Author: Emily Wright

Goldilocks had a point

If one thing is clear, after all this time, it’s that the cello is hard enough as it is- and that people will do all kinds of stuff to make it much harder or even impossible to get to the point of mastery. The root cause of most trouble comes down to ego and self-concept: either the student feels a desperate need to be seen as competent and in control, or the student lives in fear of being seen as unaware of their most minute flaw and sets out on the impossible quest to be the perfect pupil, subservient...

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upgrading your rig, part 3

The last installment is not so much a spend/save juxtaposition, but more of a list of stuff you can do to add value and maximize the tone of your rig: it’s everything short of buying a new axe. Lighter endpin: there are many models, including some that claim to do everything from amplify bass resonance to remedy wolf tones. My personal favorite is the carbon fiber New Harmony hollow body endpin with a tungsten carbide tip. Mine has 8ยบ of pitch- you might like it…or not. There seems to be conclusive evidence that changing out a heavy stainless steel...

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upgrading your rig, part 2

Continuing yesterday’s theme: Spend (sort of): strings Don’t ever put the lowest end strings on any cello that will be played. They’re just terrible, and also are not made with any kind of quality control- they break, sometimes don’t even go up to pitch, stretch out, and sound like absolute ass. When I was growing up, the standard setup in the US was Jargar A and D, and Dominant G and C. Now, there are a several ubiquitous setups: with few exceptions I recommend a Larsen A, and then you have to do some research based on what you...

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upgrading your rig, part 1

There are a million ways to spend money on cello stuff: cases, stands, stand lights, strings, premium rosin, super premium rosin, bows, bridges, time spent at the luthier’s table- you get the idea. When I was a young cellist, buying a set of new strings had not yet become the momentous decision it is now. Prices exploded in the late 1990s, and it seems like the cello is ever more a sport for the rich. The next few posts will focus on where to spend and where to splurge, based on my experience and that of my students. Spend:...

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fermata

I talk to lots of musicians in pain- if there’s one thing I’m grateful for after all these years of questionable medical care and countless wrong turns, it’s the education the experience has bestowed upon me, so I can at least be a useful resource to others who are new to the “is this going to kill my career/quality of life” rumination. I recently had a long talk with a brilliant high school student who seems destined for the conservatory as a double threat: piano performance major with a minor in violin. A colleague who coaches her had messaged...

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