For many years (I'm in my 50's), I've toyed around with various instruments, have learned a bit of note recognition and understanding, but have primarily been an observer (and enthusiastic one!) rather than a participant in musical endeavors.
This all changed a few weeks ago, when I purchased a student cello and began lessons with a wonderful teacher, whom I visit for one hour every week. I've now had two lessons, and am beginning to play first position on the D string, pizzicato. Until now, I've greatly enjoyed learning to hold my cello, doing the pencil exercise to become used to positioning for the bow (when I am not allowed to use yet), and have played the open strings of course, with ease. But now the notes sound horrible, as I press as hard as I can on the D string to make my G (which almost rings true), my F# (which sounds horrible and thunky), and my E (which doesn't sound much better than my F#).
All of this is to say that suddenly I am sighing a lot, and wondering what I am doing wrong. So I thought I would ask some of you folks who have gone before me -
Is this about learning to find my way to first position mostly? Should I be concentrating on being in the right place for each note, as well as in the right tempo for the exercise, and let time (and calluses) bring about the tone I seek? I do exercise now with the bow, rather than the pencil (I'm told by my teacher that I'm doing quite well in this regard, so I've advanced to this stage), and I finally in desperation, used the bow on these notes - they sounded great! So... ?
OR should I be pressing harder on the fingerboard? Honestly, no matter what I do, my third finger just can't force the D string to make a clear sound. I've tried with the other strings, and I seem at least better - is that why I am starting with the D string perhaps??
OR is this a problem with the string itself? I would think that my teacher would have noticed if something was amiss. Also, she did tell me to concentrate on position (playing in front of the mirror, etc), and to play no more than about 5 to 8 minutes at a time... sigh. Should I just not worry so much?
Honestly, if someone would be so kind as to simply tell me to take a chill-pill - just verify that I'm hitting the right note and use this time to simply hum the notes (probably good to do so I can remember how the notes sound, hmm?) - I'd probably feel just fine.
Anyway, thanks so much for any kind replies that are given!
First of all: nice job, keep practicing, and don't worry too much. Cello really needs time :-) Well, I'm far from being a player, I just started it 2.5 years ago.
So I've just ideas:
1) to check whether Your 3rd finger is too weak or not, try to play F# with Your 2nd finger. If it is the same sound, it is most probably not Your finger.
2) You can also try playing G/A/B/C on the G string. B sounds well, it also supports my theorem.
My theorem: Your cello has a "problem". I don't know it's english name, we call it "Buller". It usually appears when F# is played, a kind of interference. German name is "WOLFTÖTER", english is probably something like wolf-sound.
How kind of you to reply! Indeed, I also had thought of the dreaded wolf, but today I had my new lesson, and lo and behold, I'm doing everything as I should, and the strangeness of the D string is evidently somewhat typical, at least in the beginning. The important thing I came away with, was that I need to keep my lovely left hand position and let the fuzziness resolve itself over time.