upcoming news…

As a lot of my students have been seeing in their lessons, we may have a new non-human addition to the studio soon! Stay tuned…

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rosin dust isn’t glamorous

You practiced! Congrats! (insert happy dance here)Rosin dust

Now what? Pack up? NO, sir. After a fruitful (or fruitful-ish) practice session what every good cellist needs to do is to wipe down those strings that you just finished rocking on. I know it may not seem life or death, but here is what happens if you do not wipe down your strings and cello of rosin dust each time you play:

  1. Rosin builds up and eventually will make you sound scratchy.
  2. It dulls the varnish on your cello
  3. Eventually it doesn’t come off.
  4. Ms. Candace will try to take it off with a cloth and make those terrible nails-on-chalkboard sounds until you cry uncle.
  5. It stains your case.
  6. Serious cranky face from Ms. Candace
  7. (Extreme:) Your will need new strings.

So, I am thrilled that you practiced. Now wipe off that magical dust.

why do i sound funny?

That question is asked by students and parents alike. Once we have ruled out the “I’m not using good technique” or “I dropped something in my cello,” the best thing to do is go in to your local luthier (magical instrument maker and adjuster) and 90% of the time they would be happy to listen to you play and help diagnose the cause of the sound.

My first questions to my students in this discussion are:

  1. When is the last time you rehaired your bow?
  2. When did you last change your strings?

If the answer is over a year, than those two things may be your culprit. Honestly, our bow hair and strings can only stretch so far before they truly stop working, and then the truly awful thing is that we end up overplaying to compensate. Don’t do this to yourself – your sore muscles and frustration is worth more than the cost of this yearly upkeep.

StringsFor my current recommendation for strings:

Young Students: Heliocore is fine.

Students 7th grade and older: Larson for A&D, and either Spirocore on G&C or Jargar on G&C. Or Larson for all.

For my local recommendations for shops for rehairs, visit my Studio Goodies page!

rockstop? endpin cover? anchor? strap?

Whatever they are called, the device that prevents our endpins from slipping across any flooring is vital. You just can’t sound good if you don’t feel comfortable.

Each design has its use, and one of my personal favorites is the Stoppin – Large Endpin Rest. You of course have the typical and professional-looking Black Hole,  the using-a-bathmat option, and the technique that saves many: using an old belt. I usually have one tied on to my cello case just in case my endpin stop of choice isn’t working.

However, what I prefer for most of my students to use the is the Xeros Endpin Anchor. This has the most flexibility that I have seen, allowing me to even tie knots in it when I teach a 2 year-old. The reason I request this for my students is that it allows you to set the right length and takes the guessing out of “is my kids cello in the right place/endpin long enough?” fiasco we all dance with from time to time. This adds stability, security, and hopefully ends the cello posture fight that occurs in some young students.

All of my students that are in their first year studying with me are asked to secure this anchor, as it really does make learning this complicated instrument a little easier by taking out one of the variables.

Best part: a student didn’t want to spend the money on a real anchor, so they use a sequined belt. Fashion meets function!

My anchor Anchor