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Cello Lessons: Mike Block with Rushad Eggleston: Standing While Playing - Discussion

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[MUSIC]
Okay,
standing while playing.
Mr. Rushad was one of the big inspirations
for me to stand while playing cello.
For a while I thought
it was like your thing.
Just cause, like,
what you do with it is so unique.
And it wasn't until at like summer camps,
that I saw all these kids just like
enthusiastically embracing it.
>> Yeah.
>> That I was like,
maybe it's not Rashad's thing,
maybe it's just the next thing.
>> It's just the next thing.
>> And so that's when I started doing it,
like two years ago.
But, you know you and I actually, we still
do it differently, even though there's not
many standing cellists, I think everybody
kind of does it in their own way.
>> Mm-hm.
>> So briefly,
say what got you started standing and
what do you like most about it?
>> Started out as a street
performing thing.
I was going down to play in the street
in Oakland with my buddies.
And they were portable and
I wanted to be portable.
So I was like,
we're not gonna be playing like,
something that Beethoven and
Bach and Charlie Parker and
Bill Frisell are all gonna be judging up
there in their judgment quarters today.
We're just gonna have some fun.
So I was like, fine,
if I can't shift very good and
I just have to go,
[MUSIC]
and I approached it,
because I had tried strapping on before.
the reason I didn't like it was because
it changed the way I played and
made it harder to play the things
that I was used to playing.
>> Yeah.
>> I didn't realize, but
then I figured out how you could,
you know.
>> Get accustomed to it.
>> Yeah, and
play stuff that works with that.
>> And so I think I've heard you talk
about Michael Cott being an early,
like he did it at camp years ago.
>> I didn't ever see him do it at camp.
I only saw the pictures and
heard the legend.
Mark Samos told me about that and then I
tried the strap on like 2001 or something.
I was still too classical in my mindset.
It was only two years after
I quit classical music.
>> Yeah, yeah.
>> And I was like,
no, that's not comfortable.
I can't play my most beautiful
masterpieces with that.
But then, yeah, when I was ready to
start a rock and roll band, 2008,
I was definitely ready to just stand up
there and be like yeah, I mean, you can
hold it like this, just like a little bit
of sacrifice on the sacredness of tone and
technique and whatever.
>> Yeah.
>> But then
again you can
be like
[MUSIC]
[SOUND]
>> You know what I mean, and
you can get carried away in a way
that you couldn't if you weren't.
>> So, on a technical standpoint,
the whole reason I even embarked down this
nerdy design of a cello strap,
was to figure out the technical,
how to overcome the technical
limitations I was feeling on the strap.
>> Yeah.
>> So what have you learned?
How do you adjust your
technique to the strap?
Was there anything that
you find is helpful
to keep in mind when you're standing?
>> When you're playing with a strap?
>> Yeah, technically, what's some of
the differences that you're aware of?
Well that you're playing like this and
like this instead of like that and
like that.
>> Right and how do you adjust to that and
not hurt yourself and
put your muscles into weird situations?
>> Well, this does feel like
a pretty natural way to play chords.
I think I've changed my hand position.
From being like that, like you proper.
To being like that,
more like you would hold a bat, or
a broomstick, or something like that.
>> It seems like actually you're
just pulling in with your arm.
>> Yeah.
>> Rather than, like,
falling with the left hand, you're
pulling in with the left hand almost.
>> Yeah, it's a pretty
comfortable way to play chords.
>> Yeah.
[MUSIC]
And then I notice, like, cuz,
it's like using the full bow and
having like a good
bow angle is hard,
I feel like, at that angle.
I notice sometimes you'll get the cello
like this when you want to do something
more melodic.
Like tell us a little about that?
>> Yeah, if I wanna play something real
serious and melodic, I have the power to
adjust and in my personal world, I don't
care that I'm doing something different.
[MUSIC]
>> So you got your knee here.
[MUSIC]
>> Yeah, your knee can act as a control.
It's like playing pedal steel or
something.
>> Yeah.
[MUSIC]
Yeah.
>> [SOUND] But it should be
said that also that with cello,
we generally approach cello in such a
more, it's like everything is sacred way.
And there's the hallowed halls of history,
HHH is coming at you the whole time.
But you think about Jimi Hendrix or Slash
or people who play the electric guitar.
They weren't caring if it was good tone or
not or like good technique.
Like Slash plays the guitar done here.
You can't possibly imagine
somebody could play like that.
But, because it's cool you
learn to play like that, and
then it becomes part of your thing.
Maybe it's even cool a little
bit to have a limitation,
if you're going by a more artistic
standard, and not by a standard of
who's playing the ultimate, most
beautiful, and perfect music all the time.
It's like my mind set was shifting
away from the virtuosic like
historical like desires to use the next
Margaret Connor type of thing,
you know, and then into being more
like a personal contribution.
What can I do with this whole thing of
music, and maybe I don't need to be like,
you know,
living up to any standards at all times.
>> You inspired me, man.
>> Thanks!
>> Thank you.
>> Yeah!
>> Good to have you here.
>> Well,
it was all cuz of Slash and stuff.
You've seen Slash down there.
If Slash can do that on the guitar,
then I can play cello like this.
>> Somebody's got to.
>> [MUSIC]