Music Theory & Guitar Chords

I’ve been very busy playing in my new book that Matt gave me that teaches moving back and forth between different positions. It’s very challenging, but mentally satisfying.

I ran across a YouTube video last night while searching for cello drones (if anyone can recommend good cello drones, I’d love you forever) that taught some basics for playing guitar chords on the cello. I thought it could be a very good lesson in expanding my music and cello horizons so I’m planning on dedicating one of my practice days to learning “guitar style playing” on my cello.

While I was at it, I figured I had better learn some music theory. Today, I found a page on thecellocompanion.info that was very helpful in explaining scales to me. After 8 years of music education, some points finally clicked so I figured I’d share the link with you:

http://thecellocompanion.info/category/getting-started-on-the-cello/music-theory/

I don’t know how advanced this is considered, but I found it very challenging to process, but very well structured for understanding.

2nd & 4th Positions

I had the most amazing lesson last night. We flew through my assignments in about 10 minutes which consisted mostly of stretching the first finger up to hit my B flat, E flat, A flat, & D flat. Then, Matt gave me a new book to work out of and we starting moving around a lot more on the strings. We concentrated a lot more on the 2nd and 4th positions. We didn’t even just shift down there for a note or two, but played whole songs lower down on the strings. He told me that I’m very intuitive about learning these things.

It was very emotionally gratifying. Plus, he played with me to help me hear the tones since I was in such a strange place on the strings. I just love when he plays with me. Our cellos sound so lovely! I left with a heart full of music and a sore bowing arm. I’d call that a very successful 30 minutes of my evening!

Reblog: You’re Not My Real Dad

From: http://music.failblog.org/2012/03/28/music-fails-youre-not-my-real-dad/

Eventually the son ran away from home and joined a string quartet, where he found fulfillment by playing Dvorak. His father disapproved of his son at first, but then he saw his son perform and realized the true joy of self-expression his son found in the cello, and gave him his blessing in a tearful father-son reunion.

I’m so glad to have grown up in a family that was always supportive of my love for music.
I’ll always remember with fondness when my mother and sister came to my small town highschool football halftime show in 20 degree weather with a huge banner supporting our band. All the football parents thought they were crazy, but every member of my band thought it was amazing that someone came out to support THEM.
I’m also grateful that my family is so fully supporting me and my sister picking up a cello and a viola for the first time as 30 year olds. Most families would scoff and give a lecture about responsibility. My family just gets giddy and supportive.
I love you guys!

Slacker!

I’m kind of in a self hate slacker mode. I haven’t practiced in three days. I haven’t written in a full week.

No good.

I’m packing my schedule so full and everything demands attention…husband, pets, family, cello, writing, creativity, house, work…yet, I’m managing to neglect it all.

My husband, he’s pouty. I did take him on a lovely date night on Friday though and spent most of Sunday relaxing with him. He should be sated for another week or so.

Took the dog to the park on Sunday. Scrubbed rat cages yesterday. Pets should be good until…oh, tomorrow.

Family. Have quasi plans with the sister, quasi plans with the niece, quasi plans with the Mom and Granny. None of which seem to be culminating in an actual visit. Family…totally unsatisfied.

Writing…I’ll hit that hard at work for the next three days and hopefully get back on my writing schedule.

Work…well, I’ve cleaned the place up fairly well. I have one pissed off customer that I can’t take care of until they show their face. So that one’s on hold. I’ll do my best not to slack too much through all the writing I’ll be doing. I figure I’ll work really hard for an hour or two each morning and each evening and do the writing through the middle of the day.

I spent six solid hours on the house yesterday since my plans with my niece fell through. The house is almost done with the exception of the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. I know that sounds like a lot, but I did the rat room and the living room which are always the two worst rooms in the house. The bad part is now my hands hurt from all the chemicals, which makes anything else I want to do more difficult.

I spent most the day Sunday and yesterday, in between scrubbing rat goo off cages, working on a diorama to house my Dad’s train cars that my step mother gave me.  So my creativity is somewhat sated. If only I could channel it a little more into writing and cello practicing, I’d be set.

I’d been neglecting everything for my cello and my writing, but look, I spend four days catching up with everything else, and my cello and writing go out the window into oblivion and I feel terrible.

I know this blog has very little to do with my cello, but I’m still placing it in this blog and not the other one because my cello is the thing I feel most guilty about. I feel most robbed that this is what I’ve neglected. This week, I’ve only practiced for two hours. That’s it, and it was all in one day. I’ll have an hour or two tonight that I can focus on Evinrude, but that’s it. I’m out of time as my lesson is tomorrow.

Guilt monkeys are powerful things. Look how whiney they make me.

So much, so little

I’ve got so much to tell you and I’ve been posting so little. So this may be a little bit all over the place, and I’ll probably forget a lot of what I wanted to write.

