Hello CelloBello Fans! With school back in full swing, we're excited to officially kick off the fall season here at CelloBello! Stay tuned for a packed week of new and original CelloBello releases: Monday: an exclusive masterclass with Yo-Yo Ma on the Elgar Concerto, Mvts. 3 &4 Tuesday: a new blog from Michael Haber, "Practicing, Some Practical Advice" (Part 1) Wednesday: two new CelloLessons from CelloBello's founder Paul Katz, "Eliminate Left Hand Tension" Thursday: Part 2 of Michael Haber's "Practicing, Some Practical Advice" Friday: an interview with Alisa Weilerstein, "The Psychology of Sound Production" Enjoy!
A while back, I accepted an invitation from my good friend Pansy Chang to teach her cello students. Pansy teaches cello at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She was taking a sabbatical for a semester and wanted to make arrangements for her students to receive lessons from different teachers in her absence. I had a very enjoyable time meeting and working with the cellists in Oxford. It is always enlightening—and sometimes highly entertaining—to observe the various posters, photos, educational degrees, cartoons, and other items which adorn the walls of teaching studios around the world. Among many other things hanging on the the walls of Pansy's studio, I noticed a piece of paper which I immediately knew could occupy a prominent place in my studio as well. Titled simply "The Rules," [...]
Any musician who has interests outside the realm of music has probably discovered ideas and concepts important to other disciplines which are directly applicable to the study and performance of music. The lessons we can learn about greatness from outside our own field are often very powerful because the underlying principles tend to be universal and not confined to any single discipline. For the famed American chef Thomas Keller, there is one word he uses to describe his entire philosophy of approaching his craft at the highest level: finesse. Chef Keller apparently doesn't want anyone who works for him to forget it—the word and its dictionary definition are emblazoned directly on the tiles above the entrance to the kitchen at Per Se, his high-end (and delicious) New York City restaurant: [...]
Ah, the joys of summer music camp—one of the greatest ideas of the human race, right up there with Snickers ice cream bars and compound interest. The experience of a summer at a good music camp is an essential part to speedy, varied, and interesting musical growth, and the friendships you make there can last you a lifetime (at least I think they will). I’m writing this as a break from packing; I leave tomorrow and I can’t wait. Summer music camp, as well as being an enjoyable social experience, can be the most productive time of the year to improve on your instrument. During the academic year, it’s easy for even the most focused individuals to lose track of musical goals because of the demands of school, sports, etc. [...]
I received my most memorable lesson in distraction during my first year of playing the cello. My teacher sat me down one day, instructed me to play the Gavotte from Suzuki Book 2, and then proceeded to demonstrate the most amusing display of histrionics I'd ever seen, even going as far as to caterwaul loudly and spill her coffee down the front of her dress. My teacher thought she could train me to focus on the music if she presented me with an array of possible distractions. At the Perlman Music Program, Toby Perlman would tell us the story of how Mr. P played a concert through an earthquake and continued performing, completely unaware that the earth was trembling below the concert hall. We all laughed incredulously, though I couldn't [...]