I've moved my blog

Published: Mar 27, 2017  |   Category: Uncategorized

Note Rush is a terrific sight reading learning app

Published: Mar 8, 2017  |   Category: cello, practice, music, education, reading music, sightreading

My now-teenage son John was NOT an easy reader. He fought learning how every step of the way. At one point he told me that because Jedi Knights don't have to read, and because he was going to grow up to be Jedi Knight . . . .   If only they could have read. It would have made all the.....Read More

Teach students how to learn

Published: Feb 15, 2017  |   Category: cello, education

I just read a terrific article that speaks directly to my desire to raise capable musicians, as opposed to MINIONS WHO OBEY MY EVERY COMMAND MUWAHAHAHAHA!   They're working on it. As interesting as it would be to have a robot cellist army at my beck and call, I thi.....Read More

Buying a cello whilst keeping your arm and leg

Published: Feb 13, 2017  |   Category: cello

I always have a Craigslist search going for local cellos because there is always a student who is ready to move up a size, or who is tired of renting, or who is ready to upgrade. Last week I noticed what appeared to be a beautiful instrument, but the low price didn't match. I did a little research into the Shanghai-based maker YitaMusic and was intrigued. A student, her mom and I checked it out.....Read More

Practicing with a drone

Published: Dec 30, 2016  |   Category: technique, cello, practice, music, education, accessories

Has a colleague ever had to tell you, delicately or otherwise, that you were out of tune? I'm, uh, asking for a friend.   Friends don't let friends have intonation "issues." One pleasure - and challenge - of the cello is its capacity to play all notes, even the ones that fall between piano keys and guitar frets. .....Read More

Why some notes in a row sound good and others sound like noise

Published: Dec 24, 2016  |   Category: music, Western music, education

When a toddler bangs away on a piano with no rhyme or reason, or a cat walks on one, how do we know it's noise and not music? Please enjoy my latest "cat-certo." Our ears want us to travel from any given note to only a few other ones. The name for this is voice lead.....Read More

Keeping a practice log

Published: Dec 16, 2016  |   Category: cello, practice

If you don't know where you're going, how will you know if you get there? In a nutshell, that's the reason I keep a practice log. There are lots of different things to practice: scales, etudes, solo repertoire, ensemble repertoire, improvisation. I can't keep track of it all unless I write it down. Here's an entry from last week. How do you like the puppy chew mark in the corner?!? .....Read More

Go Black Hole endpin anchor or go home

Published: Nov 6, 2016  |   Category: performances, cello, accessories, care and maintenance

A few months back I wrote about my hatred of the endpin "holder" known as the rockstop. If you don't know what I'm talking about, count yourself lucky because I'm not going to dignify it with a hotlink. The rockstop is worse than useless because it tricks cellists into thinking their instrument is securely fastened to the floor. Having your instrument go flying in the middle of a concert - or worse.....Read More

How to make a small fortune in the music business

Published: Nov 4, 2016  |   Category: performances, music, economics, symphony orchestras, orchestras

First, you start with a large one! Hey-ohhhhhh! Thank you, you're a great audience! I'll be here all night! But seriously folks . . . . I'm reading The Perilous Life of Symphony Orchestras.....Read More

Domo arigato Mister Vibrato

Published: Sep 23, 2016  |   Category: technique, cello, education, cellists

I'm getting ready to teach a vibrato clinic at Idaho Arts Charter School next month. What do you think of my handout?   .....Read More

Life on the edge

Published: Aug 20, 2016  |   Category: cello, craftsmanship, care and maintenance

Have you ever noticed the black lines around the edges of the cello and wondered why they're there?   They're called purfling, and .....Read More

Memory and music

Published: Aug 9, 2016  |   Category: performances, , technique, practice, music

If you touch your cello, you'll understand what happiness is . . . . My students must memorize all solo pieces to have them performance-ready. This article offers terrific advice that I'm.....Read More

Why to play

Published: Aug 9, 2016  |   Category: performances, music, Western music

When you play the cello, or any other instrument belonging in a symphony orchestra, you and your friends get to make music like this. In the words of Carly Simon, it makes me feel bad for the rest. ;) Check out this video: .....Read More

Listen first

Published: May 30, 2016  |   Category: performances, cello, practice, music, cellists

