Archive for July, 2008

Ronald Reagan, “Well,…” and Continued Progress…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2008 by cellomuser

My first memory of politics was when I was in early grade school. Ronald Reagan was running against Jimmy Carter. In grade school terms, it was movie star against peanut farmer. I remember siding with the “movie star” – I think I was in 2nd grade, maybe 1st. Regardless, I have always liked Reagan. One of my favorite non-political reasons to like Reagan was his masterful use of the word “well”. He would use the word to start sentences or just after a pause in a sentence; usually in a manner that showed he cared about how you would perceive what he was about to say – but in an honest manner. I think there are a lot of similarities between how Reagan and Barack Obama communicate – except Obama does not use the word “well” as much – and his mannerisms are somewhat more “stiffer” then Reagan. But I like how Obama does pause. Yes, I am pulling for Mr. Obama – its my cello blog – and I can say that. The only other time I voted Demmy for a presidential election, my brand new F-150 truck got side-swiped while I was in voting. My parents thought that was pretty funny – actually I did too – after the lady that did it got charged.

So here goes…

Well, the recent progress continues.

My practice routines of recent are a smattering of this and that. Some scales here and there – trying to experiment more with some of the minor scales (natural, melodic, and harmonic). The Dotzauer Method I book I use has quite a few of these. I am still practicing the some of the shifting exercises from Mooney’s Position Pieces 1. All the Suzuki II pieces are within reach. Some of them I can play through without a problem, the others are well within reach – and would just need to practice them in earnest to really master. The first few Suzuki III pieces are coming along quite nicely; specifically the J.B. Lully Gavotte – the two before that in Suzuki III are – yawn – boring.

The most excitement I am having is with the Dotzauer 113 Etudes. I am only focused on the first 10 or so etudes – but they are so fun to play. It is the perfect balance between shifting, string crossings, intonation, bowing technique, and just being able to enjoy playing. Between more practice, the Mooney exercises and the Dotzauer Etudes – this has been the ingredients for the recent surge in progress.

Other things.

I ran a 5k over the weekend. It was my 4th time running this particular 5k and I did it in 21:57. In the Marine Corps, my best 3 mile time was like 18:03 – so I have a ways to go to get back into fightin’ shape. But I will take 21:57. My running routine has me running between 20-25 miles a week – which pays off over the long run for the “short” runs like a 5k.

Finally, I started another blog ( I have been thinking about doing this for a year or so, but have been somewhat intimidated by throwing my hat in the information security blogosphere ring – especially about a topic as granular as “information security risk”. There are real names and real people – which increases the consequences in cases of stupidity. However, there is much needed dialogue about this topic within the profession I work in so why not take the opportunity to influence? Amazingly, I have brainstormed a future posting that would compare effective information security risk management to effectively playing the cello.


Walking Stress Bomb and Intentional Practicing

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2008 by cellomuser

The last few weeks at work have been some of the busiest this year – super busy. From the minute I walked in off vacation – I pretty much had a truck load of work get dumped on me. However, despite the 50 hour work weeks – I found myself on the cello everyday for between 15-30 minutes. Besides being a great stress relief mechanism – some things just started clicking for me.

  1. The shifting exercises are paying off
  2. In general, there is less pitch variation
  3. Some pieces I am working are now all of sudden within reach of performing well vs. wondering if I will ever play them

For some reason, bowing has been at the top of my mind. I do not know the proper terminology, but using the entire bow vs. just the middle third seems to be a recurring thing I am noticing in both warm-up scales and the Dotzauer etudes. Going up two octaves in one bow movement (without completely sacrificing tone) is now an afterthought (sort of like when you realize you do not need to plug your nose when you jump in the water).

I think this recent spurt is a combination of confidence and the quality (vs. quantity) of practice. I have been very intentional about what I wanted to get out of that precious 15-30 minutes. Hopefully, I can continue being intentional about what I want out of practice without having the prerequisite of being 110% stressed out.