Author: Emily Wright

extend-o-matic

Originally posted 26 June 2007. It’s wild that this is all words and no images, although I suppose there is some utility in having to visualize the movements independently. It reminds me of the Eddie Izzard skit where he talks about why there are no car chases in books. 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,...

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the bow

Originally published 18 June 2007. I’m still a bow-centric teacher. Maybe even more so now, even though there are lots of really insightful instructors whose philosophy centers intonation as the first goal. It’s not that I don’t think intonation is important. It’s just that producing a beautiful sound is much harder. Work on both, of course. But when you work on intonation, give the sound some love, too. It’s the tone, not the pitch, that makes us human. To me, the left hand is academic and the right hand is, though rigorously technical, laced with the perfume of mystery...

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practice makes perfect. if you survive.

Originally published 12 June 2007. Near the end of this piece, I talk about resisting change and looking down on a teacher I had in London because she wasn’t up to speed on the Rococo Variations. I am still struck by how common it is for students to feel a sense of competition with instructors, which blinds them to their own learning process: trying prove yourself is a full time job. I should know! I underwent a radical transformation during my time in the UK: pulling the first layer of ego away (of course, revealing many, many more underneath!)...

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it’s all in your mind

Originally posted 31 May 2007: These students are the foundation of my enduring interest in working with students with traumatic brain injury and other neuro-atypical learners. While the phrasing may be a tad jejune [cello is hard for everyone, some people just have a diagnosis as to their particular brand of difficulty], there is truth to it, borne out over the last 25 years of teaching experience. It tends to be the people who have not experienced much intellectual adversity who have the hardest time getting out of their own way. I teach 2 students who have memory issues....

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