Author: Emily Wright

hacks for your technique, part 5: staying focused on a problem thumb

This may be the simplest “hack”, but it’s also one I wish more students used. Something as rudimentary as a bandage can work wonders to draw the physical attention (that is, the body’s awareness of what is happening while other complicated things are going on) to a small, but crucial aspect of technique. I use this approach on either hand, and it’s up to you whether you splint the thumb so you only start feeling a squeeze when your technique starts to falter, or you set the tension such that it feels a little more sensation when you’re in...

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hacks for your technique, part 4: KT tape for better posture

The cello and the computer (and driving, and knitting, and reading…) seem to promote two dangerous postures: a chin that juts forward, and shoulders that curve inwards, towards each other. Held for short periods, no harm done. Done for hours at a time, the body starts making Faustian deals to shift the strain somewhere else, or avoid pain and preserve function. It’s too late to know for sure, but my most trusted medical advisors think that both of these habits likely compounded the nerve issues I’m coping with today. These are tricky habits to correct, because bad posture feels...

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hacks for your technique, part 3: getting a tense right pinky to chill out

I wrote about this nearly ten years ago, but it’s stood the test of time for a tense/hyperextended/jerk of a pinky. My school of bow technique asserts that the pinky is largely inert during most actions, and although there are big names (A. Weilerstein and M. Haimovitz to name two…sometimes Rostropovich) who lean on their pinkies during the change from down to up bow, I don’t advocate this for any beginning or intermediate student. Of course, there are certain instances where the little finger is somewhat useful: for my hand and particular posture, the pinky helps control a bouncing...

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danger on the stage: a minipost

I once launched my bow into the audience at a CSUN concert after a particularly zesty up-bow release. The inside chair gave me his bow and sat through the rest of the movement quietly, but the person who caught the bow kept standing up and trying to give it back during rests and I had to continually hiss “not now!” and bat him away. My high school conductor used to work sitting on a stool, and one time he got flapping a little too enthusiastically and he fell clean off the stage. Just tipped backwards about 6 feet flat...

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lessons of london: an excerpt

Here’s another snippet from the upcoming collection of essays. One of the highlights of my college years was winning the concerto competition at Kingston University with the Rococo Variations. It was a time of immense personal and professional growth- I’d landed in London on a gorgeous afternoon, ready to experience all the wonderful things I’d been told about going abroad. Alas, I had also brought the sheltered idealism and unwitting arrogance of a 20-year-old Type A from Los Angeles, and I spent the first few months absolutely despondent. I was disappointed by the things I wasn’t used to. I...

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