Playing the cello is very complicated. There are SO many things to think about, do, and remember. Ah, there’s the tricky one. How much can we possibly remember? How to move the bow (a topic for later), dynamics, articulation, and of course, hitting the actual notes. This is where most of my focus is, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. So it makes sense to do things one at a time, not trying to do it all at once from the get-go, but layering on each different idea. Some would argue that this is a waste of time and you are learning wrong things that you’ll just have to relearn. I come from a position that I always start by playing loud, slow and smooth. My first priority is to learn the notes. But I’ve learned that it isn’t to my advantage to learn all the notes and then think about the bow. Neglect the bow for too long and you will find you’ve created an enemy instead of a friend. So what I’ll do is pizz a few measures (left hand work on the actual notes), then bow the same measures without the left hand. (Yes, relax your left arm!) If you’ve never done “bow only” work, it’s harder than it seems. But your bow will appreciate the attention and reward you with smooth, easy string changes. You’ll find out when you put both hands back in motion. Try it. Let me know what you think.