Things I have learned while learning to play the cello

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  1. I am not enormously aware of where my arms are.
  2. My arms don't like being above my head for long.
  3. My brain rejects all scales other than the major and tries to take over my fingers when necessary.
  4. The side of my thumb isn't happy holding down strings.
  5. Turns out that lines-and-squiggles music notation is reasonably logical and straightforward.
Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 7340
    In answer to point 1 - have you tried looking above your head.

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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    It's OK if I can see them - but when they're out of sight they tend to do their own thing. One of the exercises I'm doing is moving both arms in circles, either the same way or opposites, getting back to the strings in time with the music. Every so often I can't work out where one or t'other is, which gets confusing.
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • 4& 5 - agreed. My brief double bass experience hurt my sensitive thumb. But I'm still learning to read on bass guitar, and it a simple 10 mins per day approach solves almost all problems.
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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4700
    I used to have trouble holding my arms above my head for long periods of time - like working on ceiling roses for lights or putting up rails for curtains.. but I found olympic lifting or even just kettle bell blasters and swings got rid of that really easily.
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    Lines and squiggles isn't too bad for cello - three of the strings are on the top, middle and bottom line respectively.
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • Also - Guitars are cheap
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  • If you think your left hand thumb is hurting, you wait until you graduate onto slap cello....

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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    Also - Guitars are cheap
    Gawd yes - I didn't buy a particularly posh cello but it was more expensive than any of my guitars. The bow was more expensive than some of them!
    If you think your left hand thumb is hurting, you wait until you graduate onto slap cello....
    Please tell me that's not a thing. I'm sleep deprived and have anxiety issues already!
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • Why are your arms above your head? I don't recal many cellos being played that way...?
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    It's a loosening-up exercise, and making me more aware of where my arms are. I move them in big circles, coming back to the instrument on the beat to twat at one or other string.

    I suspect I need to do some moderate weights work to get that bit going properly.
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • PlectrumPlectrum Frets: 181
    Sporky said:
    It's a loosening-up exercise, and making me more aware of where my arms are. I move them in big circles, coming back to the instrument on the beat to twat at one or other string.
    You're not being taught cello by Pete Townshend by any chance are you @Sporky? :)
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    No, but the same image had struck me!
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • GassageGassage Frets: 17341
    6. My cello teacher says I need to keep my legs together, rather like my mother should have done.

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • RockerRocker Frets: 1730
    @Sporky, good on you to learn another instrument.  Get yourself a copy of The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green & W. Timothy Gallwey.  Green explains a lot on technique including controlling forearm tension etc. etc.

    Barry Green played Bass in orchestras so he knows what he is trying to describe.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • JayGeeJayGee Frets: 313
    Plectrum said:
    Sporky said:
    It's a loosening-up exercise, and making me more aware of where my arms are. I move them in big circles, coming back to the instrument on the beat to twat at one or other string.
    You're not being taught cello by Pete Townshend by any chance are you @Sporky? :)
    He could do worse. Townshend is reputed to have bought himself a cello and taught himself to play it well enough to record stringy bits on Quadrophenia in a fortnight... 

    ...and yes, I know that's not what you meant. :-)
    Don't ask me, I just play the damned thing...
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  • Why are your arms above your head? I don't recal many cellos being played that way...?
    It's the Hendrix behind-the-head method. I bet chewing the strings tastes nasty with the bow-rosin as well ...
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    Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!
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  • IMO the problem with cellos is they are tuned in 5ths so none of your guitar or electric bass scale patterns work. What would happen if you tuned it in 4ths?
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs.
    Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!
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  • PC_DavePC_Dave Frets: 528
    edited February 2016
    IMO the problem with cellos is they are tuned in 5ths so none of your guitar or electric bass scale patterns work. What would happen if you tuned it in 4ths?
    The Earth would implode. Fact.
    This week's procrastination forum might be moved to sometime next week.
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    IMO the problem with cellos is they are tuned in 5ths so none of your guitar or electric bass scale patterns work.
    Actually, I like that - it forces me not to use the same patterns and to think everything from scratch. As a result I'm relearning a lot of theory that I knew back in piano playing days but have let slip since.

    My teacher uses Moshi Monsters on a circular stool to help with scales. I think she mostly teaches small children. It does work though!
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • IMO the problem with cellos is they are tuned in 5ths so none of your guitar or electric bass scale patterns work. What would happen if you tuned it in 4ths?
    You would have a Piccolo bass
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1143
    Sporky said:
    My teacher uses Moshi Monsters on a circular stool to help with scales. I think she mostly teaches small children. It does work though!
    That sounds awesome, could you please elaborate?
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    Basically she has one Moshi Monster for each note on the Do Re Mi scale. Each is a different colour. They are spaced around the outside edge of the stool, either close together to indicate a semitone or further apart to indicate a whole tone. Also for the especially thick students (ie me) she has little post-it notes in the same colours, with Do, Re, Mi etc written on them.

    The stool can then be rotated so that either Do (for the major scale) or La (for the natural minor scale) is closest to the aforementioned thick student, so that he can see the intervals in sequence. Because otherwise my brain intercepts my hands and tries to change the intervals to those of a major scale. If I just play the notes the monsters tell me to  - without trying to interpret it conciously - then it works.

    After a few goes of that I could concentrate on getting each note in tune, because I'd (for want of a more accurate description) programmed the note sequence into my brain so that when it heard the notes they matched a pattern and made sense.

    I can probably draw it if that'd help. I've also been playing the different scales on guitar so that I'm familiar with how they sound without having to simultaneously worry about getting my fingers in the right places to get each note in tune.

    This may well help my guitarring at the same time.
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 14457
    Things I have learned while trying to learn to play drums:

    1. Drums is hard.
    3. My english not so great.
    4. Where did 2. go?
    2. There it is.
    5. There is no such thing as independence, it is interdependence that you learn.
    "Stop touching my magic bone."
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1143
    Ah, that's a cool way of explaining modes, an evergreen topic! :)
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    Aye - it did occur to me that it had some relevance to modes. Not that I've ever really understood modes beyond "play the wrong scale for the key".
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • Sporky said:
    Aye - it did occur to me that it had some relevance to modes. Not that I've ever really understood modes beyond "play the wrong scale for the key".
    No really, that's it. You've already nailed it.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • SporkySporky Frets: 9727
    It's the silly names they get given that confuse me. Also (again) trying to let my fingers play the wrong scale without my brain taking over. There's a lot of deprogramming to do!
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • I think a key (hah!) point is not to try to learn all the modes at once - just pick a couple that sound good to you and use them a lot. Since I'm guessing you already know Ionian and Aeolian (major and minor), getting the hang of just a couple more means you've learned half of them.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • SRichSRich Frets: 277
    Why are your arms above your head? I don't recal many cellos being played that way...?
    It's the Hendrix behind-the-head method. I bet chewing the strings tastes nasty with the bow-rosin as well ...
    In training for an ELO tour?..........

    "There's things I want, there's things I think I want 
    There's things I've had, there's things I wanna have" 
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  • octatonic said:
    Things I have learned while trying to learn to play drums:
    3. My english not so great.

    Ahhhh I see you have mastered the instrument :)
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