It’s the oddest thing. I am one day out of my orchestra’s season, and I feel utterly different sitting at the cello. I am able to focus on a different array of technical and psychological facets of playing – perhaps better ones, I’m not sure yet. It once again proves to me the inexorable link between the mind and the body.
Something I had attempted to describe to a student started to manifest itself as I was practicing – the role of the different right hand fingers. I said that the first and fourth fingers are not really doing the brunt of the work, they are more like steerers. It’s the second and third that are in the thick of it. Generally I’ve found I can demonstrate or describe things to students far more effectively than I can actually do them when left to my own devices. Teaching is so interactive. It is infectious. If I teach the kid something, I catch it too.

I also noticed that when I enhance my awareness of the right hand fingers, the left hand ones respond in kind. They become more sensitized. When the subtleties of the bow control increase, it gives me the possibility of finessing the touch of my left hand further. I often find my right hand/arm is my left hand/arm’s teacher.

originally published on 6/4/08

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