Cello lesson: removing tapes, and co-composing

I have to buy Suzuki book #2, because there are only two pieces left in Book #1.  I didn’t even notice until Luna told me yesterday that I need to get it.  Woo!  (There are more pages after the final piece, which is why I didn’t notice.  Turns out they’re workbook type pages and not actual music.)

We started with more 1.15 “The Happy Farmer”.  There’s a particular way of bowing it calls for, and I hadn’t been getting it right.  (I had the rhythm down, just not the bowing style.)  Luna told me that it should feel like a small bounce of the bow on the eighth notes.  We went over it a bunch of times and I got better at it.  Still need to practice more.

Then it was back to 1.13 “Rigadoon” — vibrato practice.  I did it terribly the first time but smoothed out when repeating it.  I still suck at the vibrato, but I just need to keep practicing.

And then Luna said she thought I was ready to remove the tapes on my fingerboard (which were at 1st and 4th finger positions).  I agreed to remove the 4th but didn’t think I was ready for the 1st yet.  So I took off the 4th… and proceeded to be far better at using my 4th finger than I ever have been, because I was consciously making sure I was stretching my pinky enough instead of looking at the fingerboard.  Awesome!  I think I’m going to remove the 1st tape this week.  I can always put a new one on if I need to, after all, but the idea of being without visual cues is kind of exciting. (I’ve been without a thumb position marker for like 3 months now.  So I’m missing that indicator too and haven’t needed a new one.)

After all that, we got to the composition I’ve been writing.  It is so, so much easier to play a duet with an actual second musician and not just a recording.  Go figure.  There are like 4 notes I want to change.  (Well, I still want to scrap the whole thing, but whatever.  Maybe I’ll just build on it and make it into something cooler.)  I had a thought, as we were playing: I have that drone app on my iPhone (iTabla Lite), and I can use that when trying to find a good harmony note.  Set the drone, then try out melody notes that fit over it.  Yay technology.

Oh!  Speaking of technology, Luna told me about Noteflight, which is online composition software.  She swears by it.  I intend to try the demo today.

Once we’d been through my piece, she thought we should try composing something together, just so I could see what it felt like to work with a partner.  We did a melody and bass line, just four measures in 4/4 time, just to give me a taste of it.  And that was fun.  I think I prefer composing alone, though.  I’ll keep working at it and then get Luna to play with me at the end of our lessons.

There’s no lesson next week, as Luna’s going on vacation, so I have two weeks to a) improve my technique, and b) compose something more interesting.  Let’s hope I can manage both by the time I see her again!

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