Saturday, August 29, 2009

Practice Sessions 1 and 2

Since I bought the cello on Monday, I have practiced on it twice: Tuesday and Thursday.  Being me, I thought I was going to sit down, put bow to string, and beautiful music was going to glide out of the instrument.  Well, no.  It wasn't quite like that.

I currently am in possession of Klengel's Technical Studies for the Violoncello - Volume 1.  I also have J. S. Bach's Six Suites for Cello Solo and Brahms' Cello Sonata No. 1 in E Minor.  Cellists reading this post will be saying "Andrew, no."  These pieces are well beyond my level, as I can barely make it through the scales in the Klengel.

My first practice session was kind of disastrous, as I couldn't even get the damn thing to stay in tune.  I didn't know whether it was the instrument, me, the climate, or some other factor.  All I knew is once I finally got the instrument in tune, it was immediately out of tune after I finished a single scale.  I muddled through a few two-octave whole note scales before giving into temptation and attempting the Bach.  It was a good exercise in finding the notes, but I certainly couldn't take more than a few measures.

Thursday's results were similar to Tuesday's.  I struggled to get the instrument in tune.  This time, I would tune a string, and then the action of tuning another string knocked the first string out of tune.  That was maddening, and I screamed once (but didn't throw anything) before finally getting all the strings at pitch.  I got bored with the two-octave whole note scales and tried some quarter note scales with different bowings.  I then treated myself to a few measures of the Brahms.

What I need is a beginner's book of cello solo pieces so I can actually begin learning where the notes are.  Having played the violin, I can maneuver myself around the cello.  Of course, the increased distance between the notes is an adjustment I need to make (it's greater than I expected).  On the violin, the next pitch up always meant one additional finger.  On the cello, it sometimes means two fingers.

Since every good blog has links, I will give you my secret to tuning without a pitch pipe/tuner/tuning fork.


  1. Best of luck on this awesome musical journey, Andrew!

    And what a brilliant idea: to document the whole thing on a blog.

    I should have thought of doing this when I became a professional assassin. Or mental patient. (Depends on the day and meds.)

  2. It's time you picked up the Suzuki method, my friend. Taught this girl how to play the viola like a child learning how to play the viola.

  3. Funny you should mention that. I just bought the first cello Suzuki book today!

  4. Cello music