filthandflowers asked: Woah, cellist! I just reblogged your amazing green dress on my other blog, then came to check out your page and saw so much awesome I nearly passed out. Instant follow! D: Do you mind me asking if you know any little finger strengthening techniques? Sorry if this is a silly question, but I don't have a teacher anymore and have been struggling getting vibrato going, esp. in third & fourth position. Many thanks and hugs!
Right, so first things first. I really think it is a great idea to practice in front of a mirror. This way I am teaching myself as well as learning because I am seeing what other people can see and therefore I can improve independently if that makes sense.
Always aim to get a C shape with both your left and right hand (just like playing the piano). I am looking into using a stress ball or tennis ball to exercise my hands with to try and curve my little fingers more and get the C shape.
In my opinion you are going the right way about supporting your 4th finger with your 3rd, this is how I began to strengthen mine. This helps to gradually strengthen this side of your hand so that you can begin trying to take the 3rd away, make sure your other fingers aren’t elevated too high above the string but almost brushing it when you attempt this. Make sure you aren’t pushing through your thumb on the back of the neck as this creates tension. If you are doing this, practice lifting your thumb off the back but keep it close to the neck (not out to the side) and keep your hand curved. If this is difficult to begin with, decide whether you could raise your elbow a little higher (not your shoulders) so that it is in line with your hand and your wrist isn’t bending above or below the arm, press your fingers onto the string using your left arm weight. I recently went to a class that Joely Koos was teaching and she said to ‘Support weaker fingers with your arm.’ The arm will look like it is balancing over your curved fingers (horizontally not vertically lol). She mentioned that your 3rd finger must be curved (the middle knuckle of my third finger collapses in higher positions and this is the same with a lot of people) and that you should always use your arm when shifting up the cello and don’t leave it down to the side.
I did a bit of research as well and I think this page is going to be useful for me as well as other cellists who are looking for finger exercises: http://www.livestrong.com/article/254930-finger-exercises-for-cello-players/
Also, I don’t know if you have heard of Feuillard Daily Exercises (publisher Schott) but I strongly reccommend you looking into getting your hands on it if you haven’t. There are five main sections and they cover everything; Part 1) Exercises in the neck positions, Part 2) Exercises in the whole compass of the cello, Part 3) Exercises in the thumb positions, Part 4) Double Stopping, Part 5) Bowing Exercises.
Also, when you vibrato, I don’t know whether you do this already but think about using the pad of your fingers rather than the tips like I used to. There is also a vibrato exercise that you might find helpful. Find a steady metronome beat e.g. 60 crotchet beat, start with your first finger and move it back and for so that you are breaking the beat into quavers, then do it in semiquavers, then demisemiguavers and so on to get an even and varied vibrato, then try the next finger etc. Make sure vibrato is coming from your arm and not your wrist as well.
Phew! sorry I’ve just dumped a load of info on you there, I really hope it is useful, if there is anything that doesn’t make sense feel free to ask and if there is anything you disagree with and have another idea for let me know, we are after all colleagues in the art of playing the cello and I think that ideas should be disussed in order to improve :)
Thank you for taking an interest in my blog! *hugs back*
Yesterday we had to go back to school to receive our A level certificates and then went out for drinks afterwards. It’s so weird to think that we all used to spend quite a lot of our time together in school, we saw each other everyday and then Bam! Uni hit us and we just gather when it’s a holiday but we always have a really great time. I kind of regret spending quite a lot of my time studying in the library in school rather than taking some time out to see my friends in free lessons because I really miss them.
I want to keep in contact with them better this year when I start uni because I never want to lose them, they are the best and have helped me through so much. I don’t want to become distanced with them for no other reason than Uni.
I love my friends!