Places to go; Things to see

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Week in Review - not the best week. *from Lost in Cello blog*

What a week. I am totally exhausted and yet I fell as if I have accomplished nothing.

After the move I had to go back to work and do early starts for a week – that is tiring to begin with – but at least I had the afternoons to relax; do some unpacking/

Then last week-end (and I think this is the biggest reason behind my exhaustion) I had my work Christmas party on Saturday night so I went to see New Moon before hand. I was supposed to go with a girl from work; but she had car problems and couldn’t make it.

I loved the movie; I can’t help the fact that I am a Twilight fan.

Then I went to the party and drank a lot and had a great time with the people from work. Unfortunately; when I drink; I can never sleep in the next day; so Sunday I was up early and kept busy all day as well.

After I saw the movie I just had to read all the books again; so now; one week later I have finished reading the all four books. I could not say how many times I have actually read all these books. I am a sucker (excuse the pun) for vampire books; throw in a romantic plot and I gone for good.

And just having typed this; I have realised why I am exhausted. I need to stop reading so much and get some decent sleep.

Musically Speaking - The last week in review:

Good news is; I have kept up my cello practise through all this. At least half an hour on most days; that doesn’t really sound like a lot considering some of the blogs I have read. But it does me well for the time being.

The only real problem I am facing these days is the memorising the music. This is the bane of my musical existence. I don’t get how people can learn whole concertos off by heart. The thing that bugs me is that I can remember the lyric to songs with out a problem, and I can easily remember the melody for those lyric, but put a sheet of music in front of me and my mind goes every which way.

I keep thinking it will get easier; but it doesn't. One week I'll have a relatively short piece and I get through it okay, I write it out and play it over and over and it finally sticks. Then I get a piece that although is a lot easier; is a bit longer and all of a sudden; no matter how many times I play it; no matter how many times I write it out - NOTHING.

I have tried breaking it up into smaller sections. That works for the sections; however as soon as I try to put it back together away - gone, nothing sticks.

But what can I say - next week it will probably fall into place and I'll be all 'memorising is not a problem'

I think consistency is something to strive for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Move is Over *from Lost in Cello blog*

Well, thank god that is over with. Thursday went on for ever, and then we had to spend Friday and Saturday finishing off the little things in the move.

It seemed like we were moving things for ever.

Now the new house just needs to be unpacked and everything needs to find a new place. This will be the hard part; I didn’t realise how just junk we had and now we have to hind a hidey whole for it all.

There are still boxes every where, but at least we are starting to make a dent in it all. The lounge room and kitchen are mostly finished; M's sewing room is mostly done. It just the extra stuff that we keep coming across that needs to have room found for it. Now we are getting started on the bedroom's being set up properly - not just the bed's set up and everything piled around them - and the garage put in some order.

But enough about the bad things in my life; Cello lesson was yesterday; small improvements each week. That is all I can hope for and so far it seems to be happening.

B got me started on a one finger B major scale on the A string, different and quite fun. I think it will take a bit of practice before I feel confident with it; but I will give it all I’ve got. B says it is just another exercise to prepare me for other positions on the neck. On the same line as that he also has me doing what he calls ‘sirens’ were all fingers and the thumb are on the neck and just get moved up and down the neck of the cello. Doesn’t matter what the sound is like when I bow, just as long as the hand is moving up and down; the thumb is kept square to the other fingers and I keep bowing. I seem to have a bit of a problem freely moving my left hand up and down the neck and so this should really help with that as well.

Besides that I need to continue with my method and studies and start learning the harmonic and melodic minor scale for C, G, D, and A. Just have to remember which notes are raised and which ones are lowered in the different scales.

I guess the time has come for this cellist to get back to work. The has been the worst thing so far with the move; the fact that I could only get the Thursday and Friday off work; while M has had all of last week and has the next three weeks off as well. She gets to do little bits at a time and then has a rest while I have been going off to work this week. Some people have all the luck.

Until later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Move *from Lost in Cello blog*

Tomorrow is M day and I am already exhausted; the house is a mess and nothing looks like it will be finished in time and I am about to start work.

The cat and dog are on their way to the Pet Resort (kennels) for a week so that we don’t have to worry about them just yet – good thing is they have fun there and enjoy all the personal time they get with the staff there.

I also had my cello lesson last night and that went well. The new practice plan seemed to hold up pretty well. Still need to keep working on all the pieces and then some. From next week I will be starting to only have fortnightly lessons; but they will go for an hour and a half. We will see how they go, I sure it will be trial and error to begin with.

I suppose I had best get going. First work and then the house. Let's hope I make it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Practice Update *from Lost in Cello blog*

I think the planning worked well.

I know I have only used it twice but I got through a lot in the first practice session I had using it. Looking back it seems really stupid that I haven’t done this earlier. I normally do follow a plan; but it has always been just in my head and so it easy to get distracted from what I should be doing.

Yesterday morning I followed the below schedule for practice:

C major - 3 octaves (using only first two fingers when moving down neck for the third octave)
The Young Violoncellist's Method
#15 - Exaudet Study
#16 - 1/2 position (include variations 1 & 2)
Studenwerke (German Study)#7 - Lee Study - include practicing with pizz to help the left hand get what it should be doing.
Technic of the Cello Vol 1
#1 - Romberg Study - only first half.
Nice and slowly to begin with and try memorising.
Suzuki Cello Book 1
Twinkle Variations
Cello Time Joggers#36 - 39 with CD to assist with tempo

I went through each piece twice and the only thing I didn’t do was the Cello Time Joggers. It only took half an hour and I got a good feel for what I was supposed to be doing. The main thing I was working on was to get the intonation right on all pieces.

