100 DAYS!

This is my PRACTICE and CELLO MAKING blog spring 2022!

I want to see if
- I can have my new cello finished in 100 days
- and be in shape to play
- the brand new pieces that I'm composing for it right now
Honestly I have been forced to my knees for some time due to stress and a stubborn round of covid.
I have decided to take off half a year to get back on track. Cancelling as much as possible. (Feeling bad about it, but it has to be like this now.)
Everytime I make a new blog, I think that I'll make it completely honest with notes about what really motivates me and what I find conducive for progress. But then anyway, I hesitate to share some of my 'secrets'. - Maybe this time I'll be less shy.
I'm starting out totally against the odds. I basically can't play right now because both my arms are inflamed.
This blog will be about all the tricks I can find: mental practicing, strange motivation factores, diet, exercise, stimulants... Whatever it takes.

I want to see if
- I can have my new cello finished in 100 days
- and be in shape to play
- the brand new pieces that I'm composing for it right now

Honestly I have been forced to my knees for some time due to stress and a stubborn round of covid.

I have decided to take off half a year to get back on track. Cancelling as much as possible. (Feeling bad about it, but it has to be like this now.)

Everytime I make a new blog, I think that I'll make it completely honest with notes about what really motivates me and what I find conducive for progress. But then anyway, I hesitate to share some of my 'secrets'. - Maybe this time I'll be less shy.

I'm starting out totally against the odds. I basically can't play right now because both my arms are inflamed.

This blog will be about all the tricks I can find: mental practicing, strange motivation factores, diet, exercise, stimulants... Whatever it takes.

10.03 - Coffee or not?

Today I practised a lot. 
I have noticed a trick to progress. While I play I have kind of a conversation with my self about the music.
How is the structure of this section,
what should I pay attention to in this bar,
how is the expression in tis movement.

It is almost as an invisible teacher telling me what to do.
To have this inner dialogue makes progress faster. I noticed because I remember as a child after lessons, things were easier. It just worked better and I wondered why. The lesson was only 30 min, but there was more progress than in 30 min practice alone.

I think to verbalize does something.

Well, there is a concert coming up on Sunday and I have been off coffee for 3 month. But going for a rehearsal with the trio just felt like such a big task.
I really want to play this concert and I like my friends in the trio, but something in me just says "NO" to performing. (I really need time with no appointments to get better stresswise.)
I don't want to meet with people and be one big 'no' inside. They prepared and they look forward. 
So my invisible teacher said "there is half a bag of instant cofee latte in your parents kitchen, just make it."
And it helped. We had a wonderful 3 hour rehearsal with some of my favorite music and people.

- Only time for thinking about cello making today...

09.03 - Arching in the dark

After a whole day of rehearsals and practicing, I couldn't stop working on the arching.

It is somehow easier to see the curves in the datk with only one lamp from the side.

Now it is way past mid night and I could have continued for hours I think.

I practiced with the metronome all morning and enjoyed the feeling of progress as you turn it up step by step.

Went to Allerød to rehearse with Jakob Strandby for the concert Sunday.

 

Here is todays video from Facebook. More Edge Video

 



 

 

 

 

 

08.03 

How can my arm suddenly be fine again?

I wonder if it is those collagen pills that I have been taking for 10 days.

It's just so wonderful to be able to practice again. I played a lot - both cello and recorder. Morning, afternoon and evening. To repeat two or three times a day really speeds up the learning process. There is only 5 days before the concert, so I better do my best.

In the photo I'm checking the outline of the back.

Here is todays video: Facebook video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

07.03 - Workshop with a view!

I couldn't resist to go up at the roof and woork on the edge of the back this afternoon. It was nice and warm for a long time, but in the end I went back inside and found my sweater and jeans.

Here is a video from the lovely spot. Turn on the sound, the music is one of my absolute favorite pieces. Couperin, Les Barricades Misterieuses

Video from Facebook

 

I practiced with both hands. Morning, afternoon and evening. It is a mistery that it doesn't hurt. I start to belive in the concert this Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

06.03 - A super Rasp

This is one of my favorite tools. 

It is handmade with very sharp teeth in an uneven pattern, that makes it bite through the wood like a dream.

Trimmed the edge of the cello back.

Look at the video: Super Rasp video

Late in the evening I played through the sonata for next sunday. I played super softly and actually had very little pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

05.03 - Back to the back

How does the arching height affect the sound?

Right now it is more than 33mm, and that is probably too much - even though it looks nice.

Got rid of some wood and the arching is taking shape.

Facebook: Video from the workshop
(I was surprised to see that this video has been seen more than 10.000 times on Instagram...!)

Practiced only C major today. Concerned because I have a concert March 13th, and my arm screams 'NO' every time I play...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


04.03 - More sunshine

Making the channel in the sunshine at the balcony.

It is quite challenging because the spruce is so soft. After that it is a pleasure to even out towards the middle of the arching.

Here is the daily video from facebook: Channel video

Played a C major scale and 5 min of bow exercises. - Not much, but focused!

