A note for beginners…

Starting to play the cello can seem like climbing Everest. There are so many things to try and remember! How to sit, how to hold the bow, how to play only on one string, where do I put my left hand fingers,the list goes on! However there are a few things that if overlooked can make the experience even more difficult!

Here are 5 ways to make you experience of learning to play the cello easier.

Make sure you are renting or have bought a quality instrument. This is critical! If the instrument is of a really low quality you will only get frustrated. There are dealers in most areas that will have the best value, you just have to make sure you shop around and compare! Do not simply take the first instrument you see on ebay!

Once you have a good cello, make sure the strings are not too high off of the fingerboard. Chances are that if it is a good instrument then it will also have a good setup, but if it seems like that it is too difficult to get the strings down with your left hand fingers then it is not your lack of strength! Take it to a shop and have the strings lowered, you will love the result!

Make sure that you put rosin on your bow WHENEVER you play. I know there are many different opinions on this, but in my experience one of the things that will improve your overall experience is to remember to put rosin on your bow. Rosin dust falls off of your bow even while you are not playing, so put it on whenever you practice!

Find a good teacher. Do not be afraid to shop around. Many students stick with a teacher for really bad reasons. If you are not happy with your progress, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher about it. If you are getting more and more frustrated, it may be time for a switch!

HAVE FUN! I know this seems silly to say, but playing the cello should be fun. If you are not having fun when you are practicing then something is wrong. I am not saying that playing the cello is not hard work. It takes everything you have, every ounce of mind, body, and spirit. But it is fun! Do not take yourself too seriously and enjoy the process of learning the most beautiful of all instruments.

I hope this helps, happy practicing!

1 thought on “A note for beginners…”

  1. Hello, I would like to thank you for this invaluable resource. It is very generous from you as an artist and a musician who lives of music to provide such information publicly and freely. I do appreciate your enthusiasm for music, and particularly with the most beautiful instrument of all (not so fair – so many instruments are really beautiful, too): the beloved cello!
    As a scientist, I can only reinforce the importance of music to our brain re-wiring and synapses. Recently, an initiative from the National Institutes of Health, where I worked, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, where I live, explored the brain rejuvenating properties involved in the process of music learning, and launched a tentative effort to marry music and science. On a personal note, cello is my alert relaxation state of mind: I desire to play well and commanding perfection, and to achieve in a near future proficiency and confidence to play for myself and for friends, or even for the public, though I am aware I am an older music learner and therefore, things may take longer on my side. Cello is my escape to a world of physicality and awareness of my body language and posture, and also it is a time of a communion with a language that once was foreign to me, but now it is becoming intimate and profound. Besides the physicality and the physical aspects of playing cello, such as strings vibrations, and the challenge of controlling the nature of sound waves, as a non-artist, cello is a moment of quenching my thirst for arts and poetry through the expression of musicality.
    I can not express how thankful I am for having dedicated professionals out there encouraging us, scientists and non-artists, to immerse ourselves in this fascinating world of music.
    Very best of everything!

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