wonderment.
Today (I can't believe it), I'm preparing to audition for a 3rd chair position with the Orlando Philharmonic. Who would have thought that some nasty little bone spurs, stretched rotator cuffs, and a matched set of impinged shoulders would cause so much misunderstanding and grief?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Perhaps this story will help another person out there in the cello world who might be suffering and not know why.
>> I am writing to you about the review of the Bambach seat as tested by Mr. Victor Sazer. First of all, I must declare my interest. I am the managing Director of The Bambach Saddle Seat, Ltd., here in Sydney, Australia. The seat is distributed under license in the USA.
I thought Mr Sazer's review did raise points which may be more particular to him than to many other people, because it does not accord with our experience here in Australia. It is true that the seat does not suit everyone, but it does for the majority who try it. This seems to be in accordance with life in that I do not think there is anything that suits everyone.
Our seat is used by cellists (see photo of one on our web site http://www.bambach.com.au
There have been changes to the seat's comfort factor that may intrigue your members too.
The seat has proved beneficial to performers who lean forward to reach their instrument as many have complained to us of lower back problems. We have also been told that, by sitting in an upright position versus being bent over when sitting on a normal seat, the body is more relaxed and everything functions better. This is because the body is in the neutral position and everything is in balance.
We would like your members to give our product another look.
The Bambach Saddle Seat
>> I'm a big admirer of Paula Zahn. I enjoy watching her anchor the news on CNN. I'm also fascinated to know that she is also a cellist in her spare time, and that she also earned a cello scholarship. I was just wondering if you have any pictures of Paula Zahn playing her cello or know of any links that I can check out. I'm just amazed at how well she can balance her career as a journalist and as a cellist at the same time.
Editor replies: Just Google. Here is one website: http://www.wolfstrategies.com/paulazahn/newweb.php
>>I was wondering if you knew what "Grissom/Cello Fandango, An Iberian excursion/ Endpin Pub" was like. Is it at all "folksy"? Odd rythms, peasant-ish?
Rajan Krishnaswami replies: This sounds like something by Sean Grissom, someone I knew in New York City. He has branched into very unique cello stuff. The CD I have is more Cajun-type music. It should be a kick, in any case!
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by Tim Janof
TJ: Who was your first major teacher?
MS: I was originally offered a scholarship to study with Eleonore Schoenfeld at the University of Redlands in California. My roommate -- who was author James Thurber's grandson -- and I would hop on his motorcycle and get into all kinds of trouble. I was soon kicked out of school and I ended up studying math at the University of California in Santa Barbara.
I took a music class or two at UC Santa Barbara so that I could take cello lessons with Geoffrey Rutkowski. It was at that time that I got mixed up with the Little Emo, a group that played things like an electrified Brandenburg Concerto when opening for the Beach Boys. This got me more and more involved with the music school. I'm still best friends with Dr. James Sitterly, who was the violinist with Little Emo and is now the front guy for John Tesh. It was through my involvement with Little Emo that I became a music major again. Suddenly, my cello was everything to me and it became my life.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
Prominent Cellists help Barry Green find an answers to:
The Mastery of Music
Ten Pathways to True Artistry
New book from Broadway/Doubleday Publication May 03
It has been an honor to help develop Gallwey's simple concepts for people in the performing arts. This has provided me a transformative opportunity to learn from not only bass players, but from cellists, educators, and performers of all instruments, voice, and all types of ensembles, including chamber and popular music.
Some five years ago I was sent looking for my own answer to a coaching challenge where my Inner Game techniques fell short. I was truly 'stumped' during an Inner Game demonstration with a singer. Like Gallwey's missed shot, I left this workshop looking for something 'beyond.' The singer demonstrated all that I could ask for. She sang in tune and her technique and diction were excellent. Furthermore, she knew the 'Inner Game techniques.' She was able to do virtually everything I asked. Even though she had superb concentration -- no nerves -- something was missing. It wasn't about the music, the command of her voice, or her focus, it was about HER. I wondered to myself whether it could be that she lacked courage, passion, and creativity in her expression? I wanted to tell her she needed to live in this world more fully, develop her personal skills so that she has something more interesting to communicate as a musician. But that's not really Inner Game is it? Can this stuff be taught? Should it be taught? This was the beginning of my four-year search, which has resulted in what I believe to be a most important gold mine of knowledge. I am now excited to share it in my new book, called The Mastery of Music, Ten Pathways to True Artistry (publication May '03).
