Author: Emily Wright

progress

I have come to realize, and subsequently preach, that the only people who make progress are those who persist. That’s all. These are the bow grips of two of my students who are valiantly struggling with the subtleties of the bow grip, and I snapped these photos in a moment of “Wait, wait! That’s perfect!” I am so proud of these two that I had to post them. They are both adult beginners, and have trusted me with my policy of Technique First, Sound Second. Of course, a week into this new bow grip, their sound caught up with them, and is more radiant and polished than it ever was before. Just like mine was when Ron Leonard unceremoniously dumped my bow grip and gave me a new one…on our first lesson. It took me about 2 months to regain my sound, but he is directly responsible for my current approach, and my faith in technique uber alles. Who was responsible for his approach, you ask? Leonard Rose. Good enough for...

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extend-o-matic

When a student is first learning extensions, I teach it as a multi-step movement that goes something like this, if we’re doing 1, 2, 4: 1st finger goes down like nothing’s different. (a lot of people prepare, pre-prepare, go insane pronating or other left hand freak out) then, take 2nd, and stretch it to where 3rd would normally be, and as soon as you have that stretch, move 1 up into the new position. This is when you actually play the note…after all of that movement. 4th is as/is. This is a technique that is good for slow scales and passages, and it makes the very important distinction between a shift and a stretch, while also etching in the mind of the student the absolutes of the cello: no matter what finger you use, the notes stay in the same place. The next technique is one where we use 2 as a pivot, and maintain the “extended” shape of the hand. (so 1 never comes up next to 2) This is useful for faster passages like Brandenburgs and Mozart symphonies, and also for non-linear gestures where you might be moving between 1 and 4. If it’s 1, 2, 4, the technique goes like this: 1 goes down, and 2nd is relaxed, and stretches to hit extended 2, where it remains throughout, or until you have to return to 1....

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now hear this

My new podcast is up. It’s a short (7.30) workout for the Faure Elegie, and is typical of the way I have students work on a piece. check it...

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check it out again! (part 2 of 3)

Here are the next couple of outlined chapters. 11) D scale and intro to extensions (musical examples, 4 images, 2 pages)Extensions are the next pillar of good technique after the shift into 4th position. It’s easy to go awry when doing this technique, so the pictures are especially important. The ones I have included in the sample chapter are not final, but indicative of the detail I want to include. I may even want them larger, and the focus pulled out further to show the entire arm. 12) Avoiding injuries (2 pages, 3 images)As I said in my introduction, I was a lousy student. I was very resistant to changing my technique, and as a result nearly ended my career with the ensuing parade of injuries this caused. This chapter is all text, and it offers substantive information relating to my experience and that of my students. I end with what is a sort of mantra of mine: relaxed playing isn’t something that happens in addition to good technique. It is the essence of it. 13) F scale and more extensions (2 or 3 images, musical examples, 2 pages)More extensions, but this time, we take the technique down the neck instead of up it. I am trying to prime the students for things that they will likely see in the beginning months of study. After we play in G,...

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check it out! (part 1 of 3)

Have a look at the basic outline of my book. (or 1/3 of it, anyway!) This is just pasted from the proposal I send to OUP. Teachers and students! I call upon YOU to help me make this an undeniably useful and fabulous book. Of course I am not looking to poach innovative approaches, so if you are writing a method and do not want me to include your suggestions in my ruminations, please don’t comment! xxoo, emily 1) Body Concept and Positioning (10 images, 2 or 3 pages) The first few chapters are congruent to the typical first few lessons I give. In fact, much of the genesis of this book was because I realized that the first 50 pages of my students’ notebooks had the same exercises and technique tips and corrections. This chapter is heavy on the pictures and presents a dual approach to technique: general concepts; “Position on the instrument is like a series of gentle curves based upon a square frame” and detailed description; “The emphasis of the bow grip is the right index finger, where the weight of the entire arm travels from the shoulder, through the elbow, the wrist, and finally comes to rest, in a single point, on the finger.” All examples have pictures that bring the technique to life. There is nothing worse than someone trying to explain a complicated...

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