Moving On


For the past few weeks, as I’m sure you all now, I’ve been working on the Bach minuet in Feuillard. I’ve greatly enjoyed having a single focus for my cello practice and going far more in depth with this song than I have with any other. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s Bach. I could listen to the same Bach song all day long indefinitely and never get tired of it — even if it’s a minuet played badly by me. Or even a single phrase in said minuet being worked on for hours. Somehow Bach’s Bach-ness always makes me happy.

I think my teacher picked this particular song for me to spend more time on because she’s like me and simply loves Bach. She seems to have particularly enjoyed teaching me as much as she can about this song. At the beginning she said we would work on this song until I can “play it the way I want to.” Of course, I think her idea of what I want and my idea of what I want are on opposite sides of the planet. She speaks often of the rather large gap between my musical ideas and my ability to apply them in my playing. Her apparent goal is for me to be able to consistently express those musical ideas, even if done less than ideally. Whereas I would prefer to keep working on this song until I sound nearly as good as she does. Preferably without working on anything else so that I am not distracted (after all, I never grow tired of Bach.)

So… guess who is now working on a new song! I do get one more week of this wonderful minuet, but then she wants to move on. Of course, what she wants me to work on this week is much more difficult than the previous weeks’ goals. Which makes me want to spend even more time on the song. *Sigh*

That being said, I really do like the new song. I’ve neither played nor listened to anything by Haydn before and am finding myself quite enjoying it.

And that being said, I really wish I didn’t have this song to distract me from Bach. It’s so much more gratifying learn a new song because it sounds so much better so much more quickly. Which is seriously irritating me, because I feel a compulsion to work on it rather than the Bach song, which currently requires much more in-depth technical practice and less progress at the moment. I relish it when I have nothing else to do, but any progress, if any, is so slow that if I have the option of instant gratification I take it. (And my husband wonders why I am always so frustrated about being human…)

I’m hoping that I quickly get through the instant gratification phase of the Haydn song so that I’m left with technical Bach practice or not-knowing-what-else-to-do-with-Haydn practice.

Reflecting on all this, I’ve realized a shift in attitude. I used to feel impatient, wanting to quickly move on from whatever I was doing. Before the Bach minuet I was feeling frustrated that I was stuck down in 4th position. Now, I wonder what the point is in learning the higher positions when none of it sounds how I want it to. Can’t I stay here for a while until I’m a better cellist? Yes, yes, I’m a far better cellist than I was a few weeks ago when I started the Bach song. It has amazed me how much I have learned with this song. Maybe my compulsion to move through the first have of Feuillard was because some part of me knew that I would learn well from Bach. I saw this song when I first got the book and couldn’t wait to play it. I counted down the songs left until I got there. I would practice hard to learn one, sometimes two, songs a week just so I would get to Bach faster. And now that I’ve gotten there, I’ve no desire to move on.


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