Cello Advanced II

Cello Advanced II: Week 8

Week 8:

Performance prep

This week is about confidence, energy and endurance. Be proud and satisfied of the work you’ve put in.  A few pointers in the week before performing:

  • Don’t over-practice. Focus on the very, very specific parts that trip you up or feel weird.

  • Play two or three run-throughs each practice session, max. Play them like they’re performances - energetic, big and confident!

  • Envision your audience, the stage lights, the whole shebang. Visualize giving the best performance you’ve ever given. :) The more you can visualize it, the more comfortable and fun it will be the day of!


Ginger DoldenComment
Cello Advanced II: Week 7

Week 7:

Review 25-31

Whole song, run-through. We’re focusing on musicality for the remainder of the session.  The supplemental material I’ve given throughout the session is designed for you to lock down the technical development of the piece.  Understand that in music, technique is always a means to an end, and exists to serve the music - we can’t express without it, but it in and of itself will not make the music effective and capativating. Practicing “musicality” - adding drama and feeling to the music - takes as much practice as technique (if not more). You have to be willing to let go a little as you play, and live in the character of the music.  It’s an intuitive and emotional approach to playing.

To me, this piece is flirty and dramatic - the more exaggerated the dynamics, cresc./decresc, and articulations, the better. I can picture Sofia Vergara from Modern Family during this piece - an absolute firecracker of a character!  Use whatever images or emotions works for you.  Make it personal.

Ginger DoldenComment
Cello Advanced II: Week 6

Week 6:

Review, 17-24, 1-24

We reviewed the piece thus far.

La Cinq 25-31

There are several shifts from 1st to 2nd position and back and 1st to 4th. In measures 29 and 30, use the fingerings below the notes in parentheses. Notice the dynamics and crescendo; very dramatic in this section!  

The end of the piece is a repetition of measures 8-16.  Congrats, we’ve covered all our material now! We’ll spend the remainder of the sessions running through, locking in memorization, and individual feedback in class (if desired).  

Ginger DoldenComment
Cello Advanced II: Week 5

Week 5:

Review 1-16, shift exercises, 17-24

No new material this week.  Keep working on what we’ve covered; A minor scale with hooked bows, the trill drills, the shifting exercises, and La Cinq up to measure 24. Isolate the areas you have the most trouble and focus your practice on those places.  Reach out to me this week if you’d like some guidance.

Ginger DoldenComment
Cello Advanced II: Week 4

Week 4:


Hooks, trills, La Cinq 1-8

We reviewed trills and the first 8 measures with trills and grace notes included.

La Cinq mm 9-16:

This is exactly the same material as the beginning, with the exception of the last note.  As you grow more comfortable, incorporate the dynamics. Practice the crescendi and decrescendi - they only occur over one or two notes, so this will be pretty specific, isolated work at first.   

Exercise: 2nd, 3rd, 4th positions

We worked on some drills to strengthen shifting in these three positions. These are a great supplement to the piece, however it’s not required that you learn them.

La Cinquantaine, mm. 17-24:

We learned mm. 17-24.  Remember that 4-to-a-bow hooked bowing exercise?  Use it this week! For measures 19 and 23, play a full bow on the first half of the measure.  Then you’ll be on the tip of the bow for the second half. This passage is generally easier if you use large, broad bow strokes.  


PDF: Shifts Page 1


PDF: Shifts Page 2


Ginger DoldenComment
Cello Advanced II: Week 3

Week 3:


A minor, Moon over ruined castle, La Cinq

We reviewed the A minor scale and all new materials from last week. See last week’s notes. You can look ahead to 9-16, which is an almost exact repetition of 1-8, except for the last note (first finger on D in 4th position).  It’s the same pitch as the eighth note before, so listen that they match!

Trill exercise:

We worked on trill exercises.  Trills are fast, repeated notes a step apart, and are indicated by the note tr. with a wavy line over the note to be trilled. Fundamentally, evenness is more important than speed. Practice the drills on this week’s exercise sheet to develop dexterity.  Check in with your hand to make sure it is relaxed.  The pressure will be rooted in your first finger while your second finger comes up and down lightly, like it’s tapping the string. You can practice this motion by placing your first and second finger on a table and tapping your second finger repeatedly and evenly. The grace notes are executed in the same manner.  

Practice La Cinq this week incorporating the grace notes and trills.

PDF: Trill drills

Ginger DoldenComment
Cello Advanced II: Week 2

Week 2:

Review: A minor, hooked bows

We reviewed the A minor scale, and added hooked bows to the scale (see last week’s worksheet). These may be tricky at first but keep practicing them throughout the semester: they are instrumental to the piece!  For reference, listen to the recordings of the A minor scale with hooked bowings.

A minor scale, Crescendo, decrescendo

We also explored crescendo (growing louder) and decrescendo (growing softer) in our playing. This is created by a combination of increasing speed and pressure during the bow.  Practice the A minor scale with separate bows, starting on an up bow (see worksheet). Aim for a dramatic change in volume - really soft to really loud, and vice versa.

“Moon over ruined castle”

This is a small exercise that will help your 4 position skills.  It’s supplemental and not required to learn, however we will review it once next week. Aim for the song to sound lyrical as you play. Listen to recording for reference.

PDF: Moon over ruined castle 4th pos.


La Cinq: mm. 1-8

We looked at the first 8 bars of “La Cinquantaine.” A couple notes:

  • For now, please disregard the grace notes (first two notes) of measures 2 and 4.

  • For now, disregard the trill in measure 7. We’ll add these in later, after some training on how to execute them.

  • As you can see, the first shift is from the first finger on D (E) in 1st position to 3rd finger on A (E) in 3rd position. Remember that harmonic to test the E’s accuracy!

  • Also note the dynamic - pp, which means very soft. Remember to aim for a light, delicate sound - relatively little pressure, especially on the hooked bows.

  • When sliding to the A harmonic, practice a “ski-slope” mentally: your shift is fast, light, and not “stuck” in the string. As soon as you touch the A harmonic you can let go of it, so the movement is like a ski-jumper. Fly off the string!

  • The double-dotted half-note in measure 7 lasts until the “and” of 4. Counted the bar in eighth notes, like so: “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &” and move to the eighth note A0 on the last “&”.

PDF: La Cinquantaine

Cello Advanced II: Week 1

Review: C Major scale - slurs, hooked bows

Welcome back!  We reviewed the C major scale, with bow variations.  Play the notes separately, then 2, 3, and 4 to bow, and 2 hooked bows. For reference, attached is a worksheet with these variations.

C major scales and Bowings

A minor, 2 octaves

We learned the A minor scale, 2 octaves.  Attached is a worksheet and recording. These fingerings help us learn 4th position and the A harmonic, which we use frequently in our song, “La Cinquantaine.” This shift can become quite natural over time, because we literally allow our left hand to drop against the shoulder of the cello.  You can even listen for a “smack” the side of your hand will make. Tune the first finger in 4th position by playing it as a harmonic.  The highest note on the scale (A) is played as a harmonic with the 4th finger.  Simply extend your fingers down the string and touch the harmonic with your pinky. Your bow should be light and a medium to fast speed.

A minor scales

La Cinquantaine

We started working on La Cinquantaine this week.  (note: there are some hand-written bowings included in this copy - please disregard them)