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Thread: Want to learn the cello

  1. #1
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    Default Want to learn the cello

    What's the best way to get a cheap, beginners cello? I've always wanted to learn it, but I don't have the money to buy a good one, and I don't trust Amazon with instruments.

    Also, if/when I get my hands on one, does anyone have good books I could use to begin teaching myself? I've self-taught myself instruments before, but I know next to nothing about bowed string instruments.

    Thanks!

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    Unfortunately, I believe every competent cello player and certainly every cello teacher I know would give essentially the same advice. If you teach yourself the cello, your technique will be awful, and it will harm your playing. I also think every cello teacher I know would say the best way to purchase a beginners cello is to have your teacher help you. If you don't have money for private lessons, it's possible you could find cello projects (in universities or other groups) that provides inexpensive lessons.

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    As a cellist I can confirm everything mmsbls said in his post above.
    The first few years of learning a stringed instrument are critical because it is easy to fall into sloppy technique or "bad habits" that have to be unlearned later with great effort and frustration. These bad habits will limit how far you can progress on the instrument past a certain point. A teacher will be able to correct any sloppy technique quickly before they become ingrained.
    I'm sure there are some people who have the self awareness to pull it off successfully but I imagine they would be very exceptional people. Everyone I know who played a stringed instrument competently took lessons for many years.

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    I agree with the suggestions to get a teacher. I don't know much about the cello, but in my experience as a piano teacher, it's usually a bad idea for students to teach themselves. I've had many self-taught pianists who come to me for lessons, sometimes after years of playing on their own, and they tend to have a lot of bad habits and inefficient ways of practicing. It's always painful for me - and for them! - when I have to explain that they need to re-learn some basic elements of technique (of course, I try my best to be gentle and encouraging about it - this post is much more blunt than anything I would say to my students!)

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    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    I don't play cello but, from my own experience, get an instructor! These instruments have secrets to tell but they don't usually tell them to you straight. You have to learn them from someone who already knows them. Without those secrets, you cannot be an effective player. Especially bowing. Bowing is a very complex operation and it takes a LOT of practice to get it down. Without an instructor, you are guaranteed to plateau out because you won't know where to go from there. As for instruction manuals, sheet music and a cello itself, again, an instructor will take care of all that. Don't buy any instrument online!! Don't buy one if you don't know a good one from a bad one. Instead, contact an instructor and they probably know someone looking to unload a decent one or at least they can help you find one.

    Also, be serious about this. You can't be a dabbler. You go in all or nothing. It will cost you money and sweat. It's like I tell everyone who asks why I chose double bass--"You don't choose it, it chooses you."
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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