CELLO, A KIND OF YOGA?


Connect with  your cello... 

If you are familiar with my posts, you probably saw pictures of my cello on a yoga mat. It’s not only for the picture...

.

Why Yoga?

Yoga = to bind, to join, to unite




-> CONNECT WITH YOUR INNER VOICE,  
SING THROUGH YOUR CELLO.



I. CONNECT YOUR BODY AND YOUR MIND

Yoga, a way to restraint of the agitation of thoughts. 

(In the Yoga Sutra, definition of yoga by sage Pantajali)

.
FIRST EXERCISE: 

 Practice awareness and optimize your practice / playing.

  • Your posture

Observe your posture by looking from the inside, close your eyes and scan your body posture, feel.

Here is an example of check list:

 FEET

- Feel connected to the floor. Observe: is your weight more on your heel? toes? Balanced? More on the outside part of your feet? inside part?  Once you find your balance, take 10 seconds, breathe and keep going...


SITTING BONES

-How is your overall balance now? Are you seating on your sitting bones? Is your upper body/spine centered or are you more toward one side in particular? Find your balance, breathe, and keep scanning…


LOWER BACK

How is the camber of your lower back? Use your abs to keep your stomach in ;), many times when we correct our lower back posture it also influence the upper part and neck, breathe and let’s go on…

 

SHOULDERS

What about your shoulders? Scan each shoulder and see where your body leads you. If you already started working on the posture of your shoulder blades make sure they are supported by your back muscles. Breathe...

 

NECK & HEAD

How is the position of your neck and your head? Forward? Looking more toward the right? How is the back of your head? Observe with your senses, breathe.


Once you finished the scan you will notice that you feel a lot more aware of your body, your respiration is calm and you feel ready to have a good practice time!


Now that your mind and your body are connected, it is time to connect with your instrument...

Note: 

About cello posture, you can also read the posts about the arches of our hands, and also about the shoulder blades if you haven't... 

.

.

II. CONNECT WITH YOUR CELLO



Your cello is not a marionette

You are not a ventriloquist... 

The sound of the cello is Your voice...

..

.

The ideal position is when you feel free to move, your cello is stable, and you feel very connected with the floor through your feet.

Depending on your preference, body type, cello, it can be through your feet (my favourite) or through the back of your chair and your feet (the second option is not recommended if you are not tall and if you don’t like to play with a long endpin).

See the strings of your cello as if they were your vocal cords. If you really want to sing through your cello, you should be able to breathe with your cello so your body is connected with your movement/singing/playing.

.

III. Connect with your inner voice/inner song, yourself.

.


.

There is no right or wrong in art, be yourself and let your soul speak. 

Stop the judge, do not judge yourself, and do not judge others because they are different or because you don't share the same vision...

You are unique, do not copy, be true, imagine, create, sing, be free!


Find what inspires you, 

what makes your eyes shine, 

in which situation you feel the most yourself, 

with whom, by doing what, 

feed that part of you, trust yourself, be yourself!


You might also want to read: CONTROL AND FREEDOM




IV. BUILDING A STRONG TECHNIQUE




There is no access to freedom in your playing if your movements are not free. 

Your posture is the first step to practice, knowing how you want to phrase and having a musical idea of the piece is the second, practicing to let your inner voice sing is the third... 

Slow, slow, slow, print the right commands in your brain, do not over play. Playing/corrrecting playing/correcting over and over doesn't help, you will lose attention and make your muscles tired. 


Analyse, find every spot you need to focus on, understand what is the movement and posture problem, fix it, understand how to move from one position to the other, etc.

Do not raise the tempo as long as you don't really feel free playing it slow... 

 



My favorite technique book : Feuillard daily exercises 


I used to start my practice with 1,5 hour of daily exercises,  the book is always on my music stand and all the cellist who come to work with me are on the same diet.

My favorites numbers: Nº 2 to Nº 9 - Nº 15 & 16 - Nº28 & 29 -Nº33 and last (but not least) Nº35 starting down bow or/and up bow.


Of course, scales and arpeggios should also be part of the diet! 

Piatti, Duport, Dotzauer, Popper, Grutzmacher, Sevcik, Cossman etc. are wonderful companions to improve your technique but only once your posture is ready. Do not go into challenging repertoire if the arches of your hand are not strong enough or if your shoulder-blades are winged, you might hurt your tendons and muscles.




V. THE BACH CELLO SUITES! 


BACH IS OUR BUDDHA


Don't be scared of playing Bach! 

Experiment, get out of your comfort zone. 

The more you play Bach, the more you get to know yourself and your cello. 


Read a post with tips and suggestions on how
to practice the Bach Cello Suites:

VI. IT IS A JOURNEY, 
DON'T BE IN A HURRY, ENJOY THE RIDE!




The first thing you learn when you start yoga is patience, and that there is no perfect posture, it is a journey where you aim toward something but you don't put any limit, follow your body and your breathing.

It is the same with cello playing.... No matter our level, there is always something new to learn even in the most basic technique (I would even say especially in the basics!).
  • For example: open strings
 The more you practice open strings the more you will get to know your cello. Do not adapt the set up of your cello to your technique but the opposite. Experiment pressures, tension, weight... Face frustration as a chance to learn something new from it.

I could keep writing, but it is time to go back to my cello, and probably time for you too... ;)



Voila, another post. I hope it can be of any help/inspiration for some of you. Again, this is just my vision of the instrument... I am not trying to convince anyone, just sharing my personal research for my students and those interested.
If you want to work on this with me in Berlin or online, feel free to send me a message.
Marianne

If you want to be informed about new posts, follow or like the TCPH on facebook (clic "see first" if you want to see the new posts I don't pay for advertizing).



This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without autorization of the author.



Feel free to Share your ideas & comments on the comment box below...
 
:)
Next posts will be about

The Cello Practice Helper on Facebook