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, […]


Possible reasons for no blogging action/comments/emails/internet ghost town vibe of late: 1) Phelps mania among blogging cellists, no time for interwebs. 2) Clik-pad caused cubital tunnel issues, cannot type. 3) Blogging cellists running that race in Queens, can’t blog while running. 4) Blogging cellists flocking to South Ossetia to join in solidarity with Georgians. 5) […]

Hey, big spender

There are things to spend on, and things to skimp on. Here are my thoughts on getting the most bang for your cello buck. Spend on: initial beginner celloGoing the $200 cello route is like Russian roulette. Sometimes you get a cello that plays, other times you’ll be out the $500 you were trying to […]

Maximizing your lesson experience

Nearly everything about the cello is, upon initial inspection, prohibitive. It’s big. It’s low. It’s difficult. It’s expensive. It reads that clef you didn’t really master when you took piano lessons. If you manage to get past all of those obstacles and move onto lessons, there are a few things you can do to make […]

Really good practice session

Ever the masochist, I have decided to go crazy on concert studies. In addition to the audition repertoire, I have added the 4 Bukinik studies, with a special focus on the 2nd one. People, if you don’t know these, well…I suppose a kinder person would advise you to run. They are awkward and lumpy and […]

Don(ting) Juan {sic}

There’s an audition coming up in June, and I am thinking of taking it. Whether or not I do, I enjoy dusting off the excerpts and Haydn D for some critical work, which is amazingly never finished, even after 15 years of assault. The erstwhile Blake characterized Don Juan best when he said that it […]

The recital

It went well. First off, lots of people attended, though not too many performed. My lovely cousin Natalie, who I have always felt lucky to be related to, showed up, as did my dad and a near stranger (a lapsed cellist, himself) who I had met earlier that day while buying party favors. Most people […]

lookin’ good (soundin’ bad) (for a while)

Other possible blog titles include: Acting the partAll for showTest yer gesture (ha) As many of you know, I am in the business of teaching how to play the cello. I was about to write, “I teach the cello” but then I thought, “Teach it what? How to be a human? Latvian history? Roller skating?” […]

So you wanna go to music school?

This list, like the last one, is drawn directly from my experience. This is hopfully going to be the emphasis of my next book, tentatively entitled something like, “Ignore This Book if You Want to Go to Your 9th Choice Music School”. You get my drift. Some things to do when you are certain you […]

Be Prepared

Maybe you don’t need this list. But maybe your students do! Things to have in your cello case: 1) spare bow and rosin 2) at least a good spare A (whole set is ideal, but pricey, I know) 3) nail clippers 4) ibuprofen for headaches and sore arms 5) fabric band-aids (plastic rattles against the […]

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