celloblog

Celloblog2019-10-30T15:51:31+00:00

Finding Purpose and Growth as an Adult Amateur Cellist

Growing up, I never really wanted to be a cellist.  I liked to play the cello and I could hold my own, but I just didn’t have the passion to see it through past college.  Instead, I became an elementary teacher and now a district administrator.   From that time, I played in several chamber and community symphonies; just cruising along with an incorrect mindset, a secret envy of my music major friends, and not really bettering my skills. I was busy with a teaching job, a young family, and cello was a bittersweet diversion...Time marched on.   Several years ago, I had an incident in my life that very abruptly indicated to me that I needed the cello in my life and that I needed to start improving my [...]

By |January 3rd, 2020|Categories: Artistic Vision, Self Discovery, Teaching|Tags: , , , , |

How to Find the Right Instrument: The Pitfalls of Cello Shopping

Whether you have the means to buy a modern (starting at € 25.000), an old Italian (starting at something like € 250.000 and up into the sky) or a nice elderly French, German or English (somewhere in between) instrument, you can drive yourself crazy in finding “the right one". Amateurs, students, and professional players face similar problems.   First we hardly ever get to try all the available instruments at the same time. We have to travel to see/try them in different acoustics under different circumstances. This makes it almost impossible to compare them as we rely entirely on our memory, which is awfully subjective and selective. On top of that every space has its own feel and sound, and most players (including the writer) feel different even with their [...]

By |November 27th, 2019|Categories: Performance|Tags: , , , |

Straight vs. Angled Bowing: A Visual Experiment

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to study at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. One of the pieces that I brought to the festival was the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3. The main goal I had for the piece was to sound less “choppy” and play with a smoother legato sound. After trying everything I could think of to solve the problem on my own, I brought the issue to my teacher, Paul Katz, who like a skilled doctor immediately saw what the problem was and fixed it! The problem turned out to be that rather than keeping my bow straight, i.e., perpendicular to the strings, I bowed in a semicircle. As soon as I started to bow in a straight line, I was able to [...]

By |September 11th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room, Teaching|Tags: , , , , , |

Not Enough

The long drive from Aspen gave me a chance to refine a bit what I said to my students there to end our last class: I have been almost as lucky as you can be in this business. I've had countless disappointments of course- some deserved, some not. That is the nature of the business. But I have a good job, a happy reputation, a balance between solo, chamber, orchestral playing and teaching, the good fortune to be friends and colleagues with some of the musicians I admire most in the world, and the respect of some of the peers that I care the most about. I've had the chance to travel, play concerts, enjoy the camaraderie and live some of the enviable life. I haven't had everything, but I've [...]

By |September 4th, 2019|Categories: Self Discovery|Tags: , , , , , , |