Well with NaNoWriMo fading in the rearview mirror I’m back to cello blog land. (Of course, now I have to edit the darn thing I just spent a month bleeding over, but that is another story for another blog)
A couple of fun things to report in November:
1. Kaia held another recital/master class before Thanksgiving. I spent much of the week before working up Andantino for my solo. I’m also very proud of myself for volunteering to go first after our group warmup. That’s so not me (I’m comfortable smack dab in the mediocre middle) but I did ok aside from a few flubs and it made me totally relaxed and able to appreciate all the other performances.
We also played Scarborough Fair as a group, which was so much fun I took the music home and have been working on it on my own for the last month. I love the melody and find myself singing along sometimes as I play. It was also a blast from my past: I used to have two bottle baby kittens we named “Parsley” and “Rosemary.” This was pre music days, and I remember somebody saying “like in that Simon and Garfunkel songs” and looking at them blankly. Duh. Well now I’m full circle and singing “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme…” as my fingers climb the notes.
2. Enter Vibrato. A couple of months ago, Kaia gave me an intro to vibrato. The actual technique scared me silly and I managed to divert her for a couple of months. She caught up with me a few weeks ago though, and now I am on strict Vibrato practice. In fact my goal is to sound like a “cello siren” and I’m hearing a lot of “waaahwaahwaah” coming out of Cecelia these days so I must be on track.
3. I’m also playing Rigadoon, which is so tantalizingly close to the end of Suzuki one I can taste it. However I keep tripping over the counting, which goes from 1and2and to 1e-and-a2e-and-a and makes me feel like I’m stumbling over my own feet. I’m forcing myself to count because I’m trying to really learn to read the music -not just listen to how it sounds and repeat it – but at the moment I’m just trying not to bang my head on the music stand too much.
It’s also getting to be the holidays which means that my cello time is being encroached upon by other things – three days at the Seattle Salsa Congress, a weeklong escape to a cabin in the San Juans and, of course, the start of ski/snowboard season. And coming up, I’ve got a wedding and two weeks at Whistler. I’m wishing now more than ever that I had a prakticello (It’s very high on my X-Mash list this year) because at least I could take my practice with me when I’m away from home.
Consistency is so important when learning to play any instrument, especially one as complex as the cello, and I always feel like I slide backwards when I miss more than a day of practice. It’s my own fault — being the writing, cello playing, salsa dancing, snowboarding freak that I am — and undoubtedly why I’m still trudging through Suzuki one after a year. But I need to have a balance between physical activity and the the more intellectual and creative pursuits to stay sane.
Also, the luxury of being an adult beginner is that I can set my own goals and am responsible only to myself when it comes to my progress. I’m not under pressure to get good fast – either academic or parental. And that’s not to say that I’m a slacker – I’ve always been good at putting myself under the thumb to get things done – but my life is full of a lot of different interests. I’m happiest when I’m juggling these pursuits and achieving a state that makes me feel balanced.
“All things in moderation” has been my motto for a long time, and this too is included!