This was the first time for the Technic #1 study. So I just played straight through on that one. I have to wonder how I’ll go memorising that one as there are so many parts of it that are similar to past studies – not to mention it is so long. I don’t know how my brain works sometimes. Some pieces I have been given to memorise I have no trouble with; while others I just never get no matter what I do.

And I did the same again this morning, but I also included the Time Joggers. This time it went even better that yesterday. Was able to spend a bit more time on making sure the intonation was continually correct - this is something that I always have to watch. I can start out pitch perfect and if I'm not careful; can end up at the end totally out of tune.
Let hope I am able to keep up the good work and not go insane from all the packing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lost in the Move *from Lost in Cello blog*

 I had a lesson last night and I was so not ready for it. I had a lot of trouble getting motivated to practice this week. I pretty sure it is just due to that fact that I am preparing to move while still working full-time.

I HATE moving – thankfully I can honestly say that this should be the last time for a long long time as I am buying a house. Yeah!!!!

Finally getting out of the renting rut. I am buying the house with my mum, but we get on great and there is room for both of us to have our own space – even room to add a granny flat in the back yard if needed. The photo is of the land before the house was started.


But back to my lesson; I did go a lot better than I though I would. B said he could clearly see improvement. The third octave of the C major scale keeps getting better; so he says.
This mainly means that the bad vibes I'm getting before my lessons is just me being pessimistic and not having enough faith in myself.

I am going to try some better structure in my practice sessions this week to see how that helps me.
Just a little planning to guide what I spend my practice time on (especially this week as I have so much to do!)
We'll see how it goes!?!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Practice Session *from Lost in Cello blog*

On Saturday I went to J’s place for a practice session. She is about to go for you preliminary Violin exams and needs to perform her pieces to an audience. She is getting there; I think she was still really nervous about playing in front of people; because she kept telling me that she still had a month to go. Once she relaxes though she plays quite well. She just has to relax – but then I know how tense you can be when you play for someone else. I’m the same; even at my lessons. As soon as B gets me to play something from memory; I get all tense and that is generally when I stuff something up that I had down pat before the lesson.

We started the session with the two of us playing an easy version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D (arranged by Ian Cantor ). The whole thing is very easy; very good for beginners; more so for the cello – as the first four bars are repeated throughout the whole piece – but J says it is quite easy for the violin as well. The best thing about it; is that it actually sounds like Canon in D. Not exact; but the feel of the music is still there.

I know that piece is played at just about every wedding, and most cellists get sick of it; but at the moment I still love it. It was one of the first pieces of music that I heard the cello in and has been one of the reasons I have wanted to play for so long.

We ended it with her violin pieces and then had chocolate cake to end the afternoon. I thought it was a pretty productive afternoon, and we both had fun – which is the main thing when learning an instrument.

I really enjoy playing with someone else. It makes me work so much harder so that I don't let them down. It is completely different to playing with B in my lessons. Which it should be, I know. I just need to arrange more sessions with J I think and maybe see if one of the ladies at work wants to get back into playing the violin, if so then she would be able to join us.

Something to think about and work on.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Lessons So Far *from Lost in Cello blog*

I had my 38th lesson this week.

My teacher (B) has me learning from "methode du jeaune violoncelleste - by L.R. Feuillard" (translation: the young violoncellist's method). B also has had me learning some etudes from this old German study and then for fun he also gives we stuff to work on from Cello Joggers; these are quite fun as they are just simple tunes for young students to work through. Even though they are designed for the young cellist; I still enjoy them as I get to play actual tunes quite easily and don't have to spend weeks trying to play them easily like I have to with the most of my other studies.

I have just started on 1/2 position. Up until this lesson we have worked mostly in first position; although I can do three octaves in the C major scale. B got me started on the third octave a while ago so that "I do not get scared by fourth position when we start it" his words.

I have also just got another study book, this one is the etudes by Feuillard to go with the method book. I love getting a new music book. It's all so new and I have the potential to actually learn how to play all the notes that are on each page.

No better feeling in the world.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Tattoo *from Lost in Cello blog*

It seems appropriate that I begin this blog on the day I got my cello tattoo. (Left wrist)

I started learning the cello at the beginning of this year; it is the one instrument I have always wanted to learn and never had the chance. I am now in my thirties and a friend of mine had just started learning the violin and just gave me the right nudge to follow my own dream.

All she said was "You should look into it" and within a week I had hired a cello and booked my first lesson. It was something I had wanted to do for so long and I had never had anyone encourage me before that with music. It was all I needed.

Since that fateful day back in early 2009; I have since bought my own cello (I call her Lily); and I have continue with my weekly lessons.

There are times that I feel as though I know what I'm doing, the music from Lily sounds just right and I know that I will get there in the near future. That there is no better sound in the world that my cello; and there are times when I think I am crazy. That I have no ear for music and I will never be able to play the cello with any level of skill.

I like the good times better and I am happy to say that the bad days don't come close to out weighing the good ones.