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Musical memory and its development
In pedagogical practice, quite often questions arise related to the memorization of a musical work and its performance from memory. Some students have a tenacious, strong memory; others grasping "on…

Continue reading →

Work on sound production in the cello class

It seems to the author of this article that the work on sound production on the cello is a complex large work of the teacher and student, consisting of many stages of the formation of ideas, feelings, skills and accumulated knowledge on this issue.
The sound production of a musician on an instrument, in particular, on a cello, is the musical “philosophy of the performer”.Without claiming to be unambiguous, I propose three theses on which my pedagogical and performing concept will be based on the formation and development of sound production skills on the cello.
The sound on the cello should be –
1. clean
2. smooth
3. beautiful
By revealing separately and in aggregate each of the three points, a certain philosophical concept of relations and ideas about sound production is built.
Within the framework of this article and the compactness of the presentation, it is not possible in the most detailed way from the point of view of theoretical explanations, musical examples and methods to reveal many questions, therefore the story about the problems will be in the form of the proposed ideas, theses and thoughts of the musician-teacher-performer.
Full and detailed material will be presented in the methodological manual of the author of the article – a graduate student of the St. Petersburg Conservatory named after ON. Rimsky-Korsakov, class of professor A.P. Nikitin, who is preparing for publication and will be dedicated to the memory of the professor of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, People’s Artist of the RSFR, cellist – Anatoly Pavlovich Nikitin.

From the first acquaintance and the first lessons on the cello, the teacher should pay great attention to the issue of forming the student’s ideas about the sound production on the instrument. It’s not uncommon that they begin to learn in a purely technological way – by “putting” a bow in the student’s hand and mastering the skills of playing on “open” strings – moving to the right and left, the wrist of the right hand “like that”, the elbow – “that way”, believing that the student will have to master the artistic and philosophical planes of the issue of sound production in the upper grades and on more detailed musical material.
I consider this position to be erroneous, since the skills of sound production on the cello lie in the musical plane, and music is the language that the student learns. Sound production is the “alphabet” and “phonetics” of a musician, which, having formed in the human brain at the level of sensations, perceptions and skills, if they are not formed fully, then it will be very, very difficult to fix it in the future. Practice shows and confirms that it is practically impossible to correct the student’s “poorly formed” skills at a primitive literal motor level! Only in connection with the internal prerequisites and the correctly chosen path of development of the musician from the first lessons give the “fruits” of the true sound of the cello and the full development of the musical language in a person, from the point of view of methodology, theory, performance and many other important issues of music.
Regardless of the “pace” of the student’s development, one should carefully, painstakingly and for a long time deal with the questions of setting hands when playing the cello, since experiencing “new” motor sensations for the brain, there is “time” for accumulating, strengthening and developing the primary skills of the game. And it seems to me that, due to the neurophysiological aspects of the brain, when engaged in something fundamentally “new” and “unfamiliar,” as our brain “gets used to”, a person will cease to receive the latest sensations from playing with a bow constantly and some arsenal of primary skills it will be affirmed in the “head” and “muscles” of the student – which will be very difficult subsequently to give in to correction and correction “from the outside”.
Simply put, when learning a new language – in order to speak it and you are understood at the same time – you need to learn the letters and their combinations correctly, which will allow you to later master words, build sentences and create meanings – which language is music to the full extent. Having studied musical letters correctly, these are notes, and combinations of notes from two or more – musical motifs – playing with a bow – these are words and sentences – a student who can develop to the level of a performer will be able to freely, constantly improving the musical language, play music from different eras and authors – music of various styles and directions.

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