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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
30 Day Challenge
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Cello Lessons: Continuous Improvisation with Scales

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The typical, classical scale routine that
I gave you in two octaves
just a couple of lessons ago,
is notorious for starting at the bottom,
going to the top, and
coming right back down.
But that doesn't actually give us Intimate
knowledge of the inner workings and
relationships of all
the notes in the scale.
So I've developed this routine that
helps us go from any note to any note,
while thinking in a scale and working on
our technique at various Rhythmic levels.
We're gonna do this by improvising
continuously with a metronome.
You can think of it as a really
great improvisation exercise,
because in order to keep playing
constant quarter notes in A major,
you're gonna have to be always listening
and always thinking one note ahead.
And what we're doing is by creating
this endless stream of improvised notes,
you can think of it as like this
block of marble, this constant
stream of notes out of which if
we start to leave some spaces and
chip away at the marble,
we're gonna be left with a statue,
an improvisation that sounds
like strong musical phrases.
But even if you're leaving
space in your improvisation,
you wanna have a continuous stream
of notes that are gonna sound
good that can be in your head at any
moment that you can just access.
And this is gonna help connect our ear to
our hand.
And it's a really great
technical practice.
The routine if we put on the metronome and
an A drone, I'm gonna
practice improvising continuous notes
in quarter notes in the key of A major.
There are only two rules.
I can't stop, I have to keep playing.
And two, I can't play any notes that
are outside the scale of A major.
If you need to repeat a note,
you can totally do that.
You could play just an open A for
as long as you needed before
you felt ready to move notes.
But the important thing is to keep
the bow moving, keep playing and
don't play a note that's not in the scale.
Okay, I'll demonstrate in quarter notes.
Three, four.
If it helps, you can
play the scale one octave up and
down to get started.
But after you do that,
you can play the notes in any order,
it doesn't even have to sound good.
After you do that for
a couple of minutes,
I want you to increase
the rhythm
to eighth notes.
you can even shift and
go all around the cello.
You wanna explore as
much range as you can.
Doing just quarters and
eighth notes is probably
gonna be a good practice for
a number of weeks,
maybe even a number of months,
to really work on the coordination and
get your improvisational
brain moving faster.
Once you feel comfortable at these speeds,
we're gonna add triplets and
16th notes as well.
I'll show you how those sound.
two and a three and a four and a.
can improvise
your slurs.
There is no pattern we have to follow.
But we do want
smooth bow changes.
We always want a smooth
sound while we're practicing this.
I'll end with sixteenth notes.
Two, three, foury, and a.
If you get stuck,
you can just hang
out on one note but
keep the bow moving.
You can even add repetition to make it
But eventually I want you to try
moving with every bow stroke.
But you can keep doing it in spurts.
You just kinda hang out on one note for
a while, before you move again.
give this a shot for
ten days or so and
send me a video submission.
I'd love to see how you're doing.