Learning to play a stringed instrument is like running an obstacle course. Only prodigies seem to avoid the pitfalls. So if you are not a prodigy, what can you do? What is the secret?
The answer is deceptively simple.
Master the Basics
“The basics or fundamentals of string playing are not widely known. If faulty information is given it will impede growth.”
So the obvious question is...
What are the real basics or fundamentals?
The real basics are the most rudimentary actions of string playing such as holding the bow, shifting, crossing strings and so on combined with instinctive bodily actions. Therefore, all actions become natural and the instrument feels like an extension of the body.
What do mean by “innate bodily movements?”
“Innate bodily movements” are the actions that everyone does in ordinary life such as standing, sitting, picking up things and so on. Since they are instinctive, you don’t have to teach them, you can already do them.
How do these innate abilities help me to play the cello?
Dounis said the root cause of any cello problem is a weak fundamental. Trying to perform a basic action like lift a finger or change bows when it is not natural makes you tight or whatever. If instead, all your movements are instinctive, everything will feel easy and comfortable when you play.
So what is the “ultimate secret to becoming a virtuoso cellist?”
Dounis observed, “If you can master the fundamentals, you can solve any problem. Therefore you have to diagnose the weak fundamentals and strengthen them.” This is the ultimate secret to becoming a virtuoso cellist.
Just to be clear...
Are you saying mastering the basics is the ultimate secret?
Answer = YES.
Can it really be that simple?
Yes. Think about it. These actions govern everything you do when you play. So if they are not mastered then your foundation is not solid. Fix the foundation and fix your problems.
So how do I learn the real fundamentals?
To master the fundamentals you must:
- Be exposed to the correct information
- Diagnose and identify the specific fundamentals that are weak in your case
- Practice remedial exercises that strengthen your weak fundamentals
The usual method tells you…
This is how you hold the bow
Be careful because your elbow is too high or try not to clench the bow and so on.
Such a method doesn’t tend to employ your innate abilities and is frustrating.
The Dounis approach…
- Understands the fundamentals
- Awakens your native instincts
- Establishes your innate ability to play with maximum efficiency
If you master the basics you will experience great freedom and ease in your playing. Now that you know that Mastery of the Basics is the“ultimate secret” to becoming a virtuoso cellist, you can avoid all potential pitfalls.