Daily Archives: September 27, 2007


More orchestra goodness last night. There were times when I was reading those really high notes in the Grieg and translating them to fingers in the right place without thinking, and I caught my brain saying to itself, “Maybe you do deserve to be in the second chair.” Nothing like a very respectable performance in a cello-exposed theme to make oneself feel good: expression, intonation, and the right notes all combined to make a rather lovely sound. Although we’d worked the opening movement of the symphony for an hour leading up to the Grieg and my brain didn’t fully make the key signature shift, so I fumbled through the first go at it. I’m really enjoying how our conductor is working the music and the sections so far this season. There’s very obvious improvement by the end of each rehearsal. It’s terrific to look forward to rehearsal, and to leave feeling great.

My principal gave me a fingering she wants us to use for a particular phrase in the overture, and I kept trying to work it during break. She asked how it was going and when I said I was having trouble with the stretch for the last note she took my left arm and readjusted it, pointing out that by having my elbow so low I was ‘breaking’ the wrist and limiting the pronation of the hand. That’s something I never noticed. It’s odd how certain things stick in your mind from lessons ten years ago: I’ve always been hyper-aware of raising my right arm too much, as it was a problem I had as a beginner. Evidently after years of telling myself to keep it down, I’ve not only learned the lesson but have proceeded to overcompensate, thinking that I still make the mistake. On the way home I hit upon a good idea: if I think about holding my arms as I was trained to do in ballet, long and slightly rounded, then the arms will automatically balance and fall into the right place, with the added bonus of my shoulders both dropping and being parallel. I do wish I could take lessons every couple of weeks to get my technique back into shape. I talked to the principal and she gave me one of her cards, and told me not to worry, in a couple of years the boy and I could have lessons together! I love that idea. Suzuki method it may be, but going back to basics in any method can’t hurt. And I like the idea of being able to participate in a lesson with Liam: it’s less like work for both of us that way, and more like fun. More motivation to set aside practice time, too. I joked about setting up a tip jar on the floor between our stands and dropping a quarter in it every time I ask her a question or she gives me a tip about playing in general.

Also, it should not have been that hot and humid yesterday. Four days before October. Just wrong.

More laundry today. It felt like my whole day evaporated yesterday what with the late start in the morning, dropping the boy off, driving HRH to a job downtown and then running my errands. I had two hours to work at home and do two loads of laundry before I had to leave and pick the rest of the family up, then do the usual evening things before leaving for orchestra. This sample edit I’m working on is hard to wrap my brain around because there’s so much to do with it, and as it’s a sample I’m doing it for free to demonstrate to the writer how we might work with one another. I’ve got to limit the time I spend on it as a result, but it does need a lot of thought and analysis, and I want to edit it in two different ways to illustrate the choice of direction the writer has. Above and beyond that I have to transcribe the work, which is atypical in every way and so I have to keep rechecking what I’m typing to make sure it actually matches the original. Fascinating stuff, but time-consuming.

The boy is napping. Time to do more laundry. Then I won’t have enough time to get into that edit, so I may do some research on Baroque instruments (no, it’s for the Vivaldi novel; I’m not pining for yet another instrument. I think playing the cello and the fretless bass, plus planning for a double bass sometime in the next five years and wishing for a harpischord is more than enough). I’ve started telling myself it’s okay to not turn on the main computer on days where I’m not working, so I sit down with the laptop instead to mess about reading news and doing research, and it feels more relaxing, less rushed.

Right. Laundry.