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Cello Lessons: Long Tones

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This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Multi-Style Cello with Mike Block. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Cello Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

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[MUSIC]
Let's dive a little
deeper into long tones.
I'm going to set up the metronome and
remember the basic premise of long
tones is we're going to have a smooth,
even, continuous sound with
as slow a bow as possible.
Which will bring us very
close to the bridge.
Which develops our fine bow control.
[MUSIC]
Always make sure you're breathing fully,
in and out, during a long tone, so
that you're as relaxed as possible.
[MUSIC]
You can even count
the clicks to see how
long your bow is.
[NOISE] And see if over time you can start
to extend how long you hold your bow.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16.
So that little bubble in the sound that
I have, that's what we want to avoid.
It's obviously not the end of the world.
But you wanna sort of learn all
the adjustments you have to make to
keep the bow moving evenly.
As you practice this with the metronome,
try different strings because they
all have different thicknesses and
require a slightly different you
know engagements of the bow arm.
One thing that I find helpful to think
about is when I'm pulling a really long
bow I think about leading with the upper
arm for the bottom half of the bow.
And then for the upper half of
the bow I'm gonna open from my elbow.
Let me just show you that on the D string.
So I got the down bow.
I'm leading the whole upper arm is moving,
and now that I'm halfway,
I'm gonna open from the elbow.
Now I'm gonna close the elbow for the
upper half again, and starting halfway,
I'm gonna start bringing my bicep in.
Then I'm gonna bring my bicep out for
the lower half.
Halfway through I'm gonna
open from the elbow now.
Now I'm gonna close from the elbow.
[MUSIC]
And
when I get halfway my
bicep is gonna head in.
[MUSIC]
Think about that as you're doing long
tones so that you're really
using your arm effectively.
A couple more things to
think about with long tones.
I want you to think about contrary motion.
On a downbow sometimes I
like to lean to the left.
And on an up bow, I'll lean to the right.
And that helps really lean in and
sort of engage the sound from two levels.
You've got arm weight coming down,
and you're also leaning
the instrument into the arm.
So that can increase your volume.
Let me demonstrate.
So I'm gonna lean to
the left on the down bow
[MUSIC]
And lean to the right on the up bow.
[MUSIC]
The hardest part of long
tones are the bow changes.
And one really important
technique to think about for
that is doing small bow circles
at the end of each bow.
So if I start down bow, when I get to
the tip, I'm gonna kind of lift my bow.
[MUSIC]
And then drop it again,
to start the up bow.
And that allows my bow to keep moving,
even though it's changing directions.
I'm lifting here again,
and then coming down.
It's a really subtle bow circle,
watch the tip again.
I'm going up and then down,
for the direction change.
I'll do one more at the frog.
Lifting up, and then down.
This sort of wave like circle motion,
is going to keep the bow moving,
even though you changed directions.
Otherwise if you keep the bow on a single
plane, you have to literally stop
the bow before you can change directions,
and that's gonna stop our sound.
So these little circles at the end
help us change direction without
actually stopping the bow.
These are a number of things your
can think about with long tones.
It's always best to think about one
thing at a time when you're practicing.
So each day or each week as you do
long tones pick one thing to focus on.
And I will always be interested in
checking out your video submission
of a long tone, and
make sure it's looking good.
Sounding good and
you're using your body in a healthy way.
[MUSIC]