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) held its first-ever "stand-alone" national conference March 27-29, 2003, on the campus of the Ohio State University in Columbus. Nearly 1,000 teachers, performers, students, manufacturers, and merchants gathered for the purpose of "Celebrating Strings -- All Together Now!" The offerings of this conference, which included performance, clinics, lecture-style presentations, and exhibits, contained much of interest to cellists of all types and vocations. As one attendee noted, the only negative thing about the event was the fact that there were so many difficult choices.
A notable aspect of the Columbus conference, and the recent activities of ASTA in general, was the emphasis on what are becoming known as "Alternative Styles." If defined as "not Western classical-style art music," this is, of course, a huge category embracing hundreds if not thousands of musical styles. The performers and clinicians at this conference demonstrated techniques for performing, teaching, and learning Anglo-American, Irish Scandinavian, Mexican, Indian, Arabic, and Asian fiddling styles, bluegrass, jazz, and blues; as many of these traditions involve improvisation, there was a healthy emphasis on its principles and processes.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
A fantastic website! It is still being constructed, but what a fantastic start! Be sure to listen to the BBC Radio broadcast.
**Please notify Tim Janof at firstname.lastname@example.org of interesting websites that you would like to nominate for this recognition in the future. Websites will be selected based on their content, cello relevance, creativity and presentation style!
Thanks to Bobbie Mayer for compiling the following conversations from our chat boards. In addition to our boards, you are welcome to contact our forum hosts directly. For a complete list of ICS Forum Hosts please see http://www.cello.org/The_Society/Staff.html
>> Those Dvorak Sextuplets
jello: I was wondering if anyone has any tips on getting the bow to bounce in those two sextuplet sections in the first movement of the Dvorak Concerto.
SteveDrake4: Use a good bow and practice the basic stroke until it's easy. Then don't worry about it -- the intonation in your left hand is more critical.
yo yo jr: What I do when I am practicing it is to tilt the bow to the extremes passed the strings ... I mean as in when you go to the left hit the C string and to the right go a little farther than you need. Also try using a lot of bow.
johntramsay: It's much harder for me to try and explain it than to show you, but I was taught to practice this section with a strong down bow at the frog on the top two notes as a double-stop, using wrist primarily, then letting the bow ricochet back on the lower two notes as a double-stop. Then with an up bow, repeat the top notes as a double-stop, and then shift down to the next set of notes and repeat the pattern. This trains your arm and wrist to throw the bow against the strings in order to get a good "bouncing bow."
cbrey: I find it helps to remember what's going on musically here; many folks treat this as a brilliant Popper etude in the middle of a concerto and forget that this is a bridge passage in which the woodwinds have the melody. The soprano voice (the A string voice) of the solo cello part is an accompaniment to this woodwind writing, not the main event. Look at the score. Learning this piece from a cello part is like looking at the Sistine ceiling through a length of pipe.
Concentrate your focus on the soprano voice, so that your energy brings that out and causes an automatic rebound in the bow. I've often found in teaching that the less a student tries to make the bow ricochet as an end in itself, the more successful he or she is in making it bounce just enough for clarity.
Bob: Carter, I hope the young people on this board are properly grateful that someone of your stature is willing to chew the cello fat with anyone who asks. And they should pay close attention to your insights. Having said that; while I agree with everything in your second paragraph and most of the first, I would suggest that the texture here is more complicated than just "melody" and "accompaniment." The woodwinds are playing the middle voice of the cello arpeggios, an octave higher and legato. That middle voice is the least-audible of the three, so the combination is very efficient just as an acoustical matter. But the point is, if two parts are essentially playing the same notes, it's hard to automatically denote one part an "accompaniment" just because that part has additional notes as well. One could indeed argue just the reverse. Yes, unison woodwinds are singing out a haunting melody, which should be prominent, but the cello part, with the two additional voices, is more involved and complicated. And what I was taught as a general principle of ensemble playing was that simpler (slower) parts had to listen to the faster, trickier parts and try to fit in, even when they were independent melodies, which isn't the case here.
This passage is almost identical to the radiant B minor episode in the Adagio: three-voice arpeggios in the cello, the middle voice outlining the yearning woodwind melody floating above. But again, calling the cello's decorations merely an accompaniment is, I feel, an oversimplification. I don't have a word to propose instead, but, I'm looking for one that conveys the close intertwining of both parts.
