Top tip No2. Sight reading.
There have been some interesting discussions recently amongst Chamber Cellos participants about sight reading. The nature of an amateur group is that there is a huge variation in learning and playing experiences. Some players are very involved in orchestras / chamber groups and get through large amounts of repertoire, others have very little experience beyond private lessons and their personal practise.
In the group this week is a very good cellist who for the last 15 years has played mostly with folk bands, learning the valuable skill of using his ears and improvising. However he has struggled this week to read the substantial amount of music in the way he would have done 15 years ago, which prompted discussion amongst the group.
I envy musicians who can improvise and play by ear, I would love to feel more confident when I’m occasionally put on the spot. However I am grateful to my orchestral and chamber music background for the vast amount of repertoire it has brought and the ability to sight read that came with it.
So the point here is, if you feel unconfident about your reading, grab a piece of music you’ve never seen before and read it. Do this every day. Join an orchestra, find people to form a chamber group, grab a friend and play duets. If you’ve broken your cello or an arm and are temporarily out of action then sing! There’s no substitute for doing it.