Archive for March, 2012

Approaching the one-year anniversary of the completion of his Cello Talks, David Finckel shares his observations and some of the feedback he has received on a project that is still without parallel. You can view all the Cello Talks at www.cellotalks.com, as well as search the Talks by topic.

In David’s words

When I learned, back in 2009, that I could actually post a video online with relative ease, a whole new world opened up.

Since the beginning of our association with Isaac Stern, first in Israel in 1997 and in subsequent years in New York, Japan and the Netherlands, he had made us acutely aware of the necessity of good instrumental technique for the successful performance of chamber music.

We watched, time and again, as Stern made speeches to workshop students about how he was not going to teach them how to play.  And then, within one coaching, he HAD to teach them how to play, because they couldn’t well enough to execute the musical ideas we had for them.  It was as simple as that.

I have spent a lot of time trying figure out my cello playing over the years.  I know that I can explain how I do what I do (not that it’s the best cello playing there ever was) well enough so that others can do it too.  I have had a pretty good life in music, to say the least, and if it works for me, I should at least share it.

That is why I made the Cello Talks videos.  I have never advertised them or promoted them.  Yet, in this season of 2011-12, there is not a city that I go to, anywhere in the world, where I am not approached by someone after the concert who thanks me for the help they have received through the Cello Talks.

Highlights have included: a group of students in Zug, Switzerland, who all watch them; the cello teacher from Santiago, Chile, whose entire class watches and who volunteered to help me with Spanish subtitles; the older gentleman from Western Australia who has just started the cello in his senior years and finds them helpful; and most recently, the faculty and students of the Beckett School in Kitchener, Ontario, who sent me a bottle of good wine and the following card:

On the heels of this touching message came my meeting last week with a 7-year-old from Pittsburgh, who is watching the lessons.

In short, a project that was largely created for my own satisfaction has turned into something that is being used by musicians globally, to an amazing extent.  I am frankly astounded at the number of people, far and wide, who approach me to relate the ways in which the Talks have helped them, to identify their particular favorites, and to encourage me to continue with more video music lessons.

The creation of another video series such as Cello Talks is definitely on my mind.  What I am dreaming of would require some significant funding, but could potentially be helpful for many musicians. Stay tuned.

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