SAMPLE PRACTICE PLAN
1) Please focus on the bow. Work with the pencil to establish perfect form. Use the hand brace every time you practice this week, and remember to bring it with you to the next lesson. Please remember the key is a bent thumb at the frog, and the curled fingers on the stick-just like you practice on a pencil. Try to avoid over extending the index and pinkie fingers. Remember that those fingers are just there to counter balance the thumb, and middle fingers which are doing all of the work at the frog. Please, also work in front of a full-length mirror, so you can see exactly what you are doing.
a) Please remember the bow exercises: Wrist curls (VERY slowly), and the finger “crawl” up the stick. Also, spend time with JUST the bow as you do other things around the house.
2) Keep cello tuned. Tune first the “a”, and then the “d”,”g”,and “c”. Always tune while plucking, and tune very slowly if you are tuning with the pegs, unless the adjustment is small. Then, you can use the fine tuners on the tailpiece. Build your ear “muscles”. Tuning is precise. Once the “a” is tuned, tune the other strings using the “a” as a guide. Also, use a keyboard to help you hearintonation. Even though the cello is tuned in perfect fifths, tune against the “a”. A perfectly tuned cello is the basis for all playing. Your ear is designed to be acute. Let’s keep it strong!
3) Work on the exercise that we have been practicing together with the left hand positioned on the shoulder of the instrument. We have been calling this “couch-potato” position. Please remember to keep the hand there as you play the notes. Remember to prepare each finger before each note. Almost like little hammers coming down on the finger board. Once down, the hammers become clamps. Squeeze the heck out of the finger that is playing the note. Remember the fingering is 4,2,1,3,4. Play this 5-note series on all four strings in the following order: d,g,c,a. Please only use half of your bow’s length. Practice with themetronome set at 60. Count 4 beats before you begin. Make each note last 2 beats. Each note gets an alternating bow stroke. Start down bow. Remember the proper bow-arm movement, as each bow stroke is generated from the scapula (wing bone).
4) Schroder Book : exercise number one. Please practice with the metronome set at 60. Again, only use half the length of the bow. Coordinate the plucking of the open strings with the bow stroke.
5) Please get a full length mirror to gauge your practicing. You will be your own teacher when you practice. Learn to love the metronome, it never lies.