My Most Important Teacher

It may be hard to imagine anything about learning to play a musical instrument being controversial, but when it comes to my book, one issue has been: to work with a teacher or not. I have had many excellent cello teachers and I would never suggest that a good cello teacher is superfluous. But I […]

Review: The Soloist

The film, “The Soloist,” was somewhat disappointing to this avid amateur cellist for two reasons. First, the film goes right along with our contemporary tendency towards oversimplification. The cellist is a musical “genius.” There’s hardly any focus on his education or development. Implied is the current popular misconception that you can’t learn gradually and patiently […]

Standards for measuring progress-Level One

CELLO-LEVEL 1 Performance Requirements Scales and Arpeggios Memorized Metronome: Quarter = 60-69 Student chooses one from each category and its equivalent tonic arpeggio: One-octave major scale in G, or D (starting on open strings), or F. Two-octave major scale in C. Bowing for scales: Separate quarter notes, or slur two eighths. Use half or whole […]

Standards for measuring progress

Is there an objective way to measure one’s progress? Yes. I will list the stages one by one. Note: This list, taken from the American String Teachers Association, was compiled long before my book was published. So that’s why you won’t find it recommended below. CELLO-FOUNDATION GOALS: BEFORE LEVEL ONE Performance Requirements Scales and Arpeggios […]

The Right Thumb

Charles Benedetti, an active reader of Cello Playing for Music Lovers, has written to tell me that, as he strove to get a richer tone, he pressed too hard on the bow and stressed out the muscles of his right thumb. Here’s another reminder that relaxation of the muscles of the hands is as critical […]

More excellent video advice

Cellist Erik Friedlander, the performer on the CPML CD, has an exciting cello page on his website at Two New Video Lessons Are Posted: Lesson VI. Curved Fingers – Left Hand Strengthening & Flexbility This video shows you a simple way to improve the strength and flexibility of your left hand. When you play […]

A movie about loving music

“August Rush” is a new release, a fairy tale of a movie about loving music that features a cello playing Mom, a guitar playing Dad and their child who seems to be more precocious than Mozart, since Mozart’s Dad taught him everything, while this little boy, separated from his parents at birth, knows how to […]

Playing the Cello Can Be For You

I dropped music from my life for 47 years, while I taught English and raised my family. Although I missed music intensely, I said, like many other people, that I had no time for music making. What I really meant was, “I don’t have time to practice enough. I can’t play as beautifully as I […]

Obtaining a Cello and Bow

Obtaining a cello and bow: 1. Use a reputable string instrument dealer in  your area. Check with a music school or with local cellists or violinists who can recommend a dealer. 2. While I suggest buying a cello, because it represents a greater commitment on your part, you can also rent cellos from dealers for […]

The cello is becoming hip!

We know it, and now others are making the same discovery: “It’s hip,” says Jenkins, 31, about being a cellist in Portland. “It’s super-hip. The second people find out I play the cello, it’s like, ‘Hey, want to play on my record?’” As Jenkins tells it, Portland’s cello community is on the rise. Bands like […]