Technique: Using Ševčík to tackle flying staccato on the cello

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How analytical, targeted practice can help you to overcome any problem in the repertoire

Musicians nowadays have to work fast: we have so many projects to complete, and so much repertoire to play, that sometimes we hardly have time to practise. For that reason, it’s more important than ever that we analyse and plan how to overcome the technical difficulties in our repertoire.

Most problems can be broken down into a limited number of separate challenges for the left and right hands. This is something that Czech violin pedagogue Otakar Ševčík (1852–1934) understood very well. His etudes and analytical studies isolate left- and right-hand techniques that can be used to overcome almost any technical trouble that we encounter. In this article, I explore how his approach can be used to tackle two challenging staccato passages, in Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Martinů’s Variations on a Theme of Rossini.

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