Learning to play the Сello
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Learning to play the Сello

Learning to play the cello

Learning to play the cello
The cello belongs to stringed bowed musical instruments of the violin family, so the basic principles of playing and technically possible techniques for these instruments are similar, with the exception of some nuances. We will find out whether it is difficult to learn to play the cello from scratch, what are the main difficulties and how a beginner cellist can overcome them.


The first lessons of the future cellist are no different from the initial lessons of other musicians: the teachers prepare the beginner for direct playing the instrument.

Since the cello is a rather large musical instrument, approximately 1.2 m long and about 0.5 m in the widest – lower – part of the body, you need to play while sitting.

Therefore, in the first lessons, the student is taught the correct fit with the instrument.

In addition, at the same lessons, the choice of the size of the cello for the student is made.

The choice of instrument is based on the age and characteristics of the general physical development of the young musician, as well as on some of his anatomical data (height, length of hands and fingers).

To summarize, in the first lessons, the student learns:

  • cell design;
  • on what and how to sit with the instrument when playing;
  • how to hold a cello.

In addition, he begins to study musical notation, the basics of rhythm and meter.

And a couple of lessons are reserved for teaching the productions of the left and right hands.

The left hand must learn to properly grasp the neck of the neck and move up and down the neck.

The right hand will have to practice holding the bow stick. True, this is not an easy task even for adults, not to mention children. It’s good that for children the bow is not as huge as for adult musicians (1/4 or 1/2).


But even in these lessons, the study of musical notation continues. The student already knows the C major scale and the names of the cello strings, starting with the thickest: C and G of the large octave, D and A of the small octave.

Having learned the first lessons, you can move on to practice – start learning to play the instrument.

How to learn to play?

In terms of technique, playing the cello is more difficult than playing the violin because of its large size. In addition, due to the large body and bow, some of the technical touches available to the violinist are limited here. But all the same, the technique of playing the cello is distinguished by elegance and brilliance, which sometimes have to be achieved over the course of several years of regular practice.

And learning to play for home music is not forbidden to anyone – playing the cello gives the player a real pleasure, since each string on it has only its own unique sound.

The cello is played not only in orchestras, but also solo: at home, at a party, on holidays.

Learning to play the Сello

You may not like the first exercises with scales: out of habit, the bow slides off the strings, the sounds are clumsy (sometimes just terrible) and out of tune, your hands dry out, your shoulders ache. But with the experience gained by conscientious studies, the feeling of fatigue of the limbs disappears, the sounds even out, the bow is firmly held in the hand.

There are already other feelings – confidence and calmness, as well as satisfaction from the result of one’s work.

The left hand, when playing scales, masters the positions on the fretboard of the instrument. First, a one-octave scale in C major is studied in the first position, then it is expanded to a two-octave.

Learning to play the Сello

In parallel with it, you can start learning the A minor scale in the same order: one octave, then a two-octave.

To make it more interesting to study, it would be nice to learn not only scales, but also beautiful simple melodies from classical works, folk and even modern music.

Possible difficulties

Many professionals call the cello the perfect musical instrument:

  • the cellist occupies a comfortable position for full-fledged and extended playing;
  • the instrument is also favorably located: it is convenient in terms of access to the strings with both the left and right hand;
  • both hands when playing take a natural position (there are no prerequisites for their fatigue, numbness, loss of sensitivity, and so on);
  • good view of the strings on the fretboard and in the area of ​​the bow action;
  • there are no full physical loads on the cellist;
  • 100% opportunity to reveal the virtuoso in yourself.
Learning to play the Сello

The main difficulties for learning the cello are in the following points:

  • an expensive tool that not everyone can afford;
  • the large size of the cello limits movement with it;
  • the unpopularity of the instrument among young people;
  • repertoire limited mainly to the classics;
  • a long period of training in real mastery;
  • large expenditures of physical labor in the performance of virtuoso strokes.
How To Start Playing The Cello

Beginner Tips

For those beginner cellists who appreciate and love this instrument, here are some tips for successful learning.

  • Regardless of the purpose of training (playing for oneself or more serious tasks), an experienced cellist teacher is needed for the first lessons.
  • You need to practice every day.
  • The daily warm-up should include exercises for the independence of the fingers of the left hand, various strokes with a bow, scales.
  • Watch concerts and video lessons of masters.
  • Correct your mistakes in playing technique immediately, without allowing them to take root in a habit.

If you study for yourself, try to arrange occasional concerts for loved ones. This is very motivating to develop skills.

Learning to play the Сello

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