Friday, April 23, 2010

Wedensdays at St Cosme 3


My student is angry, and rightfully so. With each lesson that passes he has been becoming increasingly furious at the years of his life wasted learning how to play the cello in an uneconomical, unnatural way. A man passionate and knowledgeable about music with little time to spare as he runs one of the finest vineyards in the Rhône valley, he picks up the cello again at mid-life and finds himself with shadows of useless tools which he now has to discard. I suggest that a low elbow is like a kink in the plumbing and therefore means less pressure rather than more arriving at the string. He winces with yet another learned thing he has to forget. I speak about the importance of passive as well as active. He says he wants to kick someone. I mime a pebble skimming on water to explain how an impulse gives way to not one but a series of notes and I see a pained grimace....

The rage is not helping him relax, and is certainly not inspiring him to practice so, for the next week, I suggest taking ten minutes a day just as a meditation with his cello. Minutes in which he puts his resentment aside, along with his judgements on the entire global musical training, and concentrate fully on his breath, or the shift of weight between his two feet when he bows. I leave the chateau.

This week I see the joy once more in his face that has made me love coming every week to Gigondas. It is a joy in which everything we are doing in the room with a cello is connected to everything he is doing with his wine. I leave him with a Djembe on which to practice his new impulsive bouncing bow-arm and he says: 'You know I am becoming a hundred percent bio-dynamic. I have the highest man in bio-dynamic wine making coming this afternoon and I can't wait to see his face when I tell him I have spent the morning doing bio-dynamic cello!'

I leave with my fee, and several bottles of Gigondas.

I then move on to the next vineyard where my dear friend Kate serves her usual al fresco delicacies, I spend some time helping Aggie release her cello shoulder, and Hugo gives me a bottle of Morgon as a special treat.

Sous-chef to the Peintre and
bio-dynamic cello coach in fine vineyards. Suits me very well.


Anonymous Leslee said...

Thank you for your insightful images
into music and how to create it so as to allow it to flourish. I so enjoyed this! Another dimension of listening
awaits me!

1:02 AM  
Blogger J. said...

Ruth, you couldn't teach me how to make my flute more melodious, could you?

You know, I have never heard you play, save for that TV programme which offered a tantalising glimpse of your artistry...

Do you have any recordings you could upload?

10:22 AM  
Blogger Dale said...


7:27 AM  

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