You know the old adage “Slow and steady wins the race?” Well, learning to play the cello is not a race, but slow and steady is crucial.

I am returning to pieces I’ve worked on in the past but never “finished”.  I felt so good after working through Élégie that now I’m back to the third movement of the Haydn Concerto in C.  I saw several students play it at the SC Cellobration master classes and I am motivated.  As Zuill Bailey said, “It’s in C!  You can do this!”

Instead of “playing” it, I’m looking at very small sections- like 2 measures- and slowly analyzing the true choreography that it takes to play them.  Consider the following:

First ignore all the open G’s.  The first to second double stop requires a shift from a closed position to an open position, maintaining the space between 2 and 4 in the shift, and pointing 1 to play the D.   Even this was tricky for me.   I drone a G at the same time.   I go back and forth, slowly, evenly, meditatively, practicing the shift.   I want my left hand to get more comfortable with this motion and I want to make each movement in a smooth motion.   Next I take the shift from the second double stop to the third and repeat the process, taking into consideration each motion for my fingers.   And so forth!

This is all I’ll be working on at first, but it does feel like yoga cello.  Controlled, slow motions leading to the goal of enlightened cello playing!



2 thoughts on “Yoga Cello

  1. David B Teague says:

    Your concepts of “finger choreography” and “cello yoga” are interesting.
    I am keenly appreciative of your ideas, and pleased that the translate to my enormous fingerboard so well. Thanks!

    I would LOVE to be able to just do all the first movement of the Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major…. I had the exposition of the first movement under my hands at a tempo that I was willing to take so a Suzuki masterclass once upon a time, and received some positive comment. But I never managed the development nor the recap of the 1st movement. Double stops in the 2nd are impossible. 3rd? Next lifetime.
    I need to decide how to transcribe this so it is playable on my instrument yet doesn’t lose its essential character.

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