In a previous post , I addressed the technical issues faced by cellists with "double-jointed" more correctly, hypermobile left-hand fingers. An equally common problem that you'll see on cellists with otherwise decent bow-hold setups is a hypermobile right fourth finger that "buckles" on the bow. What do I mean by "misconception"? Well, I've heard a lot of teachers say that the index finger, fourth finger, and thumb are the fingers that "hold the bow up" so it doesn't fall. The force of gravity is on our side: In most cases, the fourth finger can sit relaxedly aside the ring finger without overworking.
The second part of this is the hand and finger shaping. Buckling happens when the cellist's finger touches the bow at a sub-optimal part of the finger, as shown in this photograph of one of my students, J. Some people find this painful and some don't; either way, it's tense and we ought to avoid it. Looking at this from a side view, you can see because the bow hair is "flat" on the string, the fourth finger of J's small hand is forced to touch the bow almost at its tip, violinist-style.
It's a nice idea, but it simply causes too many other problems to be useful. There's a very simple solution to this very common problem: In the next picture, J. She's allowing the top joint of her fourth finger to come down the frog a bit so that the tip of her finger nestles in the hollow in the front of the frog. That way, a cellist can maintain good hand shaping without buckling the joint. I sometimes joke that this bow-hold has such a rounded position, you could take the bow out of the student's hand and replace it with a banana!
And because I always like to check the back view of both hands, here's what J's hand looks like from behind. Questions about the student's thumb placement? Check out my post Rethinking The Bow Hold. Turns out it's almost impossible to make a terrible bow hold when you're "spidering" up and down the stick There are some things that are quite common in beginning cello pedagogy that I don't like much. The beginning bow hold with the thumb under the frog, for example, which teaches--for no good reason--a habit that has to be unlearned later.
Another is the "left thumb as anchor," which teaches little hands to hit pitches chronically out of tune, and little ears to accept this poor intonation. I know why some otherwise good teachers are doing these things: But the fact is, poor setup leads to fundamental misunderstanding of how the body can be used to our advantage in playing the cello, and this in turn sets the student up for endless technical challenges later on.
It's not all doom and gloom, however. When I thought back to some of the exercises I was taught as a child, it seems that many of them make a lot of sense, even if children don't know what they're doing them for. When the teacher tests whether the student can stand up from a seated playing position without shuffling their feet or moving the chair, what they're actually doing is encouraging a balanced sitting position.
You simply can't stand up directly from sitting if your legs are splayed out or wrapped around the chair legs, or if you're hunched up. This is a great "reset" for those children who grow faster than their cello technique can keep up with. And a good reminder for teachers to keep checking whether the chair is at an ideal height! Another great "reset" is the "bow hold spider. You hold your bow with the stick vertically, and "walk" your fingers up and down it, sometimes while singing "Incy Wincy Spider" a song my American daughter assures me is called "Itsy Bitsy Spider" here in the United States.
It's harder to spider back to the frog than it is to spider to the tip! Back when I taught children in Saturday morning Suzuki classes, they always complained if I forgot to include Spider in our preliminary warm-ups. I may or may not have sometimes placed Life Saver candies on the tips of their bows Spider is a fun game, but what's so great about it is that it's practically impossible to do it with a bad bow-hold. I know this, because I just tried to do it. I tried supinating my hand, and almost dropped the bow!
I tried spreading my fingers in a widely-spaced, tense "claw," and I couldn't "walk" my fingers at all. I tried wedging my fingers together in a salute, and couldn't do it that way either. I tried "bracing" my fourth finger hard against the bow, and nearly whacked my bow into the wall. Holding the bow in a vice-grip? Neglecting to curve the fingers? Those don't work either.
Spider quite simply trains you to keep your fingers naturally spaced, curved, and relaxed on the bow, with thumb opposing the middle fingers, and the whole hand slightly pronated, playing-style. The takeaway from this is that despite all the misinformation about cello technique, there are certain exercises that are never-fail "resets" for your technique.
