Posted tagged ‘cello’

Our experience with outdoor performance

March 8, 2011

A couple of weeks ago our trio, Trio Al Dente, performed at a local outdoor event, Classical Meets Jazz.  The event has enjoyed much success for about 10 years. Imagine a lovely warm summer day, sitting outdoors, listening to a variety of music whilst eating your picnic lunch.  Sounds very relaxing and enjoyable doesn’t it?

It had rained all day on the day before our performance.  We were unsure whether the event would even proceed or not  early that morning.  The forcast suggested the rain would mostly clear. The organiser made the decision: it would go ahead.

From a player’s point of view it was not at all pleasant.  The wind tore through the stage area, threatening not just to blow the music off the stands (it was pegged on) but to blow the stands themselves over! They were pretty sturdy ones too. Our pianist needed not just a page turner, but someone to hold the music down during the whole time she was playing. At one point our cellist’s music blew off the stand completely. He just kept going as if nothing had happened and picked it up when the piece finished! Meanwhile, I just pinned the music to the stand with the scroll of my violin. 🙂 The stage was covered from above, but completely open at the front and a couple of times rain fell on the performers.  How the grand piano survived I’m not sure. It was well under the shelter though so I think that was what helped protect it. My violin was not as fortunate though.  😦

From the audience point of view, it was a different story. They were well rugged up.  Many had not only brought blankets to sit on but also to wrap themselves in. They could buy coffee and barbequed sausages – they definitely were not suffering too much!  From comments we heard later, we discovered that the sound had been very good, the atmosphere of the event was wonderful and people enjoyed it.

So was an outdoor performance a good idea?  If we had trusted our own instincts we would have said “Not in that kind of weather”! However, the audience reponse and comments seem to prove that sometimes you just have to keep going even if it’s tough.

Will we do it again? Ah, you’ll just have to wait and see………..

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Little things matter

April 18, 2010

I recently gained a new adult cello student. He came back this week for his second lesson complaining of a sore wrist in his bowing arm.  A bit of a puzzle!

In the course of the lesson I began to explain again the technique of the right hand in holding the bow and the position of the bow on the string. I explained that he needed to have the bow hair parallel with the floor as he lowered it on to the string.

He gave a sudden exclamation, “Oh, I thought the hair had to be flat against the string!”  The “aha!” moment! A simple adjustment to the postion of the hand and away he went, with a far more relaxed (and correct) bow hold.

How vigilant we need to be as teachers, continually monitoring our students technique to make sure they are on the right track!


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