Erica Garcia -Cello

       Practicing is an essential part of preparing for NYSSMA and you want to make sure you are practicing effectively. When you first sit down with your instrument you should play a scale. For NYSSMA levels one and two you will need to know 3 scales. First, play the three scales you are going to play at NYSSMA.  After you have played through your scales, you will move onto your piece(s). You should play through your piece(s) entirely and then find the spot(s) you find the hardest.  It is a good idea to mark your music (lightly with a pencil!) indicating the measure(s) that you find difficult.  You should play through those spots carefully. Once you have played that spot correctly, play through the line(s) that spot was on. After that play through the piece entirely.

Tips For Solos

May Song – It is important to watch the rhythm.  Be sure that you understand the dotted rhythm.  A dotted quarter note is counted as “1 +2” and the eighth as “+”.  You need to play everything on the page, including the dynamics and the repeat.  Be sure that you start loud and strong and start line two at mf and go down to p.  Line 3 is back to f. 


Allegro – It starts staccato so play the notes marked with the dots over them short and separated.  The commas mean to bring the bow back to the frog.  Dolce means sweet so connect the notes and make it sound sweetly.  Think of it as a story.  At the beginning, the kids are playing happily, jumping around.  Then they go to bed and rest (dolce) and then they wake up and go back out to play. 


Perpetual Motion – The important thing is to stay steady throughout the piece.  Practice a D scale because Perpetual Motion is based off of a D scale.  Use the middle to frog section of your bow.  When you are first learning this piece, don’t worry about going too fast.  Stay slow and build up to a comfortable speed. 


Long, Long Ago – This piece teaches bow technique.  There are eighth notes followed by half notes.  You want to make sure that when you are playing the eighth notes that you pull out enough, so that you have room to play the half note.  Since this piece is so repetitive, make sure that you play and exaggerate all of the dynamics.  In this piece you play on the C string.  It is important to pull your bow slowly, and make sure your place your fingers down solidly.


Allegretto – This piece is about articulation.  When there is a dot above or below a note, you play it short and sticky.  When there is a line above or below a note, you play it smoothly and with more bow.  When there is a dot and a line that means that it is longer than the dot alone but not as long and smooth as a note with just a line.  Those notes are ‘heavier’ than the others.  The railroad tracks, the two slanted lines on top of the staff, indicate a separation.  Take a breath and go on but make sure you don’t add a rest. 


Andantino – This piece is very similar to Allegretto but a touch slower.  Don’t play too fast.  When you see the crescendo and diminuendo signs (the greater than and less than signs) grow and fade in volume.  “Rit” is to ritard, slow down for that and a tempo is your sign to go back to the original speed.


Rigadoon – Make sure that you play the dotted half notes as three beats and the half notes as two beats.  There are C naturals, second finger on the A string in this piece. Be careful, and take note that some measures start on an up bow. The first two lines are the same as the last two lines.


The Happy Farmer – This is the most complicated one. There are slurs, dotted rhythms, rests, and different articulations. It is important to count in terms of eighth notes, ‘1+2+3+4+’ this piece is popular in several movies, so it might sound familiar. This piece is short, so a mistake will be memorable. Make sure you remain steady. This one is very peppy, so don’t apply a lot of pressure with the bow, and use a lot of it.


Minuet in C – This piece has two repeats in it. This piece is also in 3/4. What a player might want to do, is apply a little bit of stress on the first note of the measure. This is traditional in dance pieces that are in 3/4, like this one is. When there is a slur with two bowing signs above it, this means you play the note stop the bow than play the next note on the same bow.