Archive for August, 2007

Measure 17: A New Bow Trial

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2007 by cellomuser

Due to an off-site work meeting this afternoon and after being told to take off two hours early due to the holiday – I realized I was about 5 miles away from the luthier I rented my cello from. So, I decided to take a detour before driving the 20+ miles back home. The first question they asked was my price range, so I gave it to them and about 15 minutes later, I walked out with three bows to take home on a trial basis – prices of which hit the minimum, middle, and maximum range of what I want to pay.

Bow #1: Glasser; X-Series; Carbon Fiber
Bow #2: Erich Steiner; Brazilwood
Bow #3: Ary France; Pernambuco

I have not finalized my selection criteria variable and the weight values for each variable. During one of my decision sciences courses at “The Ohio State University” I got exposed to a method called AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process). It’s actually a fascinating method that allows you to compare choices against each other and weighted criteria. Sounds like way too much complexity – but it is somewhat fun.

I have played some scales and a few exercises with the new bows and my old bow and I can tell a distinct difference between the wood bows and the carbon fiber bows – a huge difference. The carbon fiber bows result in a tone that sounds way too mechanical. The wood bows result in a soft, yet full tone that has warmth to it.

So, at some point over the weekend, I will put these bows through their trials and perform the AHP to determine which one I should buy.

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Measure 16: Cleaning my Bow (part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2007 by cellomuser

I came home this evening and played some scales on the cello with my “clean” bow – with no rosin. I wanted to hear what it sounded like. As to be expected, the bowing was very smooth and the tone was very mellow. Next, I ran the bow across the rosin; once up – once down – and then I started into some exercises. The bowing – was more like I am used to – but there was still a mellow tone.

I like this new tone. I was only able to play for about 30 minutes – but it was very gratifying. Thank you Guanaco for the cleaning tip and all the others that have taken a few minutes to leave comments on new bows – I really appreciate it. Hopefully sometime next week I can begin the search in earnest.

Measure 15: Cleaning my Bow (part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2007 by cellomuser

Back in the “Measure 14” posting I wrote about my bow and wanting to get a new one. I received some really great feedback! One of the comments was from Guanaco (Cellomania) along with a link to his posting back in 2006 on how he cleaned his bow. While I begin to figure out the logistics of getting a new bow, I decided to go ahead and clean the existing one – which I did last night – step by step as outlined by Guanaco. I was running late this morning and did not take the time to check it out but I will rosin it up later this evening and see what comes of it.

As far as a new bow, I socialized my intentions with my wife to make sure there would be no backlash. We have an agreement that anything that costs more then $100 there has to be mutual agreement. Plus, my boss finally told me the details of my pay raise on Wednesday which makes the decision somewhat easier. Talk about suspense – he told me on Monday that I was getting a pay raise but waited to tell me the details on Wednesday. No big deal – I really like him; we work well together.

Measure 14: Practice, Thoughts on a New Bow, Enjoying a Glass of Cabernet

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2007 by cellomuser

I was able to practice on Saturday and Sunday for probably a total of 6 hours. Since I am still in between instructors – waiting to finalize details with a new instructor – I have been working on Minuet 1 and Minuet 3 in Suzuki 2, as well as a slew of Dotzauer exercises. The two Minuets introduce 2nd position shifting. So far, I am relatively happy with the progress on these two pieces. Those pieces aside, I am not really stretching myself like I probably would if I was taking lessons. Since I still have a few weeks until my lessons will start up again, I will probably take off the remaining three tape strips.

I am interested in a new bow – have been for a few months. I am not at a skill level yet where I can justify a new bow. However, I just do not like my starter bow. I feel like I have to put a lot of pressure on the C and G strings to get a half decent tone. Will a heavier bow change this – who knows? There are also times when I am practicing some bowing exercises and there are certain parts of the bow hairs that just sound terrible on certain parts of the string. I can drag the bow across my finger and feel some inconsistencies in the same areas that they sound bad on the strings.

If any of you have any suggestions on this whole bow thing or any half decent beginner / intermediate bow makers – feel free to chime in. I also found out today that I am getting an out-of-cycle pay raise; very unexpected. I rarely treat myself to new “toys” – due to being the sole provider; but I am open to spending a “reasonable” (under $200) amount of money.

With that said – I am going to go back to the Australian Cab (The Little Penguin) I have been enjoying for the past 30 minutes and check some work email.

