Andrew Cook turned me on to the final permutation of the scale exercise I’m prescribing: Start the scale from the lowest note on the cello in the key, not just the tonic. So that means you start every scale on C, C# or Db, depending. The best part about this approach is that it prepares you for actual pieces, which do not always start and end on the tonic. This also makes you push the trust you have in your ear as it guides your hand. Don’t worry about the same fingering each scale, or avoiding open strings. Just make the intervals happen and use this time to make sure you’re not rushing your up bows or zinging your changes with additional pressure, speed, or general freakout.

Have a great weekend. I’ve been under the weather, but it would take more than the proverbial hell/high water/wild horses to keep me from getting on College GameDay tomorrow. I’ll be the one with glasses, eye black, and some sort of flag.

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