“Ghosty Bow” and Other Steps to Easy Playing

Laurence LesserOne of the trickiest parts of practice is effectively breaking down the difficulties into digestible bits. Lately, I’ve been having my students do what I call “ghosty bow”, where they move the bow just above the string while singing the music so as to practice bow changes without distractions from a funny note or a weird rhythm. Just today, I read an article from Laurence Lesser that suggests the same thing minus the funny name.

He’s full of good advice, like:

  • sing a musical line to hear where you naturally emphasize and back off
  • learn technique to make music more beautiful and natural, not to be a technician
  • link everyday, natural activities to motions on the cello. I especially appreciated the example of shifting from a high position to a low position.  Think about the motion of your hand when it goes from resting position to pointing at your nose and relate that hand/finger/forearm motion to your downshift.
  • notice the syllables you use to sing notes to inform your bow stroke and length

Happy practicing, everybody!