Measure 13: 2nd Position, Thumb Freedom, and a "non-Cello rant"

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2007 by cellomuser

Since the last posting, I have not practiced much; maybe a cumulative of 4 hours in a week’s time. This past week was quite busy. Between logging about 52 hours at my day job (which is a lot given we are only required to log about 38.75 hours) and taking on a new side security consulting project for a non-profit organization with a large Internet presence – time is scarce.

I still have not finalized lessons with my new instructor. I might call her this week to introduce myself and see if that does not scare her off. I am working on shifting right now. Suzuki Book 2, Bach minuets 1 & 3 (I think). I have not practiced hard on these – so I am sure it will come to me. My previous instructor tried to get me to think of “leaning forward” when going up the finger board. I do not think she literally meant to physically lean forward. I am still noticing / exploring thumb freedom. Pretty funny stuff, where the thumb goes, the fingers go – just like some fighting / self-defense techniques they taught us back in the day- where the head goes the body follows.

**begin non-cello rant**

On a non-cello note, I had an opportunity to participate in a church activity this past Saturday evening. In a nutshell, a group of us (8 men) provided dinner to about 120 people in a very run-down part of Columbus – called Franklinton. Specifically, this particular opportunity was for a group of folks that have various life struggles – most them current drug addicts / recovering drug addicts / some prostitutes / physically abused ladies / parentless teens. In general, most of these folks are eating one square meal a day – if that. But the most amazing part of all is that despite their struggles – they have hope and believe it or not – they do appreciate a simple hello. A simple hello can be the difference between taking another hit of whatever or going another day without harming themselves. Yes, there was some silliness / fakeness from a few folks – but in general – you could really sense that most of these folks were good people with aching hearts.

For anyone mentally bangin’ that “church folk” “holy-then-thou” mindset, let me tell you that us “church folk”- as we were called by one individual – have a long way to go to show compassion. This is not just a “church folk” responsibility – but a social responsibility by those that can sacrifice a little to help others.

So what was the take-away for me? I guess it is to be more cognizant of those that are dealing with life issues and not completely ignoring those that would benefit from a simple smile or hello – easier said then done. Probably easier then a lot of the cello struggles I have.

**end non-cello rant**

Measure 12: Tentative New Instructor!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2007 by cellomuser

I received a response from a young lady today who was the #1 recommendation from my first cello instructor. In a nutshell, she is on summer vacation from college and agreed to teach me when she returns to Columbus in early September. For the most part, I am pretty happy- but it is sort of awkward.

Are there certain formalities when it comes to this stuff? She agreed to teach me, but we have yet to meet. I do not know what her rate is (yes, I have asked). Will we be compatible as student / instructor? At least it is not an on-line dating thing… 🙂

I also had to explain to some co-workers today on the value proposition of targeting college-student instructors. You would think that it should not require a complicated explanation – but it turned out to be an analysis of current skills, target skills, and the cost to increase current skills to target skills via a cost effective instrument (the instructor). Missing from the argument was the practice variable, but they did not think of that variable, so my claim was for the most part accepted.

Measure 11: Stepping off with the left foot…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 7, 2007 by cellomuser

On Monday evening I had my last lesson with my 1st cello instructor. Finally, after three weeks of The Happy Farmer – she was finally pleased with my ability to play it. I am still not happy with the overall product, but I think I will use it as a warm-up song in the coming months; actually, quite a few songs from Suzuki 1 are great warm-up songs.

So, my new assignments – between instructors – are:

Suzuki 2: Minuet No. 1
Suzuki 2: Minuet No. 3
Suzuki 2: Chorus from “Judas Maccabaeus”
Suzuki 2: Hunter’s Chorus
Dotzauer: Pretty much any exercise that seems impossible, will take months if not years to master, but still builds skills no matter what (how is that for an assignment?).

I finally broke down and bought the Suzuki 1&2 CD. I have found it somewhat helpful – especially from a rhythm perspective.

So now that my first instructor is on to bigger and better things (grad school at Florida State – borderline traitorous move from an OSU perspective) – I need to contact a few folks that she recommended here in Columbus.

So what were my final sentences to my first cello instructor? “Thank you very much for teaching me. Feel free to use me as a reference for other beginning adult students.” I then shook her hand, shouldered my cello and said (somewhat Simon Cowell like) “Off you go, do good things!” Then, in typical Marine fashion, I stepped off with the left foot, and did not look back.