workshop digest, part 1!

  I promised the participants at Lone Star SCOR some kind of run-down on topics we covered during the two workshops I gave. In the spirit of “better late than never”, I’m posting a PDF with the basics from the cello technique session. I suspect they could be modified a little and be good for […]

sticky wicket

    I need your advice. I have a teenage student who has not responded positively to any approach, though he is progressing as well as anyone who has a pulse and thrashes away at the instrument a few times a week. Part of the problem is attitude: he thinks he’s too cool. I ask […]

perfectly imperfect practice

Practice is good. Common sense tells us it’s necessary for progress and essential to maintain our skill. In my lessons, I rarely teach people how to play- it’s mostly about diagnosing what makes something difficult and then developing strategies and routines designed to break down the difficulty. I teach people how to practice. The playing […]

Sometimes the music looks back at you.

It’s been busy times in the stark raving life of your friendly neighborhood cellist. I suspect this will be one of the last blogs at this address: the whole shebang is going to move over to my big site. But more on that later. I’m relishing the end of the school year by practicing like […]

A quick reflection about practice.

I was practicing yesterday and encountered, for the first time in a long while, the temptation to stop after the first 20 minutes. I’ve set about going through the Popper études and plowing roughshod through the repertoire to prime myself for re-entry into a more performance intensive lifestyle. When I have more time like I […]

The how and what of good practice.

It happens more than it should: I walk into a lesson and the student is jaw-droppingly unprepared and the excuse offered is, “I didn’t have enough to practice.” It was a frequent occurrence in my own early lessons. I would pour hours into my practice with only marginal progress, eventually decreasing my practice time to […]

Mendelssohn vs. Me, round 3: rusty!

….in which she begins to develop a neurosis about her hair as it appears from the side. Sigh. I really should just flat iron my hair every day to avoid these calamities. God help me if Nathan or Frankie at Vidal ever sees this. They would call me and heat-style it through the phone! Ok, […]

Mendelssohn vs. Me, round 1

Here I am, risking a little bit of my pride to show you the practice process behind what will become a very good Mendelssohn excerpt at some point. I figure that part of the strength of this blog is a willingness to lift up the rock and show you the un-pretty stuff underneath. And while […]

Spice for the recipe

In the baseball game of Audition vs Emily, the pitcher is kicking the dirt on the mound, leaning forward to consult the catcher’s sign, and has risen up: coiled and ready to pounce.  Less than a week till the audition, and it’s been quite a blustery few days in the ballpark. I went to play […]