This excellent article's top tip is to listen to a high-quality recording before learning a new piece. I don't think many musicians who read.....Read More

How to shop for a cello costing less than five thousand dollars

Published: May 28, 2016  |   Category: cello, craftsmanship, cellists, care and maintenance

If you or your child has been playing the cello for awhile, you've figured out you didn't pick an inexpensive instrument. A couple of years ago I bought a bass guitar, cable and amp outfit for around $200. The instrument wasn't terrific but it had new strings, it stayed in tune and it got the job done. THOSE were the days . . . sigh! If someone tries to sell you a cello for $200, ask them if they plan to throw in some Idaho oceanfront property for free. Instead, take a.....Read More

The lack of left handed cellists

Published: May 20, 2016  |   Category: older students, technique, bow, cello, music, education, cellists

"I have never, ever, ever in my long-legged life / Seen a long-legged sailor with his long-legged wife." I've also never, ever, ever seen a left-handed cellist, meaning a cellist who fingers with the right hand and bows with the left. This is a little strange when you think about it. Left-handed guitar and bass guitar players are far from unheard of. I've seen left-handed fiddlers, and .....Read More

Hot cars mean hot cellos

Published: May 15, 2016  |   Category: cello, cellists, care and maintenance

Obviously the cello is hot ;) but as the weather warms, remember to not leave your instrument inside your car. Really, you shouldn't EVER leave your expensive instrument inside your car - a friend's violin was stolen that way. A cello may be harder to steal, but why chance it? If the inside of your car is going to reach a temperature where you or a child or a dog would be uncomfortable, then it's too hot for your cello. Glue will melt, wood will warp, the horsehair on .....Read More

The cello and time

Published: Apr 27, 2016  |   Category: cello, practice, music

How should cellists use the time we have been allotted? Here is an excellent article about time and "how players spend it, manage it, think of it, and manipulate it in their practice, preparation, a.....Read More

The late great Jacqueline Du Pre in rehearsal

Published: Apr 24, 2016  |   Category: cello, music, cellists

Such joy with her husband. RIP Jacqueline, taken well before your time by MS. .....Read More

4 guys plus 1 cello equals Bolero

Published: Apr 23, 2016  |   Category: Uncategorized

#FridayFun a day late. ;) Wiener Cello Ensemble 5+1: Bolero   .....Read More

Cellist Pachelbel rant

Published: Apr 21, 2016  |   Category: Uncategorized

So. Much. Yes. How every cellist feels about Pachelbel's Canon. PG language.   .....Read More

Tempo cheats

Published: Apr 13, 2016  |   Category: practice, sightreading

Sometimes it's just just too. Much. Work. to go find the metronome to ensure you're practicing at the correct speed.   Yes I would, in fact, like some cheese with that whine. That's when it's useful to know the tempo of music that is.....Read More

Fitting in music practice during the busy teenage years

Published: Mar 30, 2016  |   Category: cello, practice, music, education

Think of the last time you heard an adult say, I'm sure glad I quit music lessons when I was twelve! What a waste of time THAT was! Oh that's right - that would be NEVER that you've heard that. As kids get older families have to prioritize, but music doesn't suddenly become less important to one's well-being because homework and AAU baseball. How can kids and families navigate those busy years without giving music short shrift? Portland Suzuki te.....Read More

Goofy time signatures

Published: Mar 21, 2016  |   Category: technique, cello, music, reading music, sightreading

A student and I recently discussed time signatures: a 4/4 time signature means four beats per measure and a quarter note is one beat, 3/4 means three beats per measure and a quarter note is one beat, and a 6/8 time signature means six beats per measure and an eighth note is one beat.   .....Read More

There oughta be a law

Published: Mar 20, 2016  |   Category: performances, cello, accessories

Rockstop brand cello endpin rests, also known as donuts or hockey pucks, should be banned. If you ever feel the urge to buy one for you or a loved one, please take the following steps: 1. Ball your hard-earned cash into a wad, 2. Throw it in the gutter. Rockstops are worse than useless because they give players a false sense of security. They also encourage grossness: we're not.....Read More