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

03.03 - Spring at the balcony

I left my workshop in Copenhagen and went to my parents house to work on the front that I have there.
The weather was so lovely. There was no wind at the balcony, so why not get some sun while working on the edge? 

Here is a short video from the balcony: Facebook video 

It needs to be 5,5 mm thick. I made it 6 mm because I want to adjust the inside of the front in the end before gluing it together. So at that point I might take a big sheet of sand paper glued to something flat to get the inside perfectly flat.

 

I'm still practicing bow hand only on the cello. I like it a lot and I start thinking that this is what you should always do.

Since the intonation is such a demanding thing on cello it is easy to forget about the bow. But actually taking time to make the bow work, makes you able to focus more on the left hand and intonation.

 

 

 



 

 

02.03 - Blood and sweat

Day 9 of 100. 

Cello making often costs a lot of sweat and sometimes even blood.

No tears so far.

Gourging all day. Here is a video: Facebook video Gouging

I practiced more of just the bow in a Vivaldi cello sonata that I have written. (Will explain that in another post)

I actually just hurt my hand because I tried a new method where you kind of push the gouge from your hip and then my fingers kept hitting the edge of the wood. 
The last one was so bad the blood kept flowing. I almost fainted several time while washing it and finding a bandaid.


01.03 

Hm, I forgot to post yesterday evening. But on the other hand I went to sleep before midnight which is one of my goals during these 100 days.

Then I get up in the morning to meditate before the day starts. I very much like it and, among other things, I think it increases my ability to focus.

This is how the back looked after some hours with the pin router. - All ready to be gouged!

I also sharpened the gouge and made a video about it: Sharpening video Facebook

For the practice I played a piece with only the bow to get articulation clear and optimize string changes in high tempo.

28.02 - Ryoba

The back is taking shape. I have been using the pin router and it makes A LOT of dust and tiny shavings that is spread everywhere in the workshop.
So I decided to take some time with the good old ryoba saw. I think its is almost as fast actually.

Made a video of the sawing from three angles: Ryoba Video

I havent practiced yet today, but I will do in 2 min - after posting this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27.02 - Fastelavn

We were all dressed in costumes for fastelavn at my sister' place in Holbæk today.
In the morning I was cutting the waist of the cello and practiced some open strings in the morning sun.

By the way, you can also follow on instagram, Ida Riegels, if you like to se daily videos and photos of the cello making.

In the photo I'm feeding my sister's chicken dressed as a magician. They LOVE fresh grass and small leaves that are starting to cume up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26.02 - I did it...

... I bought a pin router. I'm not even half way through the 18 kg of wood for the back. Thinking about it, the seller cut it out with electric powered tools 15 years ago. Why should I not remove some wood with an electric tool? There is still a lot of work to do by hand anyway.

I also played a F-Major and two f-minor scales without pain.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25.02 - Two sides of the string

My practice today had to be very quiet because I didn't get startet until 22.30 and I don't want to wake up the neighbours.

I got deep into an exercise about playing on different sides of the string. This is also relating to the question about bow changes. You can smoothen the bow change by shifting wich side of the string you paly on. Maybe the drawing illustrates it.

In the cello making workshop I realized that I have to cut some wood away with a saw instead of gouging. It's simply too much wood. Will continue tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

24.o2 - A question about technique

Making a cello also means making several kg of wood chips.

I gouged for 2 hours today. When you work for so long you are forced to develop a good technique. I realized that even though it is hard work, you can relax both the hand with the hammer and the one with the gouge.

My schedule also included composing some bars of a sonata for the coming cello and practicing open strings.

Regarding bow technique I'm focusing on wether to prepare the bow change or not. Andre Nararra claims that it is wrong to prepare the shift. Quite interesting. I'm not sure I agree.

In general I don't like to analyze too much. I think good technique comes from your urge to make it 'nice'.
If I analyze and try to follow someones idea about right and wrong I tend to get stiff and feeling like a stranger to my self.

To me it is crucial to be in a mindset of foucused interest. It's a very enjoyable mood, where I feel able to tell exactly what works.

 

 

 

23.02 - 99 days to go 

Luckily the muscles for playing cello are different from the ones you use for making a cello.
I was able to remove quite a lot of wood this afternoon.

I really want it to be playable in 99 days!

 

In terms of practice, I played with my recorder trio in the evening. Unfortunately the ring finger on left hand is used a lot for both cello and recorder and it really hurts at the moment. 

In the music I was focusing on the interplay of the voices, how the 2nd voice can add sweetness to the melody and how you can make a line fly and flow just from a feeling of expanding energy. 

 

 

 

 

 



 

22.02 2022 - What to do with such a rare date?

All day I have been thinking "This must be a good date to start 100 days of practice." But I thought I can't because of my injured arm. 

Now I decided to do so anyway. Practice can be many things e.g. to whach a masterclass on bow technique with Andre Navarra.

I also think Bach, with his hidden use of numbers in his music, would have agreed that this date is woth noting.