Many beginning musicians wonder, “Is cello hard to learn?” The process of learning the cello is not difficult, but it’s important to keep in mind that the cello is not an instrument of instant gratification. It does require focused, daily practice time and a good teacher to guide you along the way.
How far you progress with cello is a direct result of the amount of quality time you put into practicing the instrument. Even someone who puts in just 30 minutes a day will notice a significant improvement after a few weeks, regardless of their age.
A student who continues to take cello lessons and practice beyond their first year has the potential to develop into a talented amateur, and a young student with the right dedication could continue their studies all the way through to a rewarding professional career.
Is Cello Hard to Learn?
When learning how to play the cello, very little is spoon-fed to you by the instrument. Keyboard and fretted instruments (such as the piano and guitar) are a little easier to learn the basics. Simply putting your finger on the right key or fret will allow you to produce the note you want to hear.
With the cello, you need to have a teacher guiding you through the early stages to ensure you’re learning in a healthy way. This will lead to a lifetime of enjoying the instrument. If you have the right teacher, anyone can learn the fundamentals of playing cello.
As with most instruments, the cello will come more easily to someone with experience reading notes and rhythms. Most of cello music is written down, rather than transferred aurally from teacher to student. But with a little patience, students of all ages can learn the musical language without prior knowledge or exposure.
Does Age Matter?
Young students make great beginner cellists. Often with youth comes unbridled enthusiasm for learning a cool new instrument and a mental elasticity that helps them absorb new information like a sponge.
These advantages can carry a student a long way. The excitement encourages them to practice more on their own and their ability to retain information helps them progress quickly in their studies.
One difficulty that young students face though, is the challenge of critically analyzing their playing. As a result, they need an outside observer to help them identify things that cause them trouble, whether it is posture, intonation, tone quality, etc. Young beginners are also generally less coordinated than their adult counterparts and will remain that way until well after puberty.
Adult beginners have their own set of advantages. Firstly, they’re better in control of their bodies which helps them make changes to technique and posture more quickly. They also have a strong ability to critically analyze their own actions, and better sense of how they want to sound.
As a result of their ability to critically analyze their own playing, adult learners can sometimes go straight to the criticizing part. This can lead to discouragement when they don’t immediately sound the way they want. However, the student is probably playing at a level appropriate to how long they have been studying.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing in between lessons is another necessity that makes learning the cello much easier. Without daily practice times, you will find your teacher going over the same concepts week after week during your lessons. Make a commitment to find a small chunk of time each day to practice playing the cello and you’ll set yourself up for success.
If you only have five minutes, play some open strings for tone quality. Have a little more time? Add in some scale practice. If you have even more time, pick apart the challenging sections of your newest solo piece. There is always something you can practice, but focus on the most important concepts with the time that you have.
Start Learning Cello Today
You no longer have to wonder if the cello is hard to learn. With a teacher guiding your technique, regular practice times, and a willingness to learn, you too can become an excellent cellist.
You won’t have to worry about twisting your left arm into an uncomfortable position like violinists, or pushing air through several yards of tubing using only your lungs like a brass player. Instead, you’ll get to enjoy the comfort of the relaxed seated position for the cello.
Overall, the cello is an incredible instrument with a wonderful depth of sound and breadth of repertoire. To get started now, sign up for your first cello lesson right here at TakeLessons with one of our many talented instructors.