How the bow hair meets the cello string

Published: Mar 8, 2016  |   Category: technique, bow, cello

The sound of the cello is generated when taut horsehair, with the help of some sticky rosin, rubs against a taut metal string. (Yes, I know that isn't the case with pizzicato, or con legno, or other weird exceptions. Put your hand down, nerd.) Because they reason, quite logically, that more sound will be generated when more hair surface meets the surface of the string, I often see this from beginners, or former violin players (from the perspective of the player):  .....Read More

What DC and DS mean in sheet music

Published: Feb 17, 2016  |   Category: music, Western music, reading music, sightreading

To save paper (and page turns) often sheet music has the abbreviations D.C. and D.S. written above the staff. These tell the musician to return to a certain point in the music and play it again. D.C. and D.S. are short for the Italian phrases da capo (from the beginning; literally from the head) and dal segno (from the sign). The fancy sign to which you return - it's Italian, right? - is usually styled like this: .....Read More

Why, how to memorize

Published: Feb 3, 2016  |   Category: performances, cello, practice

I'm all about hoarding advantages, and removing obstacles. I find when I memorize a piece of music, I turn the tables on the Muses and gain more freedom to create something new. So take THAT, universe! #winning For more of the why and how.....Read More

Cello hero

Published: Jan 31, 2016  |   Category: cello, pop

I love the Internet. Graham, this one's for you! How to play "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons on the cello......Read More

Making a cello from start to finish

Published: Jan 29, 2016  |   Category: cello, craftsmanship

From the latest online version of The Strad, watch an amazing video here. Absolutely incredible. Thank you, craftsmen!.....Read More

Geniuses are a little different from the rest of us

Published: Jan 9, 2016  |   Category: music, Western music, education, Leonard Bernstein

  Enjoy learning the history of Western music in five minutes from Leonard Bernstein, who was as much a brilliant educator as he was brilliant at everything else he was brilliant at. Mind. BLOWN......Read More

Music has its own brain department

Published: Jan 4, 2016  |   Category: , music

There have been theories that what we call "music" is composed of other things, including speech. This latest MIT study shows there is a section of the brain dedicated just to music, which makes hearing music appear to be fundamental to brain makeup.   .....Read More

Celloboxing Happy New Year

Published: Jan 3, 2016  |   Category: Uncategorized

Kevin Olusola with Pentatonix, sans cello. So cool! Ring in 2016 with the wildly talented Kevin Olusola and his cellobox (cello/beatbox) rendition of "Auld Lang Syne.".....Read More

Keeping your head in the practice game

Published: Jan 2, 2016  |   Category: cello, practice

From time to time I remind my students - and myself - that practice makes permanent, not perfect. To add to that: it's not that I'm looking to put myself out of a job, but my hope for each of my students is that someday they will become their own best teachers. Violinist Yevgeny Kutik talks about getting to that stage in this article about practicing......Read More

Making music is P90X Workout for your brain

Published: Dec 31, 2015  |   Category: aging, health, , older students, cello

I finally couldn't get along any more with single-vision glasses I've had for 15 years. I've been wearing "multifocal" (sounds better than "bifocal" doesn't it?) contacts for a year and love them, but getting along with my old glasses at home. No more!  Yesterday at the eye doctor I ordered some true bifocals with the little line because they were cheaper and i don't plan on wearing them out of the house. Still...bleah!  .....Read More

Quarter tones

Published: Dec 31, 2015  |   Category: cello, world music, Persian, Indian, , sitar

This five minute video.....Read More

How to stop a wobbly bow

Published: Dec 26, 2015  |   Category: technique, bow, cello

If you've ever been annoyed by a weak, wobbly tone and you think the cause might be your right arm, then a tip from Edward Kreitman's Teaching from the Balance Point could help. His intended audience was Suzuki violin teachers, but much of his advice applies to "celloing" as well. Kreitman likens putting the bow on the instrument to setting a coffee cup on a table, calling it "giving the bow" to the instrument. A cup doesn't wobble after be.....Read More

Playing for others

Published: Dec 22, 2015  |   Category: performances, Christmas, cello

I love to perform. I love connecting with the audience and making them feel good, or intrigued, or maybe even a little sad. Sad due to sad music, I mean, as opposed to sad from being in agony from my playing . . . . ;) I want other people to learn to feel this way about performing, too. To that end, one of my studio policies is to regularly offer my students opportunities to play for others, but with as little stress as possible. That's why, along with my collea.....Read More