Cello Advanced III

Cello Advanced III: Week #5

Week 5: 


List of Goals for the week:

Warm Up: a few sets of bow exercises “yes’s” and “no’s” and a slow C major scale with the note “E” as a drone.

Scale: D Melodic minor with a drone on D

Technique: Playing in quick tempos. Using harmony to help your ears with intonation.

Repertoire: “What A Wonderful World” Introduction and Minuet measures 16-end. Tarentella 


Paragraph summary of what was covered in class

We reviewed the ‘D Melodic Minor’ one octave scale. Fingering review is in week 2.

We worked from ‘Tarentella’, skeletonizing triplets into big beats and learning how to work a passage up to tempo. We covered ways to practice tempo and consistency with a metronome, especially as it pertains to our Bach Minuet. We looked just a little bit at the last few measures of the Minuet and talked about bowings and fingerings, so you have a good idea of how to put it together on your own.

We looked at the first 8 measures of our cello ensemble piece, “What a Wonderful World”



Assignment for next week

Aim to play big chunks of the Minuet in a quicker tempo(quarter note = 70)

Emphasis on metronome practice because this is the easiest way to speed something up that is difficult. 

BEFORE you start playing, commit yourself to moving through measures you have trouble with in order to stay with the metronome. There will be certain things that feel all of the sudden out of rhythm, or way too fast. Its normal and all the little bumps and kinks will get ironed out with time. Learning to keep moving during a runthrough will train your muscle memory to work out problems without having to stop. There are ways to train your eyes, hand and brain to make adjustments quicker. For instance, an exercise I find helpful is to play a section through with a metronome, eliminating everything except the DOWNBEAT of every measure. So, in this case, you only play the downbeats or first beat. We’ll call this the “Downbeat only” method.

When doing this, notice your tendencies in the rests. Are your hands frantic getting to the next downbeat, or are they calm and traveling in time? Are your eyes reading the music through or are they trying to look back and forth at your hands, wondering what should come next? All good and interesting things to pay attention to when multitasking.



How to Practice this at home

(Friendly reminder: A quarter note click for the Minuet means there are THREE beats per measure when you use a metronome)


Example practice session for tempo increase:


With Metronome on a quarter note click at 66. 

Play measures 1-8 (3x’s)


Without metronome on a quarter note click at 66. 

Measures 1-8 (3x’s)


*if you feel solid on these first 8 bars at this tempo, bump up the metronome to 70  to work on playing it faster. Use the “Downbeat only” method in the faster tempo to build the framework of the passage if you are having trouble. Once you can play the downbeats solidly, and in a consistent tempo, it will become easier to add in the rest. Your fingers will also recognize those downbeats as guide points, and will instinctively try to find their places without you thinking as hard about it.*


At this point, you should all be pretty comfortable with the first 8-16 measures of this piece. Take a look at the last 9 measures of the piece so we can discuss fingerings and bowings next class.


Maryruth BarnettComment