Update from the hometown

I don’t really want to talk about why I’m in my hometown, really.  I’m having marital troubles and will be staying with my mom for a while.  Let’s leave it at that.  What I want to write about here is the things I’ve been doing while in my hometown.

The first thing I did was reconnect with an old friend from my days hanging around some other friends’ yarn shop (which closed a few years back, sadly; it was an awesome store).  She and I went for papaya smoothies last week (because who needs coffee when you can have smoothies at your favorite pan-Latin restaurant?) and then I had dinner Sunday at her house with her and her spouse.  Both outings were absolutely lovely.  She’s awesome, and so is her spouse (who I don’t know as well but would like to fix this).  She’s also a good cook!

Speaking of food, I am eating my way through town, practically. Lebanese, the pan-Latin place, vegetarian sandwich bistro…  Hometown is full of cool little indie restaurants.  If I had the money I would eat at them all!  Also, there is a Trader Joe’s here.  The freezer is now full of frozen dinners like lamb vindaloo and cheese/green chili tamales.  YUM.

Also, I am reading many many books.  Simply because I can.

And saving the best for last: I found a cello teacher who doesn’t require a long-term commitment for lessons, since I don’t know how long I’ll be here.  I had my first lesson with her this afternoon, and it was fantastic.  The time went by far too quickly, but she sent me home with a list of exercises to do and I’m going to have a blast doing them.  I posted on Facebook that I learned to attack a G string, because I am twelve and it made me giggle.  (My mother, being a tart, replied that she’s known how to do that for years.  Heh.)  Teacher’s cello is from the 1700’s.  The tone was beautiful.  And I am happy to report that the tone on my instrument isn’t half bad.  Not 1700’s quality, but I’m pleased with it, and Teacher likes it. Leagues better than a cheap plywood model!

Lots of rambling about my cello lesson follows, behind a cut for people who don’t care.

Oh, and Teacher says I have a good ear for pitch.  I didn’t have any trouble hearing where I sounded different from what note she was playing.  Tuning was fairly easy, as when I got the right note it felt like our cellos were vibrating in unison.  I told her about the drone app I’d downloaded for my iPhone and she thought that was a really good idea.  We played around with the idea of that a little bit, as in, she’d tell me what fingering to do and I’d alter my fingering as she played the right pitch in long bow lengths.  It made it a lot easier for me to tell what I was doing wrong because the resonance wasn’t happening.  I wonder if it will feel like resonance when I play against the drone, or if it only happens with another cello?  Hm.  I’ll try that in a little while.  Anyway, she says that correctly hearing pitch will help me learn more easily, and it’ll make teaching me easier for her as well.  It also helps that I know the fingering for the C Major scale already (thank you, music theory book and iPad apps) so I can practice that too instead of it having to be a whole other lesson.

Notes to self about the lesson, before I forget:


  • Endpin tip out roughly just beyond my feet
  • Cello leaning back about 45 degrees (Not actually specified but that’s about how it feels), body resting mid-chest
  • The lower point of the body’s curve should rest against the inside of my left knee
  • Sit up straight to prevent back pain, but keep shoulders down
  • Bowing arm:
    • Rounded bowing thumb on the frog, tilt bow towards self (top towards self; hair angled slightly)
    • Elbow up! Wrist straight!
    • G string attack: push down somewhat hard and then drag the bow more softly once the vibration gets going; higher strings are progressively easier to vibrate
    • Bow straight across and about 2″ down from end of fingerboard
  • Fingering arm:
    • Elbow up and wrist straight on this one too
    • Fingers rounded and aimed down a bit (for vibrato reasons)
    • Very little thumb pressure; pull string towards self instead of just mashing down/squeezing
    • First finger position is roughly three of my fingertip-widths apart

I think that’s everything I need to remember about what my hands are supposed to do, at least for now…


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