One of my favorite cello reads is Emily Wright’s Stark Raving Cello Blog. A freelance cellist and teacher in the Los Angeles area, she’s a great example of using the web to gave away great suggestions and encouragement while building her reputation as a teacher. Her summer “24 Scale Challenge” (see here, here, and here) project of playing all the major and minor scales every day using a universal fingering got me doing the same thing (it really works; I did it in four octaves, rather than three, and I eventually added in arpeggios, etc., something I used to do in my younger years).
It also inspired me to mandate that my DePauw students have all major and minor scales memorized for their jury exams this past weekend. I had my colleagues draw a slip of paper with a note name out of a bowl, something we’ve been doing in lessons and studio classes. The student enthusiasm for the project was noticeably less than my own, but all agree that it helped their playing. So we have Emily to thank (or blame).
Now Emily’s doing a Twelve Days of “Cellomas” series of tips (some of my conservative Christian friends may get touchy about messing with “Christmas” but really I think it’s a nice play on Christmas for cellists). It’s being updated daily, so just go to the home page of her blog and scroll down. Great idea, great tips so far, and–for those of us interested in this sort of thing–a great way to get traffic to her site. Most musicians make their living with multiple free-lance and part-time careers as players, teachers, concert-series directors, etc. Those of us who teach in conservatories and college music programs have an obligation (in my opinion) to prepare for life as musical entrepreneurs. Emily’s a great role model.
And a fine teacher, quite obviously. You go, girl!