Cello Prep vs. Cello Play

Laura Martinez is the sole Cello instructor at The Lesson Studio. She has a strong background with undergraduate and graduate studies in Cello Performance at Wichita State University, where she studied with David Schepps (a student of Pierre Fournier) and Andrew Kolb.   As a performer, Laura’s extensive professional experience includes the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Wichita Grand Opera and Cavani II String Quartet.  She believes that performance and learning nurture one another, and strives to create that balance in her own musical life as well as that of her students. Today, Laura speaks about the importance of distinguishing “preparation” from “playing through.”

“Nothing is more frustrating than practicing and practicing something and not seeing the improvement we expect.  Often this happens when a student “plays through” something difficult over and over without enough preparation.

It’s important to separate “preparation” from “playing through,” especially in a tricky passage.  “Preparation,” on a string instrument, means making sure that left hand and right hand know what to do, and WHEN to do it.  For the “when” it helps to practice the rhythm alone, either clapping or singing/counting aloud.

After the rhythm is learned, the left and right hands need to learn their parts.  Pizzicato practice is a great way to make sure the left-hand fingers are clear on what they need to do.  Once your left-hand notes are clear and clean in pizzicato, the bow can be added.  If things get muddy or messy when you add the bow, it’s a good idea to practice the bow rhythm alone (on one string).  Usually this will clear things up and you’ll be amazed how clean and “shiny” your playing becomes.  If a passage needs some more polish, you can try playing the bow alone on open strings — this is a great way to work out difficult string crossings or bowing patterns.”

To learn more about Laura or to schedule a consultation/lesson with her, please visit http://www.thelessonstudio.com.cello


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