What does a Cello Teacher do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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A cello teacher is someone who provides instruction for people who wish to learn to play the cello, a string instrument related to the viola, violin, and double bass. These instruments originated in Italy around the 1500s, and are widely played in numerous genres of music all over the world. Some cello teachers focus on providing cello lessons, while others may teach a family of instruments to their students.

Teaching students to play musical instruments involves a number of areas of instruction. Students are usually taught about the history of the instrument and about the mechanics of it. Understanding how a cello works provides important information about how to take care of the instrument, how to play it properly, and the limitations of the instrument. Students of a cello teacher are typically given instruction in care of the cello as well as selection and care of bows used to play the instrument so that they can play with equipment which is in good condition and appropriate for their needs.

Instruction also includes learning to play the instrument, including everything from tuning the instrument to utilizing unusual bow techniques. The cello teacher may teach students to read music if they do not already know how to do so, and helps students prepare for recitals, auditions, and other events. Cello teachers may also offer instruction in music theory, especially for students who are interested in experimental music.


The work of the cello teacher doesn't stop in the classroom or studio. Students are typically assigned homework including musical exercises which must be completed at home and rigorous practice is required. The instructor can tell how seriously the student takes this work and may make adjustments accordingly. Some cello teachers also perform and compete because they enjoying playing as well as teaching and because noted cello players can usually request higher fees for their teaching. Someone who retains a seat in a well known orchestra, for example, will be more in demand as a teacher than someone who plays casually.

It is not uncommon for a cello teacher to retain several instruments which can be loaned or rented to students. Because high quality cellos are expensive, students often start with borrowed or rented instruments while they determine whether or not they want to take up the cello. Students are usually discouraged from buying extremely cheap instruments because their poor quality can become a limitation as the student advances, and some students may rent for an extended period because rental instruments are sometimes of higher quality than affordable instruments for sale.


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