Of which the ever-helpful Spider is one. Want to know more about these resets? Open up Google and type in "Can I play cello if I The first thing that came up for me was " The answer is a resounding YES. Cello is for everyone. Humans come in all shapes and sizes and abilities, and that includes people with hypermobile joints. Technically, there's no such thing as a "double" joint, but I use the term because it's common parlance for a common problem. I'm no contortionist, but I do have mild hypermobility, to the delight of my Alexander Technique teacher and the other children at my elementary school.
Also, I've taught many college students with joints that can stretch way farther than mine. In cello playing, this manifests in fingers that buckle on the string and the bow, joints that lock painfully, excess tension, and pain. Here's a little slideshow of some of the different types of wrongness that can happen -- and these are just the ones that have happened to me. Not pictured is the very common problem of the locking pinky -- more on that in a minute. Click the arrows to scroll through Well, you could just ignore it, but that's not an option if it hurts or if you seriously want to improve.
You could do what I did with my hypermobile middle thumb joint: Not recommended, as this takes a long time and is very frustrating. Wait to see if you grow out of it. I don't recommend this either -- why wait until a habit is so entrenched as to be unbreakable, and you start hurting yourself?
The general consensus is that letting your fingers buckle is bad news. And yet there's so little information out there that can genuinely help the ambitious but confused super-bendy person. Find some exercises that encourage rounded finger shaping so that this becomes habit. I was excited to read this article by the violin teacher Lora Staples , where she encourages students to practice an exercise using a clothespin to build finger strength.
Inspired, I found one in my laundry closet and tried it. But after a few repetitions, the tendons of my wrist started hurting, so I had to go to the grocery store to seek one that was more loosely sprung. Even that kind of hurt. I did want to keep doing the exercise, however, because I was looking for solutions for my undergraduates, so I started thinking of other household objects that might do the same amount of good without causing pain.
The answer came to me while I was cleaning my bathroom -- the trigger of a spray bottle! I tried the exercise on that and it worked brilliantly. Much "softer" than a clothespin, but with the same good results. Avoid having the pad of the thumb press the cello neck.
Look at how your fingers come together naturally -- your thumb comes in sideways. Let it do this on the neck too. You can, especially at high speeds, play on the side of the string and still get a good sound. Try moving from finger to finger not by over-exercising the hand and fingers, but by thinking of the arm's weight as the agent that gets you from finger to finger-- like you're swinging from a bar at the gym.
Intonation and the Opposable Thumb. Playing the Cello "Naturally"? Ask Your Hands How. Copyright Miranda Wilson, No part of this post may be reproduced without the author's permission. The first car I ever drove was a Ford Telstar with a manual transmission. At first, I was terrified of grating the gears, stalling, or simply not being able to move at all except in mortifying bunny-hops.
After I'd figured out how to use the machinery, I realized that what frightened me more was steering the thing, parking it, judging how much space I needed to change lanes on the highway, and that sort of thing. My instructor was a cranky elderly lady who was fond of reciting "Remember the six positions of the two-car crash! You forgot to check! In front of you!
But eventually I was able to stop grating the gears, internalize the rules of the road, and pass my test on my third attempt I thought fondly of my driving the instructor recently when I was on a visit to a high school orchestra. The teacher had done a great job of instrumental instruction and aspects of musicianship such as complicated rhythm.
Love Is A Simple Thing, The Sound Of A Cello Singing. P1 Paris Exiles. Love Is A Simple Thing. Site Search · BACK · NEXT PAGE · NEXT PAGE · PURCHASE. This list is composed of popular cello songs that are designed to meet culture, making it simple to impress your friends and family when conducting vocals made this remarkably nostalgic love song extremely popular when it This tune is another well-known song that sounds amazing as a cello solo.
But I noticed that the majority of the students were buried in their music stands, barely looking up but for the conductor's cues. As a result, the ensemble's attacks weren't unified and the tempo got slower and slower. And it occurred to me that playing in any ensemble isn't unlike learning to drive a car. Once you've mastered the task of playing tolerably well and have practised your part and studied the full score so you know "how it goes," when you get to rehearsal your gaze needs to be moving constantly. Of course you're going to look at your stand, but you constantly have to glance at the conductor, the concertmaster, the section principal, and so on.
