5 Easy Pieces for Cello Beginners
September 27, 2019
After the discovery of 5 easy pieces for violin beginners, we have some pieces for cello players to share. Even if it’s not easy to find pieces written especially for cellists, there is a lot of adaptations of famous songs originally written for piano or violin available on Metronaut app, so you can also enjoy being the soloist.
The New World Symphony - Largo - by Dvorak
The Symphony No.9 in E Minor, also called the New World Symphony was composed by Antonín Dvořák in 1893. It is one of the most popular symphonies of all times. You can hear it in many movies, video games and commercials. The second movement - largo -, which inspired the popular American song Going home and The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King’ soundtrack, is a must-learn for cellists. As its name suggests, this movement is really peaceful and slow (Largo is a tempo from 40 to 60), so that the piece is more accessible to beginner cellists. It is set in G Major with a 4/4 time signature. When you feel more confident with this piece, you can play the string quartet version with other string musicians, which makes it really pleasant.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Silent Night is a popular Christmas carol composed by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818. The song is so famous that it has been translated in 140 different languages, and has been recorded by many singers (including Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby) across different music genres. As seen in our last article, the piece is manageable for violin beginners, and for cellists too. The song is set in the key of B flat Major and is very slow, with several short phrases repeated in each verse which facilitates memorization. It is also a good opportunity for cello players to practice long legato phrases.
6 Easy Concert Pieces by Schlemüller (Op.12)
This serie of six concert pieces was composed by Hugo Schlemüller. As a pianist and cellist professor, Schlemüller wrote many pieces for his cello students, including these six pieces with piano accompaniment. They are playable in the first close position throughout and are manageable for students at the end of their first year of practice. It is a little demanding, especially in bowing techniques, but constitutes a great challenge to progress.
« Spring » from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi
The Four Seasons is a group of four violin concerti, each one representing a season, written around 1716-1717 by Antonio Vivaldi. It is the Vivaldi’s best known work and one of the most well-loved baroque works. The Concerto No.1, also called « Spring », is a not-to-be-missed piece for cello beginners, especially the first movement (Allegro). Even if it’s a demanding piece, in order to perfectly communicate the feeling of lightness and bounce of the season, it’s rewarding to master such a well-known piece. Also, vibrato should be used rather sparingly, as a little colouring on the longer notes (the use of vibrato makes this piece appropriate for cellists who've been playing for more than a year rather than early beginners).
Gymnopedies by Satie (adapted for Cello)
Originally, the Gymnopedies are three piano pieces composed by Erik Satie in 1888, considered as important precursors to modern ambient music. Many adaptations for cello with piano were written later. These short, atmospheric pieces are written in 3/4 time, and share the same theme and structure. Gymnopedie I (lent et douloureux in D Major / D Minor) and III (lent et grave, in A Minor) are suitables for cello beginners, notably because they have to be played really slowly.The melodies of each pieces use deliberate dissonances against the harmony, producing a melancholic effect that matches the performance instructions, which are to play each piece "painfully" (douloureux), "sadly" (triste), or "gravely" (grave).
Materials cello beginners should consider to play correctly
Learning to play string instruments like cello or violin is indeed very challenging, but playing these musical instruments perfectly is also rewarding. You have always been fascinated by the melodious sound of cellos and now, all you wish for is to learn to play cello and produce this quality sound. Where to find digital sheet music ? Of course, on Metronaut app ! However, it is in your best interest to have in hand the basic materials to practice your cello sessions in good conditions. Here are the basics each beginner should have :
Rosin is in fact tree resin which needs to be applied to the cello bow before you start playing. This material is of utmost importance because it improves friction as well as the vibration between the bow and the strings. As a result of this, you will be able to bring out the right sound. However, it is good to know that if you apply too much rosin to your cello bow, all your instrument will produce is a scratchy sound. In addition, applying little rosin will not give you enough friction, in this case as well, the sound will not be great !
The strings which come with cellos are not always of good quality. You will have to change them sooner or later ! So think of getting extra strings when you visit your music store. The all-metal strings are known to produce quality sound.
The endpin is one of the best accessories you can buy for your musical instrument. What is it exactly ? It is that small metal object that extends from the bottom of cellos. This material will prevent your musical instrument from slipping while you are learning to play. We advise you to have an adjustable one in order to change the height of your instrument.
Whether you are learning to play cello, violin or any other instrument, it is better to practice your sessions with a metronome, especially if you are a beginner. This material will help you to improve your timing, which is indeed a crucial element if you are about to play with other musicians later on. You can have a real one or make use of an online metronome.
Even if your beginner kit provides a bow, you should know that this material responds differently to different cellos. Reason why it is better to buy a good quality bow.
Other things to consider while buying your cello
When you are looking for your cello, you need to pay close attention to some elements. These are :
- As you can see in music stores, cellos come in different sizes and prices. It is important for you to find the right size cello in order to prevent any physical and painful damage. For example, if you chose a small cello compared to your body size, with time, you can get some physical issues with your spine, your shoulders, or even with your hands. Same applies if you chose a cello which is too big for you. For all these reasons, choose the appropriate size to enjoy your learning sessions and to progress in the best conditions ever.
- Also, don't forget to consider the fingerboard of the cello you ought to buy. Make sure that you select a string instrument whose fingerboard is easy to fingers.
You can find each piece presented here on Metronaut app with sheets adapted for cellists and discover many other easy cello pieces for beginners, such as Jingle Bells or Schubert’s An die Musik. If you feel comfortable, you can also challenge yourself with our intermediate pieces and play the Gounod famous Ave Maria!