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100 Cello Warm-Ups and Exercises Blog 12: Flexibility and Coordination – Part Two

100 Cello Warm-Ups and Exercises Blog 12: Flexibility and Coordination – Part Two

unnamedCoordination Exercises

In Part 1 of this blog on “Flexibility and Coordination” I discussed the flexibility of the fingers and wrist, and gave some left hand warm-ups such as finger-pushups and some bow arm exercises such as the “box” exercise. Today we will discuss some warm-ups that are useful to improve coordination. A large part of the physical approach to playing the cello involves coordination. Whether playing double stops, timing the speed of a shift, or coordinating the left and right hands we need to be aware of this aspect of our technique. When I was a student in Freiburg, we used to go out as a cello group to a pizza restaurant every Monday after our master classes. We would sit at a long table talking in a babble of languages – German, French, Roumanian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, English – doing wrist exercises in the air, articulating with the fingers on the table, and gesticulating wildly while vibrating on our arms. The other German customers must have thought that we had just been let out of an asylum. But what we were doing was practicing coordination exercises, demonstrating fingerings, and showing each other what we had learned. The only way to learn and improve coordination is by doing it again and again – even at a pizza restaurant. Here are a variety of exercises that focus on coordination, in no particular order. First a couple of general coordination exercises, focusing on the bow:

Here is the Tortelier bow speed exercise from his book “How I Play, How I Teach”:

tortelier-bow-speed-exercise

Another coordination exercise for the bow is this one: “Frog and Tip”

A good exercise for working on left hand/right hand coordination issues is this “Two Note Coordination Exercise”:

Chromatic coordination exercises chromatic-finger-exercises-rj4 chromatic-finger-exercises-rj3  

Cadence Exercises

Cadence Exercise #1:
cadence-exercise-1-for-blog

Cadence Exercises #2:

cadence-exercise-2

Cadence Exercises #3:
cadence-exercise-3-for-blog

Vibrato Coordination Exercise

Exercise for Evenness of Fingers

Next week’s Blog (#13) will be on Breathing and Relaxation.

About the Author:

Robert Jesselson

Robert Jesselson is a Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches cello and plays in the American Arts Trio and the Jesselson/Fugo Duo. In 2013 he was named as the Governor’s Professor of the Year by Governor Haley and the SC Commission on Higher Education.

Dr. Jesselson has performed in recital and with orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States, and has participated in the Music Festivals at Nice (France), Granada (Spain), Santiago (Spain), Aspen (CO), Spoleto (SC), the Grand Tetons (WY), and the Festival Inverno (Brazil). His performance degrees are from the Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Freiburg, West Germany, from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Paul Katz, and the DMA from Rutgers where he studied with cellist Bernard Greenhouse. He has been principal cello of the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orquesta-Sinfonica de Las Palmas, Spain. In 1983 Dr. Jesselson was in China for a six-month residency, one of the first Western cellists to visit that country. During that time he performed as soloist, gave master classes, and taught at several conservatories (including Beijing, Shanghai, and Canton). In December, 2001 he led a delegation of string players and teachers to Cuba to begin professional contact with Cuban musicians. He has also taught at Sookmyung University in Korea, Sun Yat Sen University in Taiwan, University of Auckland in New Zealand, at the Royal College of Music in London and recently in St. Lucia in the Caribbean. His recent CD of new music for cello and piano is called “Carolina Cellobration” and is available on CD Baby and Cellos2Go.

Dr. Jesselson was the national President of ASTA, the American String Teachers Association, from 2000-2002. During his tenure as president he initiated the National Studio Teachers Forums (2000 and 2002), started the National String Project Consortium (with sites now at 44 universities and grants of $3.1 million), and began the planning for the first stand-alone ASTA national convention in 2003. He was the founding Executive Director of the National String Project Consortium, and is currently on the NSPC Board.

Dr. Jesselson is former conductor of the USC University Orchestra and the Columbia Youth Orchestra, and he was the cello teacher at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts for 17 years. For 15 years he was the director of the USC String Project, building the program into one of the largest and most prominent string education programs in the country. His pioneering work on this program was recognized in an article in the New York Times in December, 2003. ASTA awarded him the “Marvin Rabin Community Service” Award in 2009 for his work with the NSPC and teacher training. He is the recipient of the 2015 USC Trustees Professorship and the 2010 Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year, the highest teaching awards given by USC. He has also been awarded the 2002 Cantey Award for Outstanding Faculty, the 1992 Verner Award, the 1989 S.C. Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, the 1995 Mungo Teaching Award, and the first SC ASTA Studio Teacher Award in 2005. Next summer Dr. Jesselson will be teaching cello at the Green Mountain Music Festival in Vermont and at the Cellospeak Festival. He plays a 1716 Jacques Boquay cello.

Robert Jesselson website: http://in.music.sc.edu/fs/jesselson/index.html
Articles by Jesselson: http://in.music.sc.edu/fs/jesselson/articles.html