Fantastic lessons, today, guys! See homework/reminders on what to focus on below.
You curved your thumbs!!! Your hand/finger position and posture is consistently better now. Your fortes (playing loud) could be louder — your fingers will get stronger the more you exercise them! Practice improvising as well every practice session. Remember, anything goes, as long as you tell a compelling story through sound, and the piece has a beginning, a middle and an end.
Remember to get into the ‘dance’ of the song (the rhythmic feel) BEFORE you begin playing! The more accurate the way you’re moving matches the character of the song, the easier (and better sounding) playing the piece will be. For ‘What a Wonderful World’, remember to change the pedal twice per bar on the 1st and 3rd counts.
What I wrote above for Mazin regarding moving to the rhythmic feel of the song BEFORE you play also applies to you. Remember, the key to a successful performance is being able to play the piece you’re playing from beginning to end, as best you can, WITHOUT STOPPING (or unduly delaying the tempo). So, for your recital pieces, if there are any sections where you stop to figure out the notes — that’s a problem area! Focus on that section, figure out what’s wrong (by looking at the music), then practice it in slow motion until you’re able to play that section perfectly up to tempo.
FINGER EXERCISES!!! Even when you’re not practicing the cello. You have to get your fingers used to doing stuff they’ve never done before. They have gotten better since you’ve started, but you have a long way to go. Don’t give up! Where there’s a will, there’s a way.