"The Cello" by Fred Melton

Last month my band, Goldfinch, played a FANtastic house show at the Melton's house in Wenatchee, WA. He pulled me aside before the performance to tell me he tucked a poem about the cello into my cello case. So wonderful! Well, I was busy getting ready for the show, so I didn't have a chance to read it until we were packing up for the night...

 

 

 

It brought me to tears. Mainly, because it was the perfect artistic touch to the end of a beautifully hosted evening of music. We were so welcomed by Fred and his family that the idea of receiving another beautiful gift (of poetry) was too much for me.

The Cello - by Fred Melton


When bow burdens string


You sing of unspeakable sorrow


And silence the noise surrounding my soul.


 

Thanks Fred & Elizabeth Melton. Your hospitality was astounding. Your poetry, the cherry on top!

7 Tips on Warming Up from Janet Horvath

 

[This the 4th of a 5-post series offering a chance to win one of 3 copies of Janet Horvath’s book, “Playing (Less) Hurt.” Scroll down for details on how to enter yourself to win.]

Just like any athlete, musicians need to warm up and stretch, before doing any strenuous practice. Warming up prepares your body for movement and gives your mind awareness of your body's capabilities for that day. Here are a few of Janet Horvath's must-haves for warming up.

Janet Horvath's Warm-Up Tips


Warming up is the single most important thing to do before playing, to avoid injury.

  1. Start by warming up away from the cello. Jumping jacks, a brisk walk or running up the stairs will do it.

  2. At the instrument start in the mid-range of the instrument – I start in forth position - and start playing not too high, not too low,not too fast and not too slow.

  3. Beginning with long slow shifts is good.

  4. Warm up slowly and carefully avoiding knuckle busting exercises or studies.

  5. Remember to release each finger after they have played. Use the least weight necessary topull the strings down.

  6. You may need more warm up time if you played a lot the previous day or if you are tired or if it is cold outside.

  7. Always listen to your body. If you are cold and tight it is a sign to go more slowly and carefully.


Janet Horvath is associate principal cello of the Minnesota Orchestra and the author of Playing (Less) Hurt - An Injury Prevention Guide For Musicians. An advocate for musicians, she is in demand for her trail- blazing seminars.

Do you have any favorite Warm-Up exercises?


 

How to win a copy a Janet’s book, “Playing (Less) Hurt”


1.  Click “Like” below this or any post from this week. Bonus smiles if you share with friends via facebook and twitter. (@playinglesshurt & @emilyapeterson)

2. Leave a comment on this post before May 19th 2011 at 12midnight PST. You don’t need to sign in, just make sure you leave your correct email address in your info – this is how I’ll get the shipping info from the 3 winners to the publisher.

- You can comment once for each post this week & enter yourself up to 5 times!

- An random number generator will reveal our 3 lucky commenters. I’ll announce the winners on Friday May 20th 2011. Be sure to subscribe to the blog (there’s an email option) to get the winning announcement.

 

6 Postural Pointers from Janet Horvath



This the 2nd of a 5-post series offering a chance to win one of 3 copies of Janet Horvath's book, "Playing (Less) Hurt." Scroll down for details on how to enter yourself to win. Here are Janet's thoughts on cello posture...


It is essential that any instrumentalist is vigilant about their posture at their instrument. Cellists tend to have low back problems due to sitting improperly and we are at a disadvantage that we cannot use the back support of a chair. Here are a few hints for sitting properly and comfortably with your cello.



  • Find a chair that is the proper height for you. Your knees should descend from your hips. Someone who is very tall may have sit on wedge shaped, firm cushions, or put “hockey pucks” under the chair legs, that is, square blocks of wood with a hole for the chair leg to increase the height of the chair.

  • Sit forward so that your feet are firmly on the floor and your weight is forward and on your feet. If you can stand up without having to rearrange your feet you are on the right path.

  • Your back should have a lumbar curve that you naturally have when you are standing. Slumping, or over arching can cause problems.

  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed and your torso facing forward.

  • Turn the cello gently with your knees to play on the A or C strings not your body, as that twists your spine.

  • Keep your head facing forward and avoid cocking, dropping or tilting your head or letting your chin jut out.





Janet Horvath is associate principal cello of the Minnesota Orchestra and the author of "Playing (Less) Hurt - An Injury Prevention Guide For Musicians." An advocate for musicians, she is in demand for her trail-blazing seminars.

 

How to win a copy a Janet's book, "Playing (Less) Hurt"


1.  Click “Like” below this or any post this week. Bonus smiles if you share with friends via facebook and twitter. (@playinglesshurt & @emilyapeterson)

2. Leave a comment on this post before May 19th 2011 at 12midnight PST. You don’t need to sign in, just make sure you leave your correct email address in your info – this is how I’ll get the shipping info from the 3 winners to the publisher.

- You can comment once for each post this week & enter yourself up to 5 times!

- An random number generator will reveal our 3 lucky commenters. I’ll announce the winners on Friday May 20th 2011. Be sure to subscribe to the blog (there’s an email option) to get the winning announcement.

 

Playing (Less) Hurt BOOK GIVEAWAY!

This week on the blog Janet Horvath is graciously offering some seasoned advice to us cellists/instrumentalists. Woohoo!  Get ready for some solid pointers on Posture (Monday), Warming Up (Wednesday), Making It Easy (Thursday).  Tuesday I'll focus our Weekly Round-Up around Janet's Book. To celebrate all this...

We're giving away 3 copies of Janet Horvath's book "Playing (Less) Hurt."


You guys, this book is chalk-full of injury susceptibility quizzes, diagrams of tendonitis, in-depth descriptions of how carpal tunnel syndrome (and other conditions) is caused and healed in musicians, preventative and restorative approaches, teacher guidelines, backstage stretches, and so much more. Phew!

A little about Janet (from her website):


Janet, associate principal cello of the Minnesota Orchestra for three decades, is also a soloist, chamber musician, writer and award-winning advocate for injury-prevention. A trailblazer in speaking and writing about the physical stresses experienced by musicians, she has contributed significantly to the well-being, knowledge and health of teachers and students, and of professional and amateur musicians at all levels, genres and disciplines. She received the gold medal in 2009 from the Independent Publishers Awards in the health category. She received the 2001 Performing Arts Medical Association's Richard Lederman Award at the nineteenth Annual Symposium on the Medical Problems of Musicians and Dancers, Aspen, Colorado. Ms. Horvath also received the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and 2007. She travels widely giving her popular and well received seminars and lectures. She lives in St. Paul MN.

How to Win:


1.  Click “Like” below this or any post this week, including this one. Bonus brownie points if you share with friends via facebook and twitter. (@playinglesshurt & @emilyapeterson)

2. Leave a comment on this post before May 19th 2011 at 12midnight PST. You don’t need to sign into anything, just make sure you leave your correct email address in your info – this is how I’ll get the shipping info from the 3 winners to the publisher.

- You can comment once for each post this week & enter yourself up to 5 times!

- An random number generator will reveal the 3 lucky commenters. I’ll announce the winners on Friday May 20th 2011. Be sure to subscribe to the blog (there’s an email option) to get the winning announcement.