Author: Emily Wright

authentic

Like a lot of driven people, I suffer from bouts of anxiety. Not when I’m performing or teaching….those things are actually like a strange tonic that singularly calms my nerves. No, it’s when I have allegedly “free” time that I can reflect upon the mountain of loose ends, imperfect social interactions, and the dreaded Things That Are Out Of My Control. It’s funny: I never suffered from anything more than a case of the teenage blues for a few months in high school. Then, just after college, I began having trouble sleeping. For a while, I thought I was just motivated or ambitious. I had all of these thoughts racing through my head and a seemingly endless list of things I could do to make my life better. After the 6th month of rough sleep and the “ambition” following me through the sunrise into my daytime life, I realized that this was not a benign occurance. In a conversation I had this week, I came to realize what changed that summer after school ended. Somehow, I had stopped listening to myself and began looking to other people to guide me. After college, you’re supposed to be more competent at living, yet that’s when the people close to you really let the doubts and negativity fly. Counseled by various people that I “didn’t want to make the errors of youthful...

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Idyllwild Arts

On Friday, I drove up Mt. San Jacinto to the lovely mountain town of Idyllwild, where I went for pretty much all of the formative summers of my life to what was then called ISOMATA. (Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts) I visited with Steve Fraider, the head of the summer program, and Bill Lowman, president of Idyllwild Arts, and it was so good to see that a new generation of arts students is benefiting from the same people who took such good care of me when I was there. After lunch, I got to watch Rick Giangiulio conduct an orchestra rehearsal at old Bowman auditorium, where I was introduced to some of the major orchestral repertoire at an early age. Off the top of my head, I can remember playing: Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, Sibelius 2nd, Mahler 1, Mahler 2, Pictures at an Exhibition and Lt. Kije Suite. All before going to college. This, and programs like it, give students such a fabulous introduction to the realities of orchestral playing and interpersonal dynamics. I grew up in Riverside, and though I had a terrific teacher in Cathy Graff, the music scene for the serious student was pretty sparse. She insisted that I take part in the ISOMATA summer program, and I can safely say that it is because I did so that I am a professional musician...

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an army of cellists

I had a session today for a film whose composer had the genius concept to score the whole movie…..with cellos and basses. 28 cellos! It was nice to hear the sound, of course, but it was also a great hang with some of the top players in LA that I am lucky enough to know. My thumb aches from the false harmonics, but it’s a small price to pay for a whole day in Cello Geek...

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Podcast alert!

My podcast is available on my site and cellobloggers. The purpose of this podcast is to give an intermediate student some tools to add to their normal menu of scales and etudes that can bridge the gap to advanced playing and also prime you for what more difficult repertoire will expect technically. I never record more than 1 or 2 takes. The aim here is not to showcase my talents, but to demonstrate the...

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tennis, anyone?

Do anything enough times and you’re bound to flirt with injury. Do something like play the cello, and your back is sure to remind you now and again that you are actually responsible for taking care of your body, not just master Popper #17. So I’ve been doing crazy chops practice this summer, am midway through a move, and have had a whole lotta stress from just about every other sector of my life to boot. My back is a wreck, and it reached a crisis point Sunday night. I called a massage therapist who listed Sunday nights as an availibility, and though she was not able to come and work out the kinks, she passed on this amazing nugget to me: Lie on a tennis ball. That’s right. Set yourself up on the floor (I used my yoga mat so my head wouldn’t bonk) and then put the ball where it hurts. Gradually put your weight onto the ball, and eventually, relax, supine, on the floor. Though it didn’t solve 100% of my issue, it made substantive improvement in the tension and pain I had....

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