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6 Responses

  1. I love this idea! Instead of handing out a bunch of bricks and windows and mortar and telling the student to build a house, it is more like the house is already there, and we only have work on remodeling parts. The student gets to keep on building on an image of what playing really well is – i.e. with expression, power, dynamic range and great variety of sound character. Which makes me think of having the student impersonate a mean cellist, a happy cellist, a goofy cellist, a grandiose cellist. Helping the cellist refine the impersonation is a lot more positive than breaking the whole thing into parts.

    Please let me know how your students are reacting to this.

  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful and creative idea. I had been using slowed down audio files to try impersonating the sounds of other cellists, but it hadn’t occurred to me to try imitating their physical movements! Suddenly my vibrato is more even and stable on each finger and nearly all of the tension in my arm, shoulder, and back have disappeared!!

  3. Emily,
    I just found your website while looking for string reviews and now you are on my favorites list. I grew up in the the south far removed from hockey but still learned to play hockey and became a huge red wings fan; and honestly, i want to be Pavel Datsyuk (i am not above envy). As an elder newbie cellist, i would love to get your recommendation on strings. I need the ones that are most forgiving of a bow that is devoid of all skill. I love your using the impersonation idea. Thats what i do when alone with my cello and a glass (or two ) of wine. I put the sheet music away and just try to make pretty sounds and motions so that at least I feel like Yo Yo, or Pavel.

    1. I find that Larsen A in “mittel” is fabulous on any cello, and then you can experiment with less pricey options on the other 3. Kaplans have been good for many students and even professionals with instruments that aren’t divas. Jargars, too. Dominants used to be the old stand-by, but Larsens and Spirocores kind of eclipsed them.

      Good sound is all about control: bow speed, trajectory, point of contact and pressure have to be uniform, right? So pick one of those things and work on it with your wine. 🙂 Oh, and remember also that if the pressure at the point of contact is going to be even, you have to apply more pressure to the stick as your hand gets further away from that point. (and vice-versa, as your hand comes back on the up bow)

      Pavel is amazing. His edges are so clean. I really admire many of the Russian skaters- Grabovski here in DC, too. 🙂

  4. Love this! I’ve been playing the cello for a gazillion (like 40) years and I finally have my first student. That alone makes this very relevant. The fact that I’m a figure skating-hockey wife-Detroit Red Wings/Datsuk fan-cellist makes it even better.

  5. I just saw the post about the strings. I recently invested in the Larsen Magnacore C and G strings. They are really something special. They will make any cello sound better, and the uniformity with upper Larsen strings makes playing much easier. The Spirocore C and G had a very small sweet spot on my instrument – the Magnacores sound wonderful from bridge to fingerboard. This makes string crossing very much simpler. The other thing that I love about the Magnacore strings is that it is possible to start a sound pianissimo. This makes possible a pianissimo pedal tone. This changes my playing of several of the Bach Suites. The response time for these strings is much quicker than the Spirocores. Finally, the sound is very big, and very warm. I am used to making the sound warm with my hands, but with these strings it is a given. Again, with Larsen strings up top, the uniformity of this big warm sound makes playing simpler.
    I don’t think there are any discounts anywhere for the Magnacores, because I think these strings are light years ahead of the competition.

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