AYS Weekend Camp

Hello followers of The Young Person’s Guide to the Cello!

Firstly, I apologise for the infrequent bursts of posts; life seems to be a contrary ado, though still fun.

As in the title, I’d like to discuss the AYS camp of which took place, well, last weekend! I thoroughly enjoyed the intensive practice of the few days. Breaks were brief, yet it was wonderful conversing with the other members and really, finally, fitting in.

The music improved significantly over the course of the weekend, especially when we were presented with little tasks and techniques to make us work together – to listen. This resulted in immediate progress. I have been able to apply these principles of melding the sound, listening, leading etc. that I practiced in the orchestra to other areas of my musical life too, such as in the school orchestras. This has been really handy in helping me to see what I need to work on and just being a better, and importantly, assertive musician.

The solos! Sight-reading the Swan from The Carnival of the Animals was good only to get a general feel for the piece. I immediately came home and employed my father to help me with it; mainly the quality and concentration of sound. It’s a piece that cannot be left limp and soggy – to be played once each week in the actual orchestra rehearsal (as many do, including I, for simple pieces!)

Overall, a wonderful weekend with wonderful people, spent singing songs from The Sound of Music at twelve o’clock at night, discussing ridiculous yet marvelous pieces of music with friends and, of course, playing my cello.

-Phoebe P

News, Practices

Second Lesson of the Year

Well, hello followers of The Young Person’s Guide to the Cello! I have just had my second cello lesson of the year and would just love to share what I’ve been working on over the past couple of weeks.

I am currently working towards my Grade 7 ABRSM (Royal Schools) so I have learned the two Bourees of the Third Bach Suite, have just begun Largo by Veracini and am now working on Latin For Alex, which I intend to perform in an upcoming competition. I find that I am mostly practicing the clarity of the grace notes as well as rests. I practice this piece continuously with a metronome to work on timing as it’s one of those pieces that is incredibly dependent on precise timing – especially when it comes to playing with the piano! Openness of sound in the treble clef passages is another focus.

I am also working on Sevcik no. 13 (of which I use to practice sound quality and decisive shifting), scales, Piatti and shall begin further finger exercises and thumb position studies shortly.

I practice every day for 1-2 hours and I adore rehearsing my pieces and trio music. Shifting practice and serial control are both in frequent techniques and, being so tediously repetitive, I feel very sorry for those who have to listen in!

– Phoebe P


The Mendelssohn Trio Invitation

Welcome back to The Young Person’s Guide to the Cello! I have some exciting news! As a result of playing in the APO Summer School earlier this year, I have been invited to play in another Piano Trio with two other young musicians in Auckland! We’ll be playing the first movement, one which my cello teacher (who doubles as a father) has played on many occasions. How exciting! I’m listening to it now and have been following along with the music on my way home from school on the bus! I promise to keep you all updated with news of rehearsals when they begin.

– Phoebe P


APO Summer School – Starting My 2017

Like two consecutive previous Januaries, just before the new school year begins, I participated in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Orchestral Summer School*. I simply adore this each year; for once the music is real – not arrangements like we play at school – and it’s beautiful. Four days of intensive rehearsal lead up to the Finale Concert, held in the gorgeous grounds of St Cuthbert’s College, Auckland. Each year we perform a concerto, such as the Forth Movement of the Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor (which we played in 2016), with a young soloist as well as the winning piece of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s Rising Star Young Composer competition. But I think that the most amazing thing about the summer school is how members of the APO come to support the sections and play. To have the professional musicians you see on stage (for I attend their concerts often) right there to lead and mentor you for the week is an amazing experience.

I also find that the music extends me and gives a great kick-start for the year. This time, as with the 2016 summer school, I sat up in the front with one of the APO mentors. I even got a chance to lead the cello section in one tutti rehearsal! I intend to apply for a place in it next year as well, it’s such fun to see how learning the music becomes less and less of a struggle each year!


– Phoebe P