• Basic Principles and Techniques in Playing the Cello

    We may feel a bit of impatience but knowing the basic principles of whatever we want to learn is essential for you to become a master of something – that includes playing cello and other stringed instruments. Starting from the basics will help you understand how to execute the right techniques. For instance, with basic knowledge and skills as a cellist, you will know why excessive tension happens when playing your instrument. Therefore, you can come up with the best solution in overcoming challenges as you play your cello. Upon purchasing a beginner cello, learning about the basic principles and techniques is a must.

    Analyzing the Motions in Playing Cello

    In order to avoid excessive tension when practicing your instrument, you need to study the different motions involved in the process. In addition, it’s important to consider the major areas such as the passive motions, active motions, and pivot joints.

    The passive motion is commonly known as the involuntary motions of the cello player. The active motion, on the other hand, is the voluntary movement or force used while playing the cello, while the pivot joint is the joint that makes the active and passive motion possible.

    When you have an understanding of the basic principles, you can use it as basis in building effective cello techniques. These will help you in avoiding overuse injuries that most cellists nowadays suffer from. And not only that, these techniques can also be applied in playing other musical instruments so they are really worth knowing.

    Active and Passive Motions 

    Let’s dig deeper in the active and passive motions involved in playing a cello. The most important principle you need to understand is knowing the active, passive, and pivot joints. Once you understand the basic anatomy of your cello, it’s easier to move forward with other principles including:

    • anatomical use of neutral positions
    • more motion results in greater ratio
    • more motion results in greater discipline and accuracy
    • more motion reduces tension
    • practice better passive motions
    • apply dynamic techniques
    • use larger muscle groups
    • take advantage of the gravity
    • tension and release

    However, all these principles doesn’t require every cellist to follow them. But applying these in your practice and performance can help achieve better tunes and melodies. In fact, you can create a new technique that suits your playing style based on these principles.

    Key Takeaways

    The basic anatomy includes flexing your wrist, raising your elbow, making the right posture, and other positions when playing cello. All of these basic motions must be taken into consideration so that you can avoid overuse injuries and poor posture. The best way is to use neutral positions as much as possible to enjoy playing your instrument.

    When we say take advantage of gravity, it means using your left arm’s weight in order to push down cello strings. You can also shift from lower to upper position to avoid overuse injuries. It’s all about understanding the right techniques and principles to execute a smooth cello performance.


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