The problem with getting new orchestra music is that I tend to want to listen to the piece before I start learning it, or along with learning it, so that I have a feel for the music. Actually so I can try to put some musicality into the learning process while I’m struggling with notes, shifts, extensions. You know, the usual parts of celloing. However, while I am getting the concept of the music, I am also getting the tempo. And when that tempo is say, q=130 (Brahms “Tragic Overture), I want to play it at that tempo. Of course, not right away! I’d like to start at around 110. OK, when that doesn’t work, 100.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work either:
This is one of the parts that just doesn’t work for me at 130,120 or even 100. But what does help, for me, is to isolate this section, one of the “challenges” of the piece, as I have here. Only looking at these 4 measures. Then, once I’ve worked throught all those extentsions and shifts to make it playable for me, find my metronome and turn it on a LOW number. NOT 100. More like 70. And even then I don’t play all 4 measures. I work on the first group of 4 notes. Then I may work on the middle group of 4, working my way to the last 4 notes before I put it all together. Slowly. It’s tedious, for sure, but here’s what we all know deep down: If you can’t play it slowly, you can’t play it fast.
That is, if you intend to play the correct notes!