Arrived home today to find a big brown box from Amazon and could barely contain the happy dance. My roommate’s dog, Stella, didn’t mind my bouncing around as she lives in a perpetual state of happy dance and had already commenced the jig when I walked in the door. We happy danced a bit together for a minute then I had to get down to business. The arrival of a box could mean only one thing (and no, not that H was on her way back from London – THAT is heralded by a Zappos box. We are a tribe of mail orderers)
I digress. To my point: this corrugated container of goodness held Suzuki Book Vol. 1 and the accompanying CD. Woot-Woot. After three lessons without it and Kaia graciously offering to loan me her spare book twice, I finally got my shit together and, in an attempt to make the most of that goofy Amazon Prime thing I inadvertantly subscribed to for the next year, ordered the required class materials.
What a difference! I spent this evening doing all the basic exercises – from string changes to bowing technique. I also set myself up in front of a mirror, as Kaia suggested, so that I could keep an eye on my own posture and left hand technique. Sweet! Also, I can now find the note by watching my fingers in the mirror instead of crooking my neck to watch my actual left hand. Nifty!
With the mirror and the basic exercised practice went much slower tonight. Lots of stopping, making corrections and starting up again. After a half hour I felt a little sore (tips of left fingers) and tired (right shoulder is doing a lot of work right now) I could also feel myself getting a little frustrated at having to having to pause repeatedly to fix something. On a lark, I tried out TTLS.
The result sounded pretty amazing. I made it through the entire song for the first time without missing any notes due to error in my left hand. Actually, my left hand felt much more capable and, with me keeping an eye on it in the mirror, accurate. Lightbulb! In a half hour of basic drills and self posture correction I improved more than I did in a week of just playing TTLS over and over.
Thus recharged, I gave myself a 15 minute break and went back in for another half hour. Very pleased with progress.
My impression of the Suzuki book:
Although initially it appears to be very basic and without a lot of supplementary information the exercises and songs progress in a logical order that build and further develop specific skills. It’s definitely not a stand alone book though, this book and method requires having a teacher to guide the learning. This is not a do-it-yourself-cello-playing manual by any stretch of the means.
The CD provides to versions of the songs in V1&2 . The first version is the song played by cello with piano. The second version is sort of a cello karaoke, featuring only the backup piano accompaniment, so the student can provide the cello. At the moment, I’m finding it helpful just to listen to the songs I’m learning now, as well as play along with the cello and piano. It’s helpful to have the song modeled for me and I suspect that will be more important when we move into songs I don’t already know (cause who could forget how TTLS goes?)