'Cello Basics

Music Department

Music Events

Willamette University

The Very First Steps to the 'Cello World*

1. The 'Cello Chair

The height of the 'cello chair is very critical, whether you are a beginner or a professional. If the young player is still growing, the chair (as well as the instrument) must obviously be adjusted periodically.

The type of chair and height can be determined in the following way:

2. Sitting Posture

Do not adjust your body to fit the instrument; rather, adjust the instrument to fit your most comfortable sitting position. One should sit like a King or Queen, or a Chinese Emperor; chin level and shoulders down while playing, that