This week we've been focusing attention to crucial but small changes in individual lessons. With a few students these changes are seen in their new postures (see below) but with others it's been changes to practice and performance mindsets.
Small Changes in End Pin Placement of the Cello
Cliff and I made a couple changes to his cello placement yesterday. By both extending the end pin and connecting it further away from his toes on the floor (and a little to his right) you can see how this makes the chest-connection with the cello is slightly lower. These two changes are mainly seen in how his torso is propelled into the cello (just slightly) and the plain on which his fingers are traveling.
Lynn Harrell has a great example of how similar small changes in your end pin placement has a huge difference in your sound... (See the video below)
Paradigm Shifts in Practice
This might end up sounding a bit "woo-woo" to you, but if you don't practice with the end goal in mind, getting there will be so much harder. The end goal is not "Yes, I can play these notes." The end goal I'm talking about is "This song is a beautiful, freely flowing, and the exact representation of _________ that I imagine in my head." Push yourself to see the bigger picture.
If your thought process during practice is "This is so [bleep]in' hard!" then stress, guilt, and tension will be the foundation of how you will inevitably play the piece. On the other hand, if your thought process includes "Someday this will be easy and flow freely and sound exactly like _______." then getting to that point of confidence and ease will be much more tangible.
So when you find yourself holding excess tension or awkwardness, ask yourself if your mindset has anything to do with it. and then regardless of your answer, take a deep breath. Seriously. Breathe.