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Sebastian Lee Teaches Cello

23 Oct

Sebastian Lee (1805-1887) has some idiomatic music for cello that’s ideal for beginners — the best I’ve found.  Maybe he was a cellist himself.  Really great stuff.

In the past I’ve used the Schroeder 170 Foundation Studies collection with students, which contains a lot of material by Lee.  I recently discovered that the solo etudes in the Schroeder are actually extracted from *duets*.  This is amazing because the cello duet is where Lee really shines.  So I’ve shelved the Schroeder in favor of the original Lee collection in which the duet versions appear.

Can’t find the Op. 176, 22 Very Easy Duets on Imslp.  This is a shame.

The 40 Easy Etudes and First Steps In Violoncello Playing are available for free on Imslp though.





I Will Always Love You

22 Oct

As a tribute on the anniversary of her death, I made this video cover of Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You.


Sting playing upright bass and singing

14 Sep

In The Police.  In this tune he uses a straightforward line as a foundation for his vocals


learning to sing while playing cello

14 Sep

In an effort to learn the technique used by musicians like Sting (he sings and plays the fretless bass), Esperanza Spalding, Andrew Bird, and of course lilsharp, over the past year I arranged a few tunes for cello and voice and learned them.   Even after practicing these, the technique is still very difficult for me.  There’s the issue of coordination between hands, rhythm between bow and voice, but the real trouble for me is intonation.

Then, at a concert at Ravinia this summer featuring none other than Esperanza Spalding, Andrew Bird and #lilsharp (as part of Mucca Pazza) themselves, I had a revelation about a way to practice the technique that might make the intonation issue less of a problem for us mortals.  More on this revelation to come!




Rachel Lander Covers Daft Punk’s Get Lucky

22 Apr

I really like her take. The reverb is a nice touch.

Summer Camps for Strings!

14 Apr
I’m excited to announce that I’m doing my Songwriting Camp for the third year at the Chicago Waldorf School, the week of June 16- 20.  The format will be similar to previous years: campers will have fun exploring basic songwriting techniques on their in’struments in a variety of styles, including folk, blues and classical.  This year we will learn a pop song together and write our own new pop song too! The camp will culminate with an afternoon of campers performing & recording their songs at Soapbox Music Studio. (For rising 5th graders and up / 11 years + up)
I also encourage you to consider other summer camp opportunities for your young musicians.  Summer music camps are a great social experience, and expose young people to the wide world of music!

New EP Dead Reckoning released!

19 Nov

from Black Tie Elephant

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