Tips from the teacher: Easyer shifting

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The technical advice that opens this blog aims to provide a new perspective to one of the technical gestures that often causes problems to cellists everywhere, specially to beguinners: shifting.

Besides the well known precautions before trying to succesfully making a shift (proper left hand tension, arm speed, anticipation, singing the note we are shifting to, etc.), there is something else that can be really helpful to make shifting a lot easier and safer.

Most of the time when we play, the left hand gets most of our attention, and it usually takes the blame for most of our problems or mistakes, which, however, mostly have their origin in …the right hand! If the left hand feels that it has a solid bow underneath, a firm soil, everything becomes easier: left hand speed, legato, vib….and also shifting.

The idea is to think and feel that it is actually the right arm that “pushes” the left arm during the shift; therefore, the energy necessary for shifting comes from the right arm and not form the left arm; without increasing the bow speed (to avoid unwanted changes in phrasing),  the right arm will support the left arm´s shift without any real extra movement; simply the fact of switching our attention to the right arm and thinking that it “pushes” the left arm will make the shif more secure and musically more satisfying. The left hand will feel the impulse and free from doing all the work by itself!

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