Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moved to a new site!

Cellodreams has moved to  Cello Reflections 

Saturday, January 02, 2010


I want to say "Twenty-ten," but I keep saying "Two thousand ten."

Anyway ... it will be a good year for the cello. (and maybe even the Mets!)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Art Lessons

Flashback to a 1967 college class, Art of the Renaissance, with Dr. L., a slightly geeky but well-liked professor who much to everyone's amusement sometimes chose to sport a toupee, and sometimes not. I’d signed up for his class to satisfy a humanities requirement. It seemed like an easy A with no term papers or big projects. However, at the first session I discovered that each class would consist of viewing about a dozen art slides which we’d later be required to identify on midterm and final exams.

I wondered how in the world I’d ever be able to remember upward of 100 slides of Renaissance art which would be shown during the semester. Maybe it wasn’t going to be such an easy A. When the students balked at the requirements, the professor stood his ground but proceeded to advise us about how to accomplish the seemingly daunting task. He suggested that we make a quick thumbnail sketch of each slide as it was being shown, noting its title, artist, brief description and a few unique phrases to recall the class discussion. He also highly recommended studying the group of slides as soon as possible after each class. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and not knowing how else to proceed I tried his suggestion. It worked! I was able to remember each and every slide in great detail … even from my very poorly drawn “thumbnails.”

I’m not saying that this was the best way for a professor to educate a class in Renaissance art, but I feel that I learned some valuable lessons concerning memory – how just a little bit of studying at a time adds up, and that sometimes we are capable of a lot more than we think. I try to remember this lesson whenever I feel overwhelmed by the amount of music assigned for orchestra and cello lessons.

While mulling over this analogy it also occurred to me that it would be valuable if this idea of the “thumbnail sketch” had some application to learning music. As I thought about it for a while the term “music mapping” came to mind. I knew I’d heard that term somewhere. I searched, and sure enough recalled the book titled Mapping Music by Rebecca Shockley. The method is outlined clearly in Stephanie Judy’s book Music for the Joy of It. Although I probably wouldn’t follow the method religiously, it certainly does point out how a quick overview of the “large picture” is valuable in discovering the essence of a piece of music, much the same way as the thumbnail sketch did in art class.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Ice Skating Lessons

A pair of hand-me-down figure skates with home made pom-poms was the incentive for my father to take me ice skating at Hudson County Park for the very first time when I was 6 years old. As he held my hand to steady me on the ice I observed the crowd of experienced skaters easily gliding along singly and in pairs. As we slowly made our way from the shore to what seemed to be the middle of the lake, my father suddenly let go of my hand, much to my surprise, and sent me gliding off on my own … gliding….. gliding………. alone.................... all alone ………..……… to success! ............................... I delighted in the thrilling astonishment that I was actually balancing and skating in a straight line all by myself. The event is one of my favorite moments to recall – one of the highlights of my childhood.

The experience bears a slight parallel to my current orchestra efforts and how delighted I am to know that I’m developing increasing skills. As with skating, I guess I’ve discovered that the best way to learn is to be smack dab in the middle of it and just do it.

Yes, the Pops is back in the swing of things this fall, after a long summer break. The repertoire for our December holiday concert is an interesting and eclectic collection, but all seemingly within my reach.

… on to practicing.

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Friday, September 12, 2008


Dome Island

Kayaking vs the Minne Ha Ha
Hubby Kayaking
Sailboats at the Sagamore
Relaxing at the Dell

Celebrating 40th anniversary

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Down the shore without a cello

Yes, I was down the shore without a cello … not quite as bad as being up the creek without a paddle. I hated to leave my cello at home, but I didn’t want to risk bringing it down the shore for fear of getting sand in the f-hole. Beach sand sticks to everything.

(By the way, “down the shore” = “at the beach” in Jersey jargon)

I used to like the beach a lot when I was little, but the older I get, the less I like it.

Do I look like I’m having fun?

The sandcastle construction crew on the job

Me (looking a little more normal than above) with Hubby’s two sisters and children
Hubby and niece in the waves
Hubby and nephew splashing
OK … I have to admit, there are some fun things at the Jersey shore besides the predictable sandcastles, waves, seashells, sand-dunes, and tide-pools. Being down the shore provides the perfect opportunity to experience a carnival atmosphere, observe the tattooed masses, view bizarre body piercings, and sample some of the best taste treats the world has to offer.

That’s all part of the BOARDWALK EXPERIENCE - a tacky hoot that defies description. Of particular note: Maruca’s Tomato Pies, Midway’s grilled sausage and pepper sandwiches, Kohr’s orangeade and frozen custard, Midway’s freshly made lemonade, Freeman’s Carousel, Berkley Sweet Shop’s saltwater taffy, bumper cars with blasting music, Skeeball, tacky prizes, air hockey, and Zoltar (the wish-booth made famous in the movie “Big”).

It’s a Jersey thing. Anybody that’s been there, done that knows what I mean.

But anyway, after 5 days away, I’m happier than ever to be home with my cello again.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Caroline’s at orchestra

It was comedy night at orchestra last night. Maybe it was the heat.

“Throw another log on the air conditioner,” quipped H. as he sipped from his cup of … ummm … hot tea?

No, the band room is not air conditioned; yes, it was sweltering in there. And yes, H. is very good at sarcasm.

Perhaps it was the humid sticky air that caused Maestro to launch into a candy-corn comedy spiel and some Jersey shore shtick. “You should take your act to Caroline’s,” blurted E. as she picked up her … ummm … knitting yarn?

All this taking place during a dress rehearsal, mind you. And yes, E. is very good at blurting.

“Don’t you think this is too much music?” interrupted Pops president Ms.B. “WHAT?!?” shouted Maestro shooting her a piercing glance. You’re the one who said we needed a longer program for this concert.”

Hmmmm … I’m going to miss not having orchestra rehearsals, but I suppose it really is time to take a break for summer vacation. We all need it. Besides, it will give Maestro a chance to polish up his comedy routine.