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First Time Cello Players
By Katie Senn
7/15/2017 2:56:00 PM

First Time Cello Players

Congratulations on choosing the cello! The cello (rhymes with Jell-O) is the second largest member of the stringed instrument family and produces a wonderful deep tone. As a music student, or a parent of a music student, you will want to know these basics soon after purchasing or renting your instrument from West Music.

Parts of the Cello

Below is a diagram of the cello. Click on the image to enlarge it.
cello diagram

Taking Your Cello Out of Its Case... CAREFULLY!

The cello is made from wood and can be susceptible to scratches if not handled with care. Following these tips or instructions from the music instructor will help prevent damage to the instrument:

Soft-Shell Case

1. Stand your instrument straight up in its case and gently hold it at the neck.
2. Unzip the case while maintaining a soft but steady grip.
3. Carefully take the cello out of its case.

Hard-Shell Case

1. Stand your instrument straight up or lay the case down on the floor.
2. Starting from the top, unfasten all the latches that keep the lid closed.
3. Carefully open the case.
4. Locate the strap at the neck of the instrument and release it and any other straps keeping the instrument in the case.
5. Carefully take out the cello.


endpinAdjusting the Endpin

The first time you adjust the endpin it should be with the help of a teacher, so that it’s at the correct height. Once you learn what the correct height looks like, you can take the following steps to adjust it at home.

1. Hold the cello in your lap.
2. Loosen the endpin screw and pull the endpin out until it is at the right length.  One sign that you adjusted the endpin correctly is that the top of the scroll should be at about chin height when standing.
3. To avoid scratching the floors or having the cello possibly slip, use an endpin rest

Packing Everything Up

Before packing up your instrument, make sure to clean the cello and its bow with a soft cloth. Cleaning the instrument, bow and strings will help maintain the protective varnish on the wood and help the strings last longer.

Hard-Shell Case

1. Holding the instrument with both hands, put the cello inside the opened case.
2. Starting from the top, fasten all the straps and buckles to instrument in place.
3. Gently shut the lid.
4. Refasten all the latches so the lid is securely closed.
5. Have a steady hold of the cello at its neck.
6. Lay the soft case in front of you.
7. Fold the front flap backwards, and carefully place instrument back into the case.
8. Pull flap back up and zip the case back up.

Soft-Shell Case

1. Have a steady hold of the cello at its neck.
2. Lay the soft case in front of you.
3. Fold the front flap backwards, and carefully place instrument back into the case.
4. Pull flap back up and zip the case back up.

Related Articles

Have questions? Need advice? West Music is here for you! Give our school orchestra experts a call at 800-373-2000. 

Adapted with permission from Alfred Music's Sound Innovations for String Orchestra 1: Cello.


Tags: beginner, orchestra, cello, katie senn
Categories: Band & Orchestra
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