This week has been a bit odd for me. A couple minutes before I needed to leave for my lesson on Sunday my grandfather called wanting to plan out a very brief (ie. six hour) last minute visit to California. So, this coming Saturday I will get to see him, although I still need to figure out all the details of his rather short visit. Then I arrived late-for-me to my lesson (basically, right on time) which kinda threw me off, but I was actually quite okay with my playing (and so was my teacher.) Maybe I need to get thrown off more often?? Somehow during the lesson every time she had me try something new I did it just right every single time. Usually when I do new things I fail for a good while before making a barely noticeable amount of progress and then I am usually able to make significant progress at home and she helps me refine it over the next few lessons. But Sunday was just weird with me just kinda getting it with everything.
Now I keep getting the feeling that something ominous is about to happen cello-wise. Things just shouldn’t be this easy! I’m working on a new song now which is in A-flat major. She warned me that this song was quite tricky to get the intonation right and it is in many ways much harder than anything else I’ve done. So, of course, over the last couple days of practicing my intonation has been gorgeous in this song. Not just good, but most of the time dead on without having to correct, as if my fingertips have been being magically pulled to just the right places on the fingerboard. I keep feeling like I must be doing something wrong, although I know I’m not and really am playing this song better than I’ve played my other songs in the past. But, being me, I won’t just enjoy the ease of my current progress. Instead I have to remind myself that this won’t last and that usually times like this precede a great deal of difficult, not just in cello but in life. So, now I’m waiting for the other cello shoe to drop.
My teacher has also been talking to me a lot about intonation. Not in the normal sense of things, but to tell me to stop worrying about it. She pointed out, correctly, that I have a terrible fear of bad intonation (actually, it’s more like a terrible fear of even slightly imperfect intonation.) She told me that I absolutely have to stop worrying about it because it’s getting in the way of my musicality (again, she’s right.) So maybe I’ve been succeeding at not worrying about it so much this week and as a result my intonation has been better and so has everything else in my playing? I’m not sure.
We also talked about my pesky inflexible fingers and my lack of patience with them. She keeps trying to get me to be okay with the fact that my fingers are not yet where I want them to be, pointing out that it took her years of constant (as in hours a day) stretching and she even told me that it took her teacher about 10 years of playing before her fingers were comfortable extending. She keeps trying to point out that I’ve only been playing a year and have made faster progress than anyone else she’s ever known so I really shouldn’t worry about it. I, on the other hand, can’t help but think about my extremely late start and how good she will be at 27 and how good her teacher was at 27 and, ridiculously, use that as a standard. She really hasn’t caught on to the the fact that I’m completely determined that my couple-decades-late start isn’t going to mean that I won’t be as good of a cellist as I could have been had I started as a child.
And with that, I’m off to take my mommy to the doctor…