Easy Lessons for First Practice

What I learned from 200 year-old “Easy Lessons” and Scales and Arpeggios for Cello, by: G. Cervetto.

As I read through the Treatise by Broderip & Wilkinson from c. 1783, several elements stood out. It took a couple of readings, a complete transcription into a fair and readable copy, entering all musical examples into a musical notation software program, and playing through them. Then I read much of it–some portions that I still fail to understand multiple times–again.

Today’s methods give beginners step-by-step instructions for every detail. Making it possible to understand basic principals of playing once you try out the concepts and practice them.

200 years ago the idea of describing a process seemed, apparently, to be superfluous. One only “needed” the general idea, that is, the starting point, a vague description of the middle, and the ending point. Either people were much more prone to thinking critically in a way that allowed them to work out the details themselves or the methods were meant to keep idiots away from noble things.

While the exercises, or, “Easy Lessons” (10 of them) are of themselves simple enough. There is nothing extraordinary or challenging about them if playing by an advanced cellist. However, when a Beginner is asked to play them, that is another story.

Podcast episode next:

I play the lessons in full and also address some of the challenges and the odd aspects in respect to beginning material. There are some preliminary exercises a Beginner can do to work through and up to the challenges of technique demanded of him.

Those technical challenges: 1) String Crossings; 2) Fingering–particularly playing the same fingering on successive strings; 3) Bowings

Tune in to the soon-coming Podcast Episode 33 of “Forgotten Cello Music”.

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