No cello lesson this week. Sadface.

My lessons have moved to Wednesdays!  But Luna is sick, and my house smells like beer thanks to a minor kitchen accident.  So no lesson this week.  I thought I’d write about my playing, though.

I have found two new uses for my iPhone’s tuner app.  The way the app works is that it shows what note is being played, so you can tell if your instrument is in tune.  But I have two better things to do with it.

  1. Humming songs I want to learn, to see what the notes are (roughly).  I hummed the bass line for The Cure’s “Lullaby” while watching the app, and between that and my ability to play by ear, I was able to pick it up very quickly.  (Note that this will only work for songs I know well enough to hum in tune, and where the notes are within my vocal range.  Ooooh, that means I can do The Smiths and REM.  Yessss.  I will play ALLLLLL the 80’s alternative!  Woo!)
  2. Making sure I’m hitting the right notes while doing etudes.  As I mentioned last week, I’m learning second position.  We’re starting on just the A string, since it’s the outside string.  It is so, so much easier to learn how far to move my hand when I can see the pitch on the screen to make sure I’m hitting it right.  In the beginning I looked at the screen while moving my hand.  Now I look at it after, while I’m playing the note, to see if I hit it right.  It’s helping tons.  It’s also helping improve my first position fingering, too; I’m getting more accurate, as I sometimes wind up a quarter-tone off in my hand position, and that’s when I’m just playing first position only.  Luna just took my thumb marker off last week, so I need the help in remembering precisely where my thumb goes for first as well as second.

Isn’t technology useful?

The Mozart is going… meh.  (It’s piece number 2.2 of Suzuki.)  I can play it if I go slow, which is an improvement over not being able to play it at all, but it’s a energetic little piece so I need to pick up my speed.  If I’d had my lesson today, Luna would have just told me to keep working on it for next week, so I’m doing this week what I would be doing even if she’d come today.

I just had a thought.  A really good thought.  Some years back, Peter Murphy did a two-disc live album called aLive Just For Love.  The show was stripped-down versions of his works, which are frequently badly arranged (IMO) — the only instruments were a violin (played by Hugh Marsh, whom I know from Loreena McKennitt albums, among others) and a guitar (played by Peter DiStefano, who was in Porno For Pyros).  The album is absolutely beautiful.  And I’m pretty sure I could learn the violin parts on my cello.  Because “Cuts You Up” neeeeeeeds a real cello, not the synthesized one on the studio album.  Yesssss.  I have a new project!  And this one I actually want to play along with the recordings, because the arrangement is so minimalist that I can clearly hear what I should be playing.  AWESOME.

I wonder if I can write a cello duet arrangement of “Cuts You Up.”  I bet I can.  Luna will have to play the melody, though.  I think.  Hmmm.

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