I had the pleasure of an hour-long lesson today with my stand partner. Memories of years of lessons came back to me–the act of taking in what another person is trying to give, getting on the same wave length, putting focus where it needs to be. There can be such a synthesis of purpose in a lesson.
I played for him and when it became apparent that I just wanted to work on general concerns in moving from imagination and sound concepts to technique and approach on the cello, we spent the time playing single notes, working on bow changes and vibrato, searching after something vague but concrete. There is a time when the sound appears, but asking for it has no words. Use your ears. Play what the cello wants. Listen ahead. And slowly something emerges. A sound that isn't my sound but is more my sound than any I've played. From where does it come?
And now some ideas to think about in the coming weeks and months. Perhaps another lesson over Skype if able to do so. But the sound has to come from me.
Later over dinner, Mr.Thornton starting talking about his lessons and conversations with Mr. Harrell. The importance of sitting with something, and then sitting with it more and continuously asking it to emerge. Of shaping it and looking and looking for a process. He and the principal bassist who was with us concluded that it's pretty cool to be able to examine something like this on such a level. To be able to play music for a living and engage in such a search. I agree.