About Kyle

Creator of the Cello Fast Track Program

Cello Lessons

So you want to learn the cello? I can’t blame you. Who would not want to learn the only instrument that can produce a Mesmerizing tone. Before you start your journey consider the below steps and get ready for the fun!

Step One: Open your mind
Prepare yourself for new experiences and a new outlook. Activities like surfing the web for hours on end might no longer interest you; you will find that the way you see your free time has changed for the better. Get ready for the possibilities of new ideas and new friends to share them with; get ready for a new you!

Step Two: Make a plan
Like any goal you want to reach, cello lessons require making a plan and sticking to it. Set small, reasonable milestones for now; you can always raise the bar higher as you progress. Think about what type of music you want to play and who your “audience” will be—do you want to join a group or just play in your living room for your own enjoyment? Decide on your destination before you take the first step on your journey.

Step Three: Determine your learning style
There are several formats in which to learn. You can take lessons via online instruction such as video tutorials or live instructors. You can pick up a few audio tapes or books on learning to play the cello and teaching yourself. Or, if you are a more traditional learner, you can hire an instructor or join a local music class.

Step Four: Decide on a budget
Do you want to rent an instrument or do you want to own one? Would you prefer to learn on your own or hire an instructor to teach you? The amount you will need to invest in will depend heavily on your answers to these questions.

Step Five: Rent or purchase a cello
Based on your personal preferences and budget, you will need to either rent or purchase a cello to use in taking start. Some music stores or companies will allow you to rent with the option to buy after a certain point in the contract; if you would like to own your instrument but do not have the funds to do so immediately this is a good option to think over. This is also a great option if you are interested in the cello but do not know if you are ready to make the investment.

Step Six: Customize
One of the most important parts of playing the cello (second, only, to the cello itself!) is the bow. Since you are just starting out , do not go overboard when deciding on a bow; a simple student model will serve you well for the first part of your instruction.Your new cello will also need to be protected. Depending on how you have obtained your cello (rent or purchase), you may or may not have a case for it. Soft or hard cases are available in different materials and price ranges, and it is important to chose the option which works best for you while still keeping your instrument safe.

Another vital accessory to your playing is rosin. Rosin is the material that allows your bow to glide across the strings of the cello and is available in small containers from most music stores that carry string instruments. Rosin is important to keeping your bow and cello strings in ideal playing condition.

Step Seven: Select your learning method
If you are going with a self-learning route, it is time to gather your materials and determine your own lesson plans. If you are going to learn from someone else, now is the time to get in touch with your instructor and either set up private cello lesson or join a class.

Step Eight: Broaden your horizons
Once you have a good grasp on the fundamentals—things such as how to hold the cello and the bow, how to position your fingers over the strings to produce various notes and tones—and have played several pieces to your satisfaction, you can start looking for the next step; find a musical group to join! There are musical ensembles that play in various locations and for different types of audiences in professional and casual capacities. You may not be interested in playing on a stage or for the public; if that is the case, you might find great pleasure in finding a cello fellowship-type group instead. You can learn a lot and make lasting friendships with others who have similar interests as you. Either way, get out there!

Step Nine: Enjoy and share
Take the time to enjoy the new skill you have learned and the music you can now create. Even if you are not interested in playing for a large audience, gather together a few friends and share your new gift.


Selecting a cello to fit your needs and goals

Your first cello purchase or rental will have a large impact on your progression with the cello. Buy an overpriced cello and you may find that you have far less funds to purchase others items needed to learn the cello like sheet music or lesson materials. Spend too little on a cheap cello and you may find yourself with an instrument that is hard to play and sounds far less appealing.

The good news is that you can have your own simple cello review once you understand how to spot a well made cello verses a cheap or inferior cello.

