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Cello Teaching Ideas

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One of the great advantages of You Tube is being able to see and hear other wonderful musicians play, which can inspire new cello teaching ideas. Recently I’ve found two stunningly good cellists who I love listening to: David Finckel and William Molina Cestari.
William Molina CestariCestari makes a beautiful sound, phrases expressively and has a touch of the hero from The Mask of Zorro about him. I especially like his performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, which is one of my favourite pieces and has a fiendishly difficult cello part.

100 Short Cello Talks
David Finckel is the cellist in the Emmerson Quartet but gives a lot of solo recitals as well and you can see why, as both his playing and his rapport with his pianist wife are superb. He’s recently posted 100 short Cello Talks on You Tube.
These are particularly suitable for professionals and discuss the problems of concert hall projection and getting used to different acoustics, lighting and seating in a performance situation.But they’re also useful for students  and  give insight into a professional musician’s life – weird though it probably seems to be to the outside world.  Of course everyone’s approach is slightly different and what works for one person isn’t always effective for another. Nevertheless, if you’re a cellist these videos are well worth viewing.

 

Improvising in Classical Music

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 Improvising in Classical Music

Classical music is so superb and technically demanding that technique and interpretation are normally the main areas focused on. This can result in a sort of freezing perfectionism, where you feel unable to play anything on your instrument unless you have been practising it for hours every day for the last few weeks.

I was never taught to improvise when I was a student, but having recently returned to classical music professionally after a long time I’ve been determined to overcome some of my former insecurities and now I start practice with improvisation –  either just playing freely to express how I feel, or playing tunes by ear.

The great thing about improvisation is that it can’t be wrong: and it’s this sense of freedom that is such a welcome balance from the intensity of classical training. In my experience improvisation also encourages straightforward enthusiasm and love of playing your instrument and helps give pupils the feeling that the teacher is responding to them individually, rather than carrying out a formal instruction session.

Of course all the best interpretations of classical music sound as if the performer has made the music their own, and this is another sense in which regular improvisation can be incredibly beneficial: in improvisation the music really is your own and you alone are its master.