As anybody who knows me—truly knows me—or has been following my blog knows I am my toughest critic. I am always super hard on myself and nothing I ever do is good enough. I’m never good enough. So of course with cello playing I am again, my toughest critic. That is I was until yesterday.
I say it took a miracle, but it really wasn’t a miracle. It was just me opening my ears and my eyes and my mind and realizing what I thought about cello wasn’t necessarily accurate.
I was listening to another cellist do her recital and post it with a YouTube video and my first thought was, that sounds like my cello. Now what I mean by that is her tone, the sound, it sounded a lot like mine when I record it. Okay, so she didn’t hit any wrong notes, but that’s not the point
The point is I think I have listened to so many great musical CDs that I forgot to realize that cello will sound different when it has other instruments backing it up. It’s going to sound different when music is being mixed and smoothed out to perfection and when an album is being recorded with state of the art equipment and experts. It’s going to sound a lot different than recording with my computer at home.
So while I’m playing and hear beautiful music, my playback with my recording is more than likely to come out different. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just not the sound I hear when I play and I started thinking what I heard while playing was my imagination. Well, it wasn’t. Apparently everybody else who hears me already knew that, but as I said, I’m my toughest critic.
Don’t get me wrong, there is definite room for major improvement. I still kind of suck at it, but it’s not as bad as I believed it to be.
So I approached practice yesterday with a new ear and a clear mind. I had fun. The recording still sounds not quite how my ear hears it, but it’s really not all that bad. When I play back the recording I can actually use it to learn from. For instance I can tell where my sound is off because of my technique or because I hit the wrong note…yeah, that happens sometimes…and I can also pick out my strong points where I hit the note smoothly and the piece sounds really good. Of course I thought that yesterday. Today I might think something else ;).