First off, lessons. Matt told me last week that he was starting to feel worthless because I figure out so much on my own and I actually practice. Apparently, adult students, as a general rule, don’t practice. Though I’m not sure why he’s feeling worthless because I spent almost the whole half hour bombarding him with questions that I had the weekend I was with my sister.

The good part about asking questions, is that you get answers. The bad part, is that it gives Matt ideas on how to torture me. Several of my questions involved different hand positions on the finger board (eg. how to play an F sharp, what the shift keys on my music mean…). So, Matt decided that I need to start practicing in multiple positions. He explained them very well; I’m just feeling a little bit overwhelmed.

I know its good to get used to the different techniques. I just need to stop whining and do it. Also, he’s taking this week off so I have two weeks to practice it. He gave me a bit longer of a piece to practice so that I can have it perfected before he sees me again.

He is also becoming a counting nazi. I actually blame my sister on this one. He was asking me how things when with her and where she was with her studies. I told him how awesome she’s doing, but that she doesn’t count which makes harmonizing different parts difficult. So, now, he’s being relentless on my own counting. I felt like I was in 6th grade again.

Thanks, sis.

On another note, new music. I got on imslp.org and was downloading some sheet music for my sister, her friends, and I to play. Its way beyond our skills at this point, but its nice to have some goals to work toward. I was playing with sight-reading through some of them on Friday, and I must admit, I did better than I thought I would. Of course, my parts are pretty easy compared with the Violin and Viola parts, as the Cello is playing the base line in a lot of them. Still, felt pretty good.

Another note, practicing. I was very bad about practicing this weekend. I have tons of excuses for Saturday. Gem Expo, family, pick up family from airport, pick up more family from airport, clean house, shower. Terrible, I know. Sunday, I was just lazy. What a terrible excuse! Well, that and I was playing around all day with going on an Allergy Elimination Diet. Plus, I just had to go walk in the park in the rain. I considered bringing my cello and playing under this gazebo that hangs out over the water since there was no one else in the park, but I was scared to bring Evinrude out in such weather. I would have been tempted if it was maybe 5 degrees warmer. Hmmm, maybe in a few weeks. It was a perfectly artistic spring shower though.

See, I’m already forgetting stuff. I know there was more.

My mom got to meet Evinrude this past Saturday. He impressed her as he is so good at doing to everyone he meets. She brought her psaltery with her and was using my chromatic tuner to get it more play worthy. Sadly, she broke two strings and now its hanging at the guitar shop around the corner from my house. Hopefully they can fix it for her.

I won’t have much time to practice tonight, but I will manage at least a half hour to work on my assignment for Matt. It MUST be perfect. I’m determined.

Oh, I remember, I did some recording of my juvenile scratchings on poor, perfect Evinrude. I haven’t gotten a chance to go over the recordings to see if I’m going to post any or not because I refuse to go through them while there is someone else around to hear. Maybe I can do it tomorrow morning at work before any of my co-workers come in. I will post something at some point though.

I’m gonna say that’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll remember more as soon as I hit the publish button. I guess that’s why they gave me that handy-dandy edit button. Go figure.

*Edit: I knew I’d forget something. My sister’s little buddy Crystal is coming to see me this Saturday! She plays the violin, so we get to geek out at the strings shop and over music and I’m so excited!

Awesome Music Weekend

I’m currently at my sister’s house (the cello inspirer herself) and we’re having the most amazing music weekend. We played for hours both today and yesterday. I’m so sore now, but I don’t even notice the time or the pain when we play together. I had almost forgotten the joy of sharing music with a love one. I’m reminded of those weekend music outing during high school when I would spend two whole days doing nothing but sharing music with fellow obsessees. Of course, we have also shared a lot of our writing stuff with one another, but that is for another blog.
We bought some music books at Schmidt Music today so that we could have some stuff to play together. I purchased the Essential Elements book 1 since she already had that one, and we both purchased a book of Disney songs. So far I think my favorite one is It’s a Small World. There’s irony to that because I’ve always felt a certain love/hate thing with that song.
Yesterday, we played some of Pachelbel’s Canon in D which has always been a favorite of mine. I think we did an amazing job. We’re searching for a version that best suits our current skill levels.
Last lesson, Matt told me that he’s wanting to get me into a more challenging book that embraces more of my C and G string. I’m excited to see what he comes up with. I need to spend the next few days working on some of the bow techniques he assigned me since I have spent so much time the last two days working on my notes and neglecting proper bow technique.
My sister was sharing dirty string jokes with me today, and though I don’t usually go in for crude humor, I must sign off my telling you that you can play with my G string to make music come out of my F hole.

Better

I’m doing better this week. My practicing is feeling more streamlined and I’m starting to notice just how bad I am.

That’s good.

It means I’m becoming more aware as I play.

A few of my “songs” are starting to sound like they may be songs. I may even get brave and record one for you this week as a primitive starting point. That way I can look back on it and see how far I’ve come.

On a sad note, my callous has peeled and seems to be fading. I’ll have to practice extra hard in hopes of keeping it as my proud badge of honor.