Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Further instructions for the cello section

Another installment of Tom Zebovitz's messages for his cello section:

Dear Fellow Cello Anything But Mellow Players,
First of all, I want to point out that the term "sectionals" does NOT mean: "Don't bother showing up." This is an opportunity to play your instrument the entire rehearsal, something unheard of, unless you play violin, in which case you generally find yourself fervently wishing the break would arrive sooner. I assume all of you are like me, wanting to get as much quality time with your instrument as possible whenever it is in contact with your body.
So, dudes: Play On!
All others need not read beyond this point, unless you wish to be enlightened about the Cellists' Philosophy to Living Life in the Bass Clef with the Occasional Trip to Trouble in Treble Hell.
OK, Kids, I promise we will have a great time in the cello sandbox Wednesday night. The first item on the docket is about self-discovery and Zen. Really, it is! We will do some rhythm investigations that will give you insight into why and how we play the way we do. Come with an open mind and we will expand your horizons.
Please reread the first sentence of the first paragraph of this communique. This will work if all of us are present. So, shampoo your hair, do your nails, finish that report on Tuesday so you can be present, physically and cosmically, on Wednesday. I know I will.
It's important to note that the reason we will be taking a walk on the wild side of rhythms is because of the Serenade. I do sense some resistance to the piece, but, hey! That's human nature; it's modern. Having said that, I view it as a learning experience. We will all be better and more versatile musicians when we not only understand the unusual patterns in the Serenade, but when we also cut loose our dependence on beats 1 and 3. Realizing that any beat, or off beat, can be The One is liberating.
And, once we can let go of conventional beat thinking, the Beethoven, which has its own rhythmical challenges will line up like a bunch of baby ducklets going for their first dip. Beethoven will be about technique, such as playing softly and beautifully. The focus is on movements 2 and 3. We will also come to understand that it isn't a polycello concerto for 12 different cellists. Rather is the heartbeat of the orchestra pulsing as one powerfully understated instrument. Our section is a community, the friendly neighborhood in Orchestraville.
Don't you just want to vomit???
See you Wednesday, all of you. If you die, you still have to bring a note from your mortician.
“ Fine art doesn’t just happen. It requires an act of inspired, participatory creation.”
—Maybe Ansel Adams, maybe not!

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