Instruments

Avoiding Cello Flightmares

I just completed a four-city recital and masterclass tour of Brazil, which included one car trip, three domestic flights, and one round-trip international flight.  Usually when I travel for concerts, I face the frustration and complexity we all enjoy of bringing the cello onboard, extra ticket gripped firmly in hand.  The slightly unusual aspect of this recent tour was that I used borrowed cellos for each concert.  I left my own instrument at home for several reasons.  Although my room and board was generously covered in each city, most of my flights were not, and I didn't want to pay close to $1k for the extra plane tickets.  I didn't want either the physical hassle of carrying it around, nor the emotional/mental hassle from airport personnel in a country I [...]

Bach Suites and You – by Robert Battey

“In a work of art the intellect asks questions; it does not answer them” -Friedrich Hebbel Few tasks are more daunting than attempting to discern and convey J.S. Bach’s precise intentions for his Cello Suites.  Just playing them is hard enough, but a true and meaningful interpretation of the Suites requires an entirely different heuristic model than that of our other repertoire.  This is because the autograph of the Suites has been lost, and we are left only with several flawed and inconsistent copies.  Since there is no original source, everything, from notes to rhythms to phrasings, must be questioned. With many pieces, one can rely on the fidelity and accuracy of a high-quality edition, prepared either from autographs or composer-supervised prints.  There, you have the simple choice of either [...]

Flying with Your Cello? Print the FAA Passenger’s Bill of Rights to Carry With You

WHEN TRAVELING WITH AN INSTRUMENT, BE SURE TO PRINT THE FOLLOWING  PASSENGER'S BILL OF RIGHTS  AND CARRY IT ONBOARD WITH YOU! DOWNLOAD PDF   The United States’ FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act - SEC. 403 § 41724, adopted by the US Congress on 6 February 2012: H.R.658 - FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 SEC. 403. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. (a) In General- Subchapter I of chapter 417 is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘Sec. 41724. Musical instruments ‘(a) In General- ‘(1) SMALL INSTRUMENTS AS CARRY-ON BAGGAGE- An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, [...]

WQXR Podcast of Paul Katz Interview: the Pitfalls of Taking Musical Instruments on Planes

Listen:  Reprinted from WQXR.org U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of Bureau of Transportation data. Fewer than three suitcases per 1,000 passengers were reported lost, damaged or delayed from January through June, a record low. But a recent spate of stories concerning musical instruments on airplanes suggests that the skies aren't always friendly for musicians. Paul Katz, a former member of the Cleveland Quartet, recently experienced a particularly dramatic incident involving his 1669 Andrea Guarneri cello and a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles operated by WestJet, which partners with American and Delta, among other carriers. "I was even pre-boarded. I got the royal treatment,” Katz tells host Naomi [...]

Myth Busters — by Brant Taylor

Instrumentalists often prepare for an orchestra audition by seeking feedback on their preparation from a teacher or colleague.  Perhaps because my career includes both orchestral playing and teaching, I am frequently asked to coach players who are preparing solo work(s) and orchestral excerpts for a given audition.  Some players I hear are very new to the audition game, while others are already seasoned professionals looking to step up to another ensemble or for a promotion in their current group.  After years of talking with these musicians about auditions in general and about the specifics of their preparation, I've noticed several assumptions that players sometimes make about auditions.  While some of these assumptions are true, and made with good reason, many others are best described as myths. Some of these are half-truths, and [...]

Looking & Seeing — by Selma Gokcen

In my last column, I mentioned getting to know some of your habits at the cello…the worst ones can become your best friends, in that they will offer the richest material for work on yourself. So now we step into the arena. Looking at oneself is not easy. The same instrument that presents the problems is also doing the observing, so how reliable can our observations be when the instrument itself is faulty? This was F.M. Alexander’s dilemma. His vocal problem was hidden within himself, and so he set about observing himself in a mirror, later three mirrors, to see if he could discover any correlation between what he was doing with his whole body and his specific vocal defects. After long and patient examination, he identified several harmful habits, [...]

The Music of Movement — by Selma Gokcen

It is a great pleasure to tickle your screens from across The Pond, as they call the Atlantic Ocean here in Great Britain.  I am honoured to be invited to add a few views to what is already a splendid site for cellists and a fruitful educational resource.  The London Cello Society is an important part of my work, and as a nurturer of the cello world in the United Kingdom, I always celebrate a new addition to the Cello Cloud from which we can benefit. Our members are just getting to know CelloBello and they will no doubt enjoy and learn from it. It is said that the best things to write about are those you love. Therefore it makes sense in this first blog to introduce my passion [...]