Left thumb out

Can’t believe it’s already been a week since my last lesson. As usual it feels like I haven’t practiced enough to show my face at this week’s gig. However, with the car taking an unexpected detour to the shop and some much “outside” time this weekend out in a belatedly summerish sunny Seattle, I’m not even going to bother to feel guilty.

It is what it is.

Two things this week:
1. Memorizing is a challenge for me (how’s that for a positive spin?)
2. My left thumb is doing way more ‘work’ than it should be.

First, each week I seem to have one assignment that always seems to be more challenging than the others. Memorizing pieces is almost always at the top of that list. It’s so tough that it’s often suggested during lesson that I “keep memorizing” something that if you had asked me 24 hours earlier I thought was firmly planted in my head.

Somehow, sitting in that chair makes the memorized notes slide right off my frontal lobe. I’ve tried breaking music down into smaller chunks and repetition of certain tricky sections (and by tricky, please remember that I’m talking Suzuki 1 here) but to no avail. The notes refuse to stick.

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure why memorizing pieces is so damn hard for me. My brief stint as an actor and TV personality involved MEMORIZING LINES. Yet somehow getting down four lines of “Little Children” busts my grey matter in half. Granted on a play you have the other peeps in the scene to work with (my line/your line, repeat) and I was writing my own stuff on the telly. But memorizing music is, for some reason, more difficult than anything else about playing. That is, aside from holding the bow, counting myself in, staying on pace, scales and left hand…

Speaking of my left hand that brings me to number two. Tonight in a horrible potato cutting accident I almost sliced off my left thumb. Ok, not actually, but you would have thought so from TBF’s reaction when I gasped, putting the knife down and pinching my left thumb with my right hand. Now I know why god gave us fingernails: to slow the knife down on its way into the finger. I lost a little blood and a chunk of fingernail, wrapped that sucker in a band-aid and went right back to making dinner.

While TBF handled the post dinner kitchen (bless his soul. I do know how to leave a kitchen in shambles) I sat down to do a last minute “make notes stick to brain” session beginning with scales warm up. Ouch. Anything more than the lightest pressure on the cello neck with my left thumb sorta feels like it;s getting hit with a hammer. Little did I know that I have been putting a lot of pressure on the cello neck with my left thumb because tonight’s practice was all about fingering WITHOUT the assistance of my overeager left thumb.

Kind of reminds me of that chinese proverb that can be summed up with the line “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

Sure cutting my thumb was not the highlight of my night, but catching myself in the act of building a bad cello habit relatively early is priceless, right?


About Eddie

Watch what happens when you give a writer a cello.
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