The 5 Steps of Mastering the Basics

The basics are the foundation of playing. Examples are: holding the bow, holding the cello, drawing the bow, changing bows, touching the string, crossing strings, shifting, vibrato, pulling the sound, applying pressure and so on.

What is required to learn the basics?

It is a process of reawakening your native instincts on the cello. 

Here are the 5 steps…

  1. An introduction to each fundamental
  2. Teacher Feedback
  3. Remedial exercises
  4. Application to repertoire
  5. Seal of approval 

Let’s go over each point…

1) An introduction to each fundamental

Ideally you are introduced to each fundamental separately by someone who has mastered them. You will be given an remedial exercise and explanation of the principle. That begins a process of reawakening your native instincts. 

2) Feedback from a Dounis teacher

All the old habits and conditioning will tend to cloud your understanding of the fundamental. Therefore getting feedback is essential to quicken the process and keep you on track.

3) Practicing specific remedial exercises

To be effective, these are customized for you by someone familiar with your weaknesses and schooled in Dounis.  These exercises will identify your weak fundamentals and strengthen them.

4) Application to repertoire

Often you can strengthen the weak fundamental and practice repertoire simultaneously. Sometimes you need an exercise to create an awareness of the sensations that you are reawakening. Then you can apply it to repertoire.

5) Seal of approval

The sign mastery is that you can do whatever you want to do.  If something improves greatly you may think that you have mastered it when there is more to learn. To avoid that pitfall always get the confirmation of someone who is trained in Dounis.

Can mastering these basics really solve any technical problem, even really difficult ones?

Absolutely, because they address the root cause of your problems.   The fundamentals are the atomic level of string playing. They are powerful tools when you know how to tap into them.  When they get strengthened, many problems just fall away.

Let’s review this post…

There are 5 steps for mastering the fundamentals.

  1. An introduction to each fundamental
  2. Feedback from a Dounis teacher
  3. Practicing specific remedial exercises
  4. Application to repertoire
  5. Seal of approval

If you go through the 5 steps then you will be drawn into a process of reawakening yournative instincts on the cello. This leads to becoming a natural player which is the goal of the Dounis method.