Technique: Creating sound from the imagination

I. Fanlo

Iagoba Fanlo, professor of cello at the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón and Alfonso X El Sabio University in Spain, on daily practice tools to help you realise your inner musical vision on your instrument

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Musicians, like athletes, have to work to improve their performance. Olympic runners don’t just run and pray that they’ll get better. They have strict training programmes to improve every movement that they make. It is the same with playing an instrument: we won’t improve significantly if we play without structure, focus and routine. Every movement has an effect on how we sound, so we need to drill the movements that we make daily. To do this, I work in a six-step loop:

1. Imagine the sound that you want to create on your instrument

2. Practise daily to develop the tools that you need to turn your imagination into reality

3. Apply these tools to your repertoire, to help you realise your musical vision

4. Once you have combined steps 1–3, perform your pieces to an audience

5. Evaluate your performance and the effectiveness of your approach in steps 1–3

6. Evaluate others’ performances, to develop your musical imagination and personality

If you engage in these six steps in a continuous cycle, you will develop an accomplished technique that will help you to bring character and imagination into everything you play…

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