I've been missing blog posts recently. The short stint between getting to the bus stop on time to catch the next bus means I'll have to rely on an already terrible memory to jot things down on the phone whilst looking up from the screen to flag the bus. Multitasking is not one of my virtues. Then again, neither is blogging! But it's worth a try :}
Intonation has been my personal bugbear since day one. The extra long finger on the left hand is very fickle, attracting other finger joints with it.
Even at first position, I'm having difficulties keeping a consistent tone per each playthrough. Of course there is also the bit about engaging the brain whilst playing.
Most of the time, I'm playing to relax. This means autopilot mode that depends entirely on muscle memory. It's only after maybe half an hour of relaxed playing around that I'm able to fully engage a more alert mode, thanks to all that warming up. Deryn does acknowledge this 'bad habit' of non-brain engagement. I know because she's always telling me to make careful consideration of the note I'm playing by using open strings or harmonics as guide.
There's also the consistent pop quizzes of positions and note names under the finger :}
Today we did some Exercise in Shakes (Trills) from Feuillard's Daily Exercises, in all the positions listed. This is the first exercise found in the book and remains to be a really good exercise to establish finger dextirity and a solid hand shape for each position. A great way to encourage a good hand shape for efficient finger movement is to visualise the note and interval before playing. However, due to playing notes chromatically and repetitively, this can result in hand strain so take it slow and be selective when playing these exercises until comfort and confidence is established.
Feuillard exercises also indicate different positions to help recognise fingering and notes per positions and shifts, ie. 1st position, second finger is always on C on the A string, so pay attention to these helpful visual aid.
Later, we played the first few bars of the Allegro Molto movement from Beethoven's Cello Sonata.
- Know which section of the bow (and how much of the bow) you're using when playing the note of the phrase.
- It should always be the same part of the bow, every time.
Deryn says that this may seem a bit overzealous for such a poxy length of the whole piece but you want technique you can depend on