How To Go Native With Your Cello

The foundation of the Dounis method was reawakening your native instincts. He had remedial exercises for restoring those instincts and allowing the natural player to emerge...just like a prodigy.

Usually the first question is...

Can I play the cello like a child prodigy?

Yes, once your native instincts are reestablished, then the instrument becomes an extension of your body and not the other way around. Then you become a natural player, just like a prodigy.

What do you mean by native instincts?

They are innate actions of everyday life such as: walking, talking, picking up objects, scratching your head and so on. They are not something you have to learn because you already know how to do them.

What are the remedial exercises that restore the native instincts?

There are many exercises like touching a smooth surface and then imitating it on the string. There are exercises like that for every aspect of technique. What is cool is the exercises go to the heart of the matter. They bring out your naturalness and maximum efficiency. 

How long does it take to learn all the fundamentals?

Each person is different, but if you worked hard, a huge amount can be mastered in six months. Mastery of the basics keeps increasing, which is miraculous.

Here’s a list of things that affect the quickness...

  • The ability to follow instructions and be patient.
  • Your previous teaching and other influences.
  • What you can already do.

The trick is to get all the fundamentals firmly established, which insures constant future growth. In any case, if you master the fundamentals, any problem can be solved. 

How will I know when I’ve mastered the fundamentals?

The signs are...

  1. You will be able to do whatever you want instinctively.
  2. You will feel comfortable and loose.
  3. Your playing will have personality and a unique sound.

What happens if I don’t master all the basics?

Some of the greatest players haven’t mastered all the basics. Anyone who sounds great is doing a lot right, but they could sound even better. I haven’t met anyone who has perfectly mastered the basics, but anyone who is close sounds fantastic.

If I re-establish my native instincts, will that help me overcome my nervousness?

Absolutely.  Dounis knew how to overcome performance anxiety.  It requires a solid understanding of the fundamentals, visualization and mastering his memorize-sing-play exercise.

Let’s review what you have learned…

  1. Anyone can play like a prodigy.
  2. You must reawaken your native instincts.
  3. You must master the fundamentals.
  4. Dounis gave remedial exercises for mastering the basics.
  5. Some mastery can happen relatively fast. 
  6. The sign of mastery is that you can do what you want.
  7. Mastery of the basics overcomes “performance anxiety.”