Often people will ask , “What is a good cello make or model?” Some approach the selection of a finely made wood instrument in the same manner as one would buy a mass produced car or appliance. The only problem with this approach is that the reproduction of a wood instrument even in a shop with similarly trained craftsmen will result in a different sound and playability. This is because the wood used in an instrument can never be exactly the same from instrument to instrument. Cuts and selections of woods, even from the same lot or forest vary enough to produce a unique sound and feel. If one reviews two cellos, they will find different thicknesses on the front of the two instruments due to the fact that good cellos are hand carved rather than machine made. The hand carving process by two craftsmen will produce small differences in the cellos which will make one cello sound warmer when playing a musical note and another sound brighter or more colorful.

Other contributing factors in the quality, sound and play-ability of a cello includes the bow selection and the type of strings that are used. Different bows and cello strings also produce different sounds when playing on the same instrument, so make sure that you try playing different bow with different cello to see how the sound differs. I tell everyone to “Trust your ear”, you know what you like to hear. Reviewing and selecting a cello yourself will produce a more satisfying, personal and rewarding experience.

Famous Cellists

Arguably, one could say that Yo-Yo Ma made the cello cool again in the 20th and 21st centuries. Chances are if you had to name a cellist , Yo-Yo Ma would be on your list. As evidence to Yo -Yo Ma’s greatness, the man who made the cello Yo-Yo Ma currently plays, Antonio Stradivari, made many instruments centuries ago that sell now for millions of dollars at auction. So how did Yo-Yo Ma make it so far up? He had humble beginnings but with musician parents, so he did start receiving a musical education at a young age. Yo-Yo Ma continued to become more and more inspired by playing the cello, and slowly worked his way up the ladder the old-fashioned way to be where he is now. Yo-Yo Ma still plays today, working now with Silk Road Ensemble. He has played many concerts worldwide, which are available in many media formats. He has won numerous awards and recognition for his work and continues to inspire aspiring cellists today.

Another famous solo cellist is Julian Lloyd Webber, son and brother of the famous composers William Lloyd Weber and Andrew Lloyd Webber, respectively. He was bred, raised, and expected to be musically brilliant, and he has made of a career of exceeding even the highest of these expectations. Julian Lloyd Webber is British in origin, and has made many international collaborations and recordings. He plays a world-renowned instrument, the Barjansky Stradivarius cello, made around the year 1690. Besides his concerts and recordings, Julian has made valuable contributions to music education for young adults.

Carlos Prieto is one of the more innovative, diverse cellists of our time. He spends time promoting original work by Latin American composers, and hosts events in his home country of Mexico. Carlos Prieto started his cello studies at the age of four, and has since traveled the world over to play.

Are There Any Female Cellists? Yes, there definitely are! Soo Bae is a young, Korean-Canadian solo cellist who began her cello studies young, at age six. She attended the prestigious Julliard School of Music and at a young age– she’s only 32– she has already won an amazing amount of highly-esteemed awards. Soo Bae travels the world playing a Stradivarius Bonjour cello. She is very active in supporting music in the world arena. She contributes in particular to Christian music and the educational pursuit of all kinds of stringed instruments.

Perhaps the most famous female cellist of all, Jacqueline Mary du Pre dazzled the world with her skill in concert before succumbing to an early death due to complications caused by multiple sclerosis, a progressive, debilitating disease. Her life was so dramatic and interesting it inspired a critically acclaimed 1998 film titled Hilary and Jackie, centered around Jacqueline herself and her sister Hilary. Consider these famous musicians the rock-stars of the cello world.

Ethan Winer; One might ask, “Isn’t this the guy that did the cello video (Cello Rondo) years ago? How can Ethan Winer be added to this list of famous cellist?” Well, Ethan has not reached the famed international performance levels as Yo-Yo Ma or Jacqueline du Pré, however when it comes to the on-line “Cellist community” Ethan is well known for his articles in strings magazine, production of the Bernard Greenhouse Cello Masterclass videos and his cello concerto. Ethan brings a valuable perspective to learning the cello because he learned it as an adult. I was able to interview Ethan and have posted the interview here.