Your post addressed a distressingly common problem among young soloists today, namely not knowing much of the piece beyond their own parts. Your analogies were apt. But on the other hand, some could read your advice as suggesting that the passage should be played in an uninflected, "low-profile" way. Recalling your fine performance with the National Symphony Orchestra about five years back, I know that's not your conception. But not everyone else might. And when all is said and done, we're talking about a CELLO concerto, however symphonically laid-out.
>> Question about orchestral bowings
Ricky Martin: I try not to complain too much about bowings, but ... it seems like we do a lot of "violin bowings," which I imagine would work on violin but I feel are just plain awkward on cello. I'm wondering if this is a problem understood by Music Directors (MD's) in general, particularly when the MD is not a string player, for example? Does the MD even care about bowings working/matching? And how much are bowings supposed to match, anyway? Does your section mostly just do what feels good?
David Sanders: Boy, what a can of worms.
We have had such a horrible time, many times, in the CSO, because our pianist music director decides on the bowings for the violins, and then more or less insists that the cellos do them as well. It isn't just that they're often backwards. We mostly just don't get to use enough bow to get a good sound. We're constantly being cramped for bow, which leads to a cramped (or way too soft) sound.
When Frank Miller was principal, he did the bowings that he felt were right for the cello, always with an understanding about what would sound warm and free. If it didn't match the "chin instruments," as he called them, then so be it.
Ryan Selberg: I'm fortunate to be somewhat autonomous in bowings. We do match a lot of what the concertmaster does but don't really have a lot of conductor interference. Keith Lockhart doesn't even pretend to get involved with bowings (unlike his predecessor, Joe Silverstein), other than to occasionally rule on a choice of bowing styles. I have a good working relationship with the concertmaster, who is always open to my doing things that work for the cellos, even if it is not the same as the violins, or occasionally to change a bowing that might work better for all strings. My sympathies to those who have pianists doing their bowings!
jailyard: Once again, I bring you the immortal words of the great grump himself, David Soyer, when asked his philosophy of bowings, "When you get to the end, go the other way!"
zambocello: One of the virtues of our Principal Cellist is that he doesn't slavishly follow the chin instruments, although we change more often than I wish. For my money, our fiddles change bowings too much; just because the conductor wants a little different sound or articulation, they presume the bowing must be the issue.
Phooey! Isn't that why we try to hire good players? I once had a conversation with one of our principal string players (I'll let the alto clef-reading chin instrument player remain nameless). It was after a rehearsal where there were WAAAAAAY too many bowing changes, mostly for no reason. I begged him to try to put a stop to the madness, because, after all, we're professional players -- maybe even artists -- and we can play musically regardless of the damn bowings! He didn't agree at all, saying that he HAD to choose bowings to "help" his section. Oyyy..... I'm soooooo glad I'm not in that section.
gloriarex: Bowings? Are we supposed to be doing the same ones?!? Our previous principal, Ron Leonard, used to regularly sneer at violin bowings. When the violins would change to something that he didn't like, he would turn around to us and say "we're NOT changing the bowing." There is definitely a place for that kind of orneriness. Sometimes I think it makes sense for everyone to do the same bowing, but not to the degree that one doesn't take into consideration the differences in instruments. I hate it when a principal just automatically defers to the violins without even thinking about it. Makes me crazy.
cbrey: Count me in the Ron Leonard camp. My job is to make my section blend and sound their best, and to make the New York Philharmonic cellists' lives a little easier, not to parrot the fiddles.
Our librarians, as a matter of routine policy, always give me a photocopy of the Concertmaster's bowings when I have to put bowings in a new piece, but I view this as Neapolitan's view traffic lights: a suggestion.
Although I dearly loved making music with Kurt Masur, all of us string principals had to deal with the issue of his having brought certain issues with him from Leipzig, where the playing standard was, God forgive me, provincial. I heard them twice live and was struck by this. They had limitations which Masur assumed were inherent in any orchestra, and he would at times automatically insist on what I would refer to as "prophylactic" bowings, which were designed to avoid technical pitfalls, even before a note had been played.
This sometimes resulted in really unfortunate situations, the most infamous being the opening of Don Juan, and nearly every subsequent appearance of the main motive. He absolutely insisted with mosaic fervor that we start downbow, like the chin instruments. Eric Bartlett (the Assistant at the time) and I would have private pow-wows in which we would try to develop fingerings and bow strokes to try and accommodate this idiocy. I once, as an experiment, changed it without telling Masur, and he noticed and insisted that we change it back!
Needless to say, when Zubin Mehta conducted us for a couple of weeks this fall and programmed the piece, I gleefully took out my eraser and went to work. I condemned all of Masur's bowings to a "damnatio memoriae" and we all, cellists and bassist alike, started once again to enjoy Don Juan.
>> Chromatic Scales
Francis Cox: I've been learning chromatic scales (I suppose one should say the chromatic scale) and am somewhat dissatisfied with the results achieved so far, at least compared with diatonic scales. So what's the best way to master this element of technique? I've heard about:
1) study only one octave at a time, starting on each open string.
2) stop on/emphasize notes of the augmented triad, e.g. C/E/G# etc.
Any other ideas?
Andrew Victor: I learned to play (that is to finger) chromatic scales on violin and to do it the same way on the cello: starting on an open string, it would go 0-1-2-1-2-3-4-0-etc.
This can become such an automatic response to a chromatic scale encountered in sight reading that I just do it and never have to mess around with sliding fingers again. I just start on the right finger.
The problems come as you go above first position range because you will want to make your position changes in a fairly regular (repeated) manner (no matter what music you are playing) as you go up and settle upon the terminal finger as part of the pattern. It think it is easiest to establish a specific pattern for rising up any single string in a chromatic scale and to stick with it.
I think the pattern should be based on the logic that works best for your shifting skills and mind. For example, it could continue to be 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, as it was at the bottom of each string if you are insecure about shifting more than a full tone as your hand rises, or it could be the 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 pattern you already established going up the other strings, if you feel secure shifting 1-1/2 positions (5 half tones) each leap. Or you could adapt anything in between these two extremes. I think one can make any pattern work with enough practice.
I think that once you establish a pattern for "chromaticizing" up the string it's a good idea to use it every time you encounter the need and just polish up the ending of the scale pattern according to the demands of the music. In other words, in different music you may end the scale on different fingers.
Also beware of things that are "almost" chromatic, "almost" scales.
Tracie Price: I usually do them 0-1-2-3-1-2-3. Is that weird? I don't think anyone ever told me to do it that way, I just always have. It's comfy.
cellobass: Tracie, my cello method does it your way, and I have seen it 0123123 in other methods, too.
Benjamin Myers: Why are you learning chromatic scales? In other words, what is the final goal?
Francis Cox: Fair question, Benjamin. I haven't got specific answers other that (a) it's where I've got to in the tutor book I'm working through with my teacher, and (b) it certainly seems reasonable to me that one should be able to play a good chromatic scale in the same way that one should be able to play a good range of diatonic scales and arpeggios. The whole question of "pure technique" versus "just learning the music" seems quite vexed, and is particularly the case with the cello, which seems to generate "studies" that have dubious relevance to the core repertoire.
Andrew, by "dissatisfied" I mean that I haven't achieved the quality of intonation one would hope for given the invested time, and contrasting this with equivalent work on diatonic scales. For fingerings, I play 0123123/0123123/0123123/012312312312121212...
JuilliardRock: I too wonder at the ultimate end of sweating over chromatic scales. I don't recall ever practicing chromatic scales per se, and I am wary of any advice to play a chromatic scale with set fingerings, as they can and do appear in all positions and permutations in the repertoire.
I know the subject of the technical literature (etudes, etc.) has been hotly contested here before, but for my money something like the Popper etudes leaves you well prepared to face most of the technical challenges that one might encounter in the standard literature. And when it comes to chromatic scales, Popper presents such patterns all over the cello, with a variety of fingerings, so that one is not so surprised to see them either in the solo literature or in the orchestral repertoire.
SteveDrake4: Because they're there. No wait -- really: because they're not as easy as they might seem, and pop up often in the literature. Sometime back in my high school days one of my teachers introduced me to them, and I thought, fine, these are easy. Several years later I realized I couldn't really play them in tune, or without audible shifts. Hence, a lot of practicing ensued. And now they're fairly effortless, but still part of the scale warm-up package most every day. And I advocate the 123123 fingering -- the shifts are more economical than if you add your fourth finger to the mix.
>> Orchestra Etiquette
Thomdodd: What's the most effective way for a principal string player to communicate with his/her section during a rehearsal, especially if the conductor on the podium expects silence and attention?
gloriarex: You say to the conductor "excuse me, I need to [fix a bowing, suggest a fingering, show them where to play that harmonic, tell them they suck....]" and then turn around to say it to the section. Usually the quicker and more concisely you can say it, the better. Most sections will appreciate clarification and hopefully what you say will be more pertinent than what the conductor says. Also, if you are telling your section something they are doing wrong (you're rushing like mad there), be sure you phrase it in such a way as to include yourself (e.g. we're pushing ahead there). Diplomacy and psychology go a long way in making for a happy relationship between principal and section.
thomdodd: gloriarex, do you recommend standing up and speaking loudly and clearly so even the last player in the section can hear the principal, or should the principal speak to those directly in back and assume that it will get accurately passed back, which of course never happens?
gloriarex: Yes, if you are going to interrupt the conductor to say something to the section, do stand up and say it so everyone can hear. Certain things like bowings can be passed back stand-to-stand without having to call attention from the conductor. I would say that in our section the principal turns around to say something to the section maybe once a week. All other info is generally passed back. Works for us.
cbrey: I thought gloriarex said it all very well. My only comment is this: it's often difficult for players in the back of the section to hear you. If you have a few seconds (if, for example, the conductor is busy haranguing the violins), it's not a bad idea to step back alongside the section so that everyone can hear clearly without raising your voice. Eye contact, clarity, and concision are appreciated, as opposed to directing a barked order over your shoulder, which doesn't make people feel very good. Otherwise, you can calmly explain what's needed to the second stand with a request that they pass it back. Be sure to follow up at your first opportunity to ask if everything was clear.
>> How do you warm up before playing?
Etsisk: The carpal tunnel thread, combined with my own physical screw-uppedness, makes me nervous about being properly warmed up before practicing for two or three hours. What do you folks do that leaves you warmed up and flexible for playing? I imagine I'm not the only beginner that wants to know!
PatWhite: For me, there are various degrees of warming up. For a serious performance, I might need 45 minutes to warm up properly. For an average practice session I might spend 15 to 20 minutes warming up. Warming up consists of playing slowly, underplaying in terms of volume and intensity. I do scales with no vibrato, Sevcik shifting studies in slow motion, long tones, and open strings. Then I graduate to vibrato and increase in tempo and intensity.
nancello: I find that if I do it in segments, smaller to start -- some scales or an easier piece ... 15-20 minutes or so, have a short break (I go off and make coffee) -- I feel ready to launch into something more full-on when I return. I don't like to go for more than an hour at a time though, I break it into a morning and evening (which the family so looks forward to!) session.
If I go for too long in one session my fingers start to complain! For improving my finger strength I also like to squeeze one of those "spongy" gel-type balls (about the size of a tennis ball -- sorry I don't know the proper name for them).
Daniel Ortbals: I do a series of stretches and warm-ups before sitting down with the cello. Then I start with open strings, followed by shifting up and down by octaves. i.e., I start with a Bb on the A string, shift up to the next Bb, and shift back down. Move up to B, do the same thing, etc. Next I do the same thing but shift up and do a little 3-2-1-Q-1-2-3 noodle at the top.
I continue with this kind of thing, with some other double-stop exercises with 3rds, 6ths, and 4ths. All in all it takes about 30 minutes if I do it right, sometimes longer.
I think the really important thing is that, whatever you do to warm up, you start out slow. When you just dive in and try to play with all you've got, it pretty much ruins the rest of the day for you. At least for me, my hands just won't work the rest of the day after that unless I start all over and do the warm-ups like I should have in the first place.
David Sanders: I've been fortunate all my life that I've never needed to warm up before playing. My teacher Garbousova use to say that the Russian way of warming up was to start with the concerto.
cellochris: I showed up late for a concert, in fact, this season and didn't warm up that night as I usually do before we seated and started tuning and doing run-throughs. That run-through was the absolute worst playing I'd ever done in public. I couldn't get anything in tune, I couldn't get comfortable, I was tense all over, and my vibrato probably looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie to the audience. And even my bow was bouncing all over the place like I just started playing yesterday! I sat on the outside of the section (nearest the audience) and as the stage lights beamed down and the house lights dimmed, I had that sick anxiety feeling that you get before you step down a slippery slope into something you'd reeeally rather avoid! On top of that, after that concert I was sore.
So, I basically learned that lesson the hard way; always warm up before playing! Being late and having to carry heavy stuff a long way from my car to the backstage meant that I needed to warm up even more than ever. All that carrying and frustration about being late caused even more tension and the need for stretching.
zambocello: Like David Sanders, I've never had to be too concerned with warming up. I'm apparently fairly hard to hurt, either in cello playing or in other physical sports. When I hurt, it's usually from sheer overdoing it, not lack of warm up.
Benjamin Myers: 1) Exercise: Chinese Internal Martial Arts (1 hr., every other day)
2) Warm-up: Whole-body stretching, and breathing exercises (20 min., every day)
3) Technique building/maintaining: arpeggios, 3rds, 6ths, 8ves, 10ths, 4-oct. scales, scales within thumb position (1 hour, every day)
Daniel Ortbals: I'm naturally a tense person, so if I don't stretch out and warm up, my hands will never relax. It's hard enough for me to relax while I play, so it makes it even more difficult if I'm tense before I even begin. You're lucky that you don't need to worry about it.
1. Harry Gorodetzer Dies
Harry Gorodetzer, the last player to be hired by Leopold Stokowski for the Philadelphia Orchestra, has passed away. He was auditioned by Stokowski in 1936, while still a student at Curtis. He remained in the orchestra for nearly 50 years, retiring in 1980.
2. Emmanuelle Bertrand honored
French cellist Emmanuelle Bertrand's recording of Alkan's Sonata de Concert won the instrumental/solo category at the Cannes Classical Awards 2003.
3. Rostropovich Honored
Mstislav Rostropovich's career was honored by the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammy Awards. He was given the President's Merit Award at a special luncheon in recognition of his four Grammy wins and 23 nominations.
4. Eleonore Schoenfeld joins Encore
The Encore School for Strings has appointed Eleonore Schoenfeld to its cello faculty. Schoenfeld is professor of cello at the University of Southern California and Director of the Piatigorsky Seminar.
5. "The Popper Manifesto"
The following is a message from Dennis Parker:
Cellists Take Note!
This is to announce the long-anticipated arrival of the first complete recorded version of David Popper's "High School of Cello Playing" (40 Etudes Op. 73), accompanied by The Popper Manifesto, A Do-It Yourself Guide. The DVD recording and instructional manual are performed and written by Louisiana State University Professor of Cello, Dennis Parker. The work is dedicated to Parker's teachers: Channing Robbins, Janos Starker, and Aldo Parisot. The text is whimsically illustrated by Parker's 10 year old son.
The Popper Manifesto discusses the diverse techniques cellists encounter in Popper's beloved one hundred year old volume, and includes countless suggestions that aim to improve the quality and focus of practice time. Offering an entire philosophy of cello playing, the DVD and manual together offer a virtual master class of every study. The package sells for $75.00 (US) plus $5 for shipping and handling.
To place an order, send a check or money order to:
Dennis Parker/Popper Manifesto
P.O. Box 16047
Baton Rouge, LA 70893
For more information, contact Dennis Parker at email@example.com,
Online orders: http://www.poppermanifesto.com or http://www.cellos2go.com.
6. Award Winners
Ryan Murphy won second place in the seniors division of the Sphinx Competition.
7. More Cello News
A cello news link has been engineered using Google.com's features. Be sure to bookmark it.
American Cello Congress
The next American Cello Congress is scheduled for May 16-20, 2003, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
Adam International Cello Festival and Competition
The festival was set up in 1995 by Professor Alexander Ivashkin and is run by the International Cello Festival Trust, a charitable trust here in Christchurch. The Festival is biennially held in Christchurch New Zealand. It attracts the world's best young cellists to compete in a competition, judged by world renown cellists who also appear as guest recitalists. The next festival is July 2003. http://www.adaminternationalcellofest.com.
The 6th Cello Festival in Kronberg, Germany will be a memorial to Pablo Casals, starting on the 30th anniversary of his death. The dates are October 22-26, 2003. http://www.kronbergacademy.de .
Manchester International Cello Festival
The Royal Northern Conservatory of Music Internation Cello Festival in Manchester, England, has been set for May 5 to May 9, 2004.
Cello Festival Dordrecht
Cello Festival Dordrecht (Netherlands) May 24-27, 2003. http://www.cellofestival.dordt.nl.
World Cello Congress IV
Plan ahead! World Cello Congress IV will take place May/June 2006 at Towson University, Baltimore, Maryland. Cello Congress V is also listed on their website - May/June 2010! (There are also rumors that World Cello Congress IV will take place in 2003 in Israel. If anyone knows, could they contact me?) Also promised is a "Gala Benefit Performance" in 2003 to raise funds for WCC4. "Many of the greatest stars of the music world will join forces to present a one-of-a-kind event not to be missed." Concerts, recitals, masterclasses, workshops, symposia, exhibits, receptions. http://www.towson.edu/worldmusiccongresses.
For those who attended World Cello Congress III, videos are now available at $30 (includes shipping): http://www.towson.edu/worldmusiccongresses/video.html.
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