. CELLO-RELATIONSHIP .



.THE CELLIST AND THE CELLO: A (COMPLICATED) RELATIONSHIP....

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No matter how it started....

Passion
or
Friendship

....you and your cello are on a committed relationship

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PASSION
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"Somehow the cello is both the best and the worst thing that has happened to me..."

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FRIENDSHIP
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"At first I was not very much into cello playing but through the years my feeling changed, and my life too!"

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9 TIPS FOR A HAPPY AND LONG LASTING CELLO-RELATIONSHIP!

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#cellorelationship
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1. QUALITY TIME

Quality vs Quantity ...
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Life has become busy these days. Between school/work, meetings, family, friends, social media and so on, there are hardly enough hours left in a day for spending time with your cello. 

Organise your practice schedule by topics, but always keep time for romance ;)

Technique time 
Romantic time 

Make every minute count! Always make a small list of your daily goal, it helps not getting frustrated by too much thinking or things to do.

Date night ;)
Romantic repertoire helps you connect with your feelings. Choose and easy piece you particularly like, listen to the tone of the instrument, sing together.
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2. COMPROMISE

Only blaming yourself or your cello will not fix the problem but the opposite...
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"My cello is not good

I don't like my strings

My bow is too weak"

"I sound bad

I am always too tense

I can't do spiccato"

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First of all, identify the problem. Do not adjust the cello to you but the opposite. Your body is your Stradivarius, learn how to use your body in an optimal way.

Tip about the bow: your bow needs good tension. Tense your bowwhen you need quick answers from the strings/your cello.

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3. LISTEN

...you are the only one who can make the relationship work! 

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Do not only look, FEEL! Use your ears, more than your eyes...

Eyes closed, observe from what you feel your posture, movement breathing. Your body is your sound.

Develop analytical skills 

What to listen to...

Pay attention to the vibration of your strings.

How does your cello respond: too slow? Too difficult to play? Discuss your issues with a luthier, or two...

- Before making changes on your cello, try to change the way you sound your string, with less or more pre​ssure on the string, speed, weight.

Keep your body posture optimal, record yourself with video. Be your own teacher.

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4. FUN TIMES - HOLIDAYS

Feed your music, feed your life!
Breaks and holidays...
Have Fun!
Non-guilty days or holidays without playing cello are also important!
Take a day off* regularly, do something else, enjoy other activities without your cello.
​ *A day off is not a day where you think you should practice but you don't, a day off is a day where you plan not to practice and don't think about it all day, guilt free ;)

If you cannot take breaks, you might have Obsessive Cello Disorder ;) be careful with burnout...

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5. KEEP AN OPEN MIND - EXPERIENCE

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People change and relationships change all the time, be curious, learn from other experiences.

  • Listen to different interpretations, welcome them and try to understand the point of view of the performer without judging.

  • Try different set-ups, instruments, accoustics etc. ! PLaying a different instrument forces you to listen to the sound of the cello with new ears, finding how to interact with the cello, how to adjust etc. Here are a few exemples of experiences to make...
- Baroque cello
- Electric cello
- 5 strings cello
- New cello
- New bow

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You might fall in love with another cello/bow or not. This experience will lead you to another chapter of your cello life.  

Get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself! 

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6. HEALTHY CONFLICTS

Expectations and reality...
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If there is no problem, there is no solution...
Facing conflict is a way to keep learning, to grow together. We sometimes have a tendency to expect too much from ourselves or others.
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Accept those little conflicts as challenges to become a better person and cellist!


When you do not expect people to be perfect or who you want them to be; you can love them for who they are...

> it is the same with your cello, and with yourself ;)

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7. PATIENCE

Learn how to deal with frustration...

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Keywords to help you deal with frustration

  • Persistence

  • Open-mindedness

  • Dedication

Breathe, breathe, breathe!
3 deep breathing will not only help you calm down, but it will also allow your brain to analyze and understand the problem you are facing. Hitting your head on the wall will only hurt ;)

8. TRUST

Trust issues and self confidence issues...

How to trust, who to trust...

  • The better you know yourself the better you can take the decisions which are best for you, and the better you can trust yourself.
  • The better you know your cello, the better you will know it's limit and potential, know what you can expect, what you can ask.
  • Trusting others is also important in order to get other opinions and advice. Having teacher, colleagues, luthiers you can trust will help you find solutions when you can't solve a problem by yourself.


9. ACCEPTATION & COMMITMENT

I dont care how complicated this gets, you and me, c'est pour la vie!
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Cello goals and commitment

When you decide to commit to your cello on a professional level, this relationship takes another dimension. The cello becomes your work partner, you take competitions, auditions, play concerts, practice for hours and hours.
Always together, next to each other on the plane, restaurants, metro, carrying it on your back. "Cello" might even have a name.
But one day you might also see that your cello is a mirror that reflects your strengths and weaknesses. From that day, your cello will be a beautiful tool for self development but also the most challenging one. Do not give up, because the better you will feel, the more free you will play.

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To all my colleagues, amateur and professional : Good luck on your cello-relationships!

Marianne Dumas / The cello practice helper



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