Learning to play the cello can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but improving your skills can be a daunting task. Here are some tips on how to improve your cello playing, specifically geared towards Singaporeans and those learning in Singapore.
The number one most important thing is to find and learn from a good cello teacher in Singapore. Having a good tutor is essential to improving your skills. The good news that aspiring Singaporean cellists have is that in Singapore, there are many qualified and experienced cello teachers who can provide valuable guidance and feedback. Look for an instructor who is knowledgeable and qualified with the necessary ABRSM or other related music requirements. On top of that, make sure that the tutor is patient and knows how to teach – because some cellists can perform but do not know how to teach well.
Second of all, you should focus on developing good technique during your practice sessions on the cello. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes consistent. Many Singaporeans who want to improve their cello skills simply try to out-practice their friends, but that is not useful. It is much more important to have highly purposeful practices so as to develop good technique to actually improve your cello playing. Focus on developing a relaxed posture, using proper bowing and fingering techniques and developing a strong left-hand position. Additionally, you can practice scales and arpeggios to improve your finger dexterity and intonation.
A third way to improve your skills on the cello is to record yourself to analyze yourself. Not too many students in Singapore do this, but it is a highly effective method to improve. What you think you are doing versus what you are actually doing is often different, and the difference is most apparent for beginner cellists. The only way to know and to judge with objective eyes is to video yourself, then look through the recording later on.
Last but not least, you need to compare yourself against your own goals, not against other cellists. While the kiasu mentality in Singapore can be a good thing by keeping you ambitious, you should compare your achievements and skills to your own music goals on the cello. The only time you should compare with others is to get a benchmark and then decide on what you feel is a worthy goal. Thereafter, only compare yourself against your own goals.