The History of Rock. Want to know more about these resets? The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Some bands, such as The Beatles , have a lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist and a bassist that all sing lead and backing vocals, that also play keyboards regularly, as well as a drummer. The percussion section includes the timpani , bass drum , snare drum , and any other percussion instruments called for in a score e. So how do you improve your tone after you've hit that wall? Here's a little slideshow of some of the different types of wrongness that can happen -- and these are just the ones that have happened to me.
You have to be able to memorize short passages from the score so you can look up to give and observe cues without losing your place. It's as if having mastered how the gears work, now you have to make sure you're looking at the road in front of you, potential hazards in the distance, the rear-view mirror, the side mirrors, etc, with only occasional glances at the speedometer to check you aren't over the limit.
Successful driving and successful ensemble playing depend on having learned to do the thing in itself, i. Someone comes in wrong in an ensemble? If everyone else is alert, adept at their own part, and knows the score well, they can "save" that person without having to stop. Making music is inherently exciting. It's like driving down the freeway at high speeds, changing lanes, passing other vehicles, knowing where you're going, dodging hazards.
When asked about it, Bruno said he was a fan of the band but it wasn't intentional. Same writer, though, you see — Swedish pop supremo Max Martin. But which song is the best? See where all of Britney's singles and albums charted in the UK here. Uh-oh, pick your corners — this is fan wars.
Pretty much everyone remembers the mild stink caused when Gaga released Born This Way in , the title track from her second album. Its message of motivation and self-belief was said to be reminiscent of Madonna's hit Express Yourself. Gaga at first said it was inspired by Madge's song, then said it wasn't, Madonna herself saw into the future and realised the best way to become immortalised in a GIF was to say the word "reductive" then sip some tea. Anyway, Madonna's song got to Number 5 and Lady Gaga's peaked at 3 — just to fuel the fire a little — and they do sound a little alike, and are both great, so well done both.
Popstars are always influenced by other artists and Uptown Funk — a little-known, under-played tune you may not have hard of — certainly owed some of its swagger to the Gap Band's classic song Oops Upside Your Head from Mark, Bruno and the other songwriters agreed and credited the older track's writers. It's all about the high-profile features!
Maroon 5's Don't Wanna Know , which reached Number 5 in has the "know-know-know" and Let Me Love You, which sent six weeks at Number 2 in early has the "nah-nah-nah" — sometimes that's all you need. But so are a lot of songs. Various sourced reported the Script weren't happy, but nothing came of it and James dismissed the controversy.
One's an empowering "we're through the I'm over you" anthem with a rousing chorus that would get an entire dancefloor pogoing in seconds and… so is the other. Little Mix's huge Shout Out to My Ex and GRL's debut hit from , Ugly Heart, share a certain vibe and would probably mix into each other very well as you danced in the club with someone else because your ex is a dog.
So why not enjoy both? Both confessional, although the Pet Shop Boys are definitely feeling a lot less guilty about being bad to the bone than RiRi.
Coming right up to date, when Zayn and Partynextdoor's Still Got Time starts up, do you not — for just a second — think it might be Drake's Passionfruit? Sadly, the number of people who will actually listen to us say this is quite small — but seriously, as each song goes into its chorus, there is something there.
Tay-Tay and 1D will be forever linked because of Haylor — the romance between Harry Styles and Taylor Swift that we all really need to get over. But haven't you noticed how similar Style and Perfect are?
They're on similar themes and, if you think about it, Perfect could pretty much be the answer record to Style. A few mashups have surfaced online which prove that while they may not be twins, they're certainly close cousins. Cyndi's smash Girls Just Want To Have Fun inspired a slew of hits across the s and even into the '90s, but you could still feel its influence 21 years into the future when Little Mix scored a Number 1 with the similarly empowering Black Magic.