1. always memorize everything possible, it speeds up the learning process so much. To memorize something you don't just have to remember the notes, you have to remember the music. So, in a short amount of time, as part of the memorization process you end up doing harmonic analysis, motivic analysis, structural analysis...
2. always make your young students memorize everything: even more than speeding up their learning process, it'll help them when they turn 40 - that stuff is still somewhere in the old brain!
3. writing short little Lullabies (Lullaby Project) in the style of Bach has really helped my understanding of actual Bach. So maybe that should be a part of the instrumental training, writing little pieces in the style of whichever composer you're studying at the moment? Or at the very least, in the style of the biggies for solo cello rep: Bach, Kodaly, Britten? And probably Popper and Piatti...Definitely slower in the short term, but maybe faster in the long term? The ability to see the stylistic specifics of any composer is really handy, especially when playing new music. I feel like this should be taught as part of the comprehensive theory curriculum - but those idiosyncrasies are so instrument specific that it should probably be taught by the instrumental teacher rather than the theory prof who doesn't play your instrument...
Maybe people do it on their own and I'm just so dumb that I didn't realize? I guess better late than never.
I'm learning so many new things that my brain is on total overload - and, as usual, I feel like I have so many good idea floating around I have no way of remembering them or writing them down, and certainly no way to follow through on any of them.
I got schooled a bit by the good professors, in preparation for our concert of the Dohnanyi Piano Quintet this Sunday. Bad for the ego, great for the learning process and long term development. I was just reminded how it's really awesome to get direct feedback. And how you can either get unnerved by it or use it for your benefit. I'm choosing the latter.
There are also some really great reminders going on facebook. One of my favorites is a poster reminding to practice not until you get it right, but until you can't get it wrong. The only problem is, who's got time for that? I'm getting so wrapped up in practicing that I forget everything else. In theory this is very good for my soul and also for my playing, but not so good for the family, the students, the house or the job. It's kind of hard to work on the work/life balance when work is also a major part of the "life" to which that refers. Somebody let me know when you figure it out, please...
First chamber music experience with the Silvestre after having really mapped out the fingerboard...Dohnanyi Piano Quintet with the Michigan Chamber Players, couldn't be better! To be honest, it's a little overwhelming to have all the choices I didn't have before. I never had the choice of crossing strings whenever I want - to those who don't speak cello, what I mean is there are 4, sometimes 5 ways of fingering a note on a given string. Those were always available on the Hubicka, of course. For some notes, you can also play them on 3 or 4 different strings - and so the possibilities on fingering a passage are too many to count! The strings on the new cello are so well matched that I can cross strings whenever I want/need. I feel a little bit like a kid in a candy store - too many good choices and I can't commit, after all you only get to play a passage once!
The Popper challenge is good for me. The Popper challenge is good for me. The Popper challenge is good for me...
I've slowly and systematically played through 1-15 in the High School of Popper. I guess you could say I'm in the teens, which I find extremely difficult. I'm a little behind the schedule I set for myself, with which I'm totally fine. The only problem will occur on Monday when we go back to school and I won't have as much time again. But I will stick to it! I have to say: this is working. I'm learning a whole lot about Her Majesty the HC and myself. My thumb callus peeled five days ago, then I was playing on raw skin, then a blister formed and now, that has popped. If I remember correctly from the last time I had to form a thumb callus (24 years ago), I should be pain free in about two weeks, with a nice thick skin on the side of the thumb. Meanwhile, I have to keep playing on it! Show biz is so glamorous.
Music has such time and place association, I've been through High School and my main home teacher's lessons, and I've moved on to College, where I learned the majority of these. I think about my teachers all the time and what they siad about this and that. I'm identifying gaps in my technique and keeping careful track, and when I'm at the end of the book I will go back for seconds, maybe memorize a few and make a goal to get them performance ready. I love all the double stop ones - even No.13. I hate the chromatic triadic thumb ones. I love that some of the ones that I have never learned I can still get pretty easily - they actually look a lot harder than they are. I remember it being the other way around, and that is a good thing.
I need to do more research on what has been written about the Poppers, in terms of level and what each etude is good for, I don't think I know enough. I think that might be one of my summer projects - for now, I'll concwn
Katri Ervamaa, cellist