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Cello Lessons: Standing Posture

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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]
Even though the whole purpose of this box
wrap design is to try and replicate
the physical relationship to the cello,
the primary difference between sitting and
standing is ultimately,
your relationship with gravity.
When I'm sitting,
I'm often leaning slightly forward and
letting all that weight just
kind of sink into the cello.
However, when I'm standing, if I do that,
I'll have a tendency to actually fall and
kind of develop this kind of posture,
which actually is not very comfortable.
So I find when I'm standing,
I actually feel like I'm sort
of standing on the back of my feet,
like really on the ball of the foot.
And I really wanna feel
my chest is open and
that from like sort of like
feeling the back posture,
just letting my arms
kind of hang that way.
So that's the primary
difference is when I'm sitting,
I kinda feel like I'm leaning forward.
When I'm standing, I'm definitely kind of
leaning back maybe a split like a hair and
just kind of letting the arms
kind of sink into the cello.
One of the most satisfying
things of standing while
playing is the possibility for
massive contrary motion.
We'll talk about contrary motion in
some classical videos where we're
doing a big down bow,
you're wanna lean to your left.
And when you're doing a big up bow,
you'll lean to the right.
With the strap,
it becomes a big rotation and
I can actually not move my
right arm at all [SOUND] and
I can rotate the full length of the bow.
And so, that's a really,
actually, amazing tool,
especially when it comes
to melodic playing.
[MUSIC]
I can
kind of push.
Actually, what I was just doing there is
realizing if I push up with the cello,
if I push the cello into the bow,
really helps like with sustain.
[MUSIC]
And then as the cello comes back down and
stops pushing against the bow,
it helps you dae crescendo.
I actually feel like I've developed
a little bit of a choreography for
my phrasing where the cello, I can
actually manipulate the cello a lot more
in order to change my sound rather than
having to do everything with just the bow.
Other than that my general comfort
improved a lot when I got a key peg for
my C string, so
that I don't have a peg in my neck.
And so, I'd highly recommend
you checking that out.
And probably a first thing you
might notice in your first couple
weeks standing is I made a point
to stand when I practice and
my feet got really, really sore.
So I ended up getting a wellness mat,
which is a really nice padded mat that
has a little bit of a spring to it.
And so I usually practice on that mat to
sort of save the wear and tear on my feet.
Let me end with one last
practice tip to really help
maximize your comfort while standing.
I often will play sitting,
play a movement of Bach or some scales or
something I know really well.
I'll play it sitting and then
immediately try playing it standing and
just kind of be aware of the differences,
but also try and identify what I can do
standing in order to really feel as
similar as possible as I did sitting.
And so going back and
forth between sitting and standing,
I find is a really effective way
to increase my sensitivity to
the subtle technical adjustments
that I need to make while standing.
That being said, I definitely believe,
wholeheartedly that if you want to
perform standing,
you should definitely practice standing.
I always rehearse standing and I really
kind of embrace it as a new thing.
And if you wanna be
a performing standing cellist,
you've gotta give yourself
the time to get used to it and
to really rehearse and
practice standing as much as possible,
so that you don't end up in on
stage kind of not really sort of
feeling comfortable,
cuz that won't make anybody happy.
But again, send a submission video.
I'm really keen on and
making sure everybody's as comfortable
as they can be while standing and
I look forward to seeing your set up.
[MUSIC]