PART TWO, THOUGHTS ON TECHNIQUE AND INTERPRETATION
Musical life attains its height in the great talents and in the few rare geniuses, but is sustained by the less talented, "the middle class and the masses." Therefore it is necessary to change the way of playing of the masses. As a sign of poor teaching and of difficulties common to all, most of the mistakes, those that are most fundamental, are committed in smaller or larger proportion by all players.
There is the instrumentalist who, when he sees dots over notes, forgets the music and its contents and concerns himself solely with playing the notes short. Yet there are dozens of different ways of interpreting such [a] symbol, and the performer must discern from the character of the piece which method the composer may have preferred.
There can be differences of opinion about how to interpret a dot, not however about the fact that a symbol can be presented in different ways, and one must be chosen. In contrast, there are those who do not even see the symbols.
Bad: the absolute lack of rhythmical sensitivity to the rests within a phrase, i.e., short pauses. As if the length of the note received more of the player's attention thdn the rest.
Very bad: reading of music.....
Commitment to only one method: according to one principle, the fingers of the right hand must always be held in a certain position, let us say rounded at the frog. According to another principle, the fingers are held parallel to one another. They cannot always be held so, since forte and piano demand different things of the bow hand and will require different adjustments. Some methods go so far as to urge pupils to draw out the peg to a fixed length. The drawbacks of this are the following: 1) the height of the cello has to be adapted to each player individually because there hardly exist two exactly equal human bodies, and the position of the cello has to fit in the player, not vice versa, and 2) one can remain independent of the peg's height by drawing the cello in or pulling it out.
In any physical activity, an individual's achievement is heightened the more his muscles are used to advantage and the more comfortable he feels. This generally acknowledged theory has not yet made its way into cello lessons. As calmly and well balanced as a cellist may sit with his cello, the moment he starts to play, a change takes place in his body; suddenly his head sits lopsided on his shoulders, one shoulder is pulled up, the elbow is stretched out in a pointed angle, and the wrist of his right hand becomes stiff, like a board, or his hand dangles about as if it were drunk and the left hand assumes a position that causes one to ask how it is possible even to strike a note, to vibrate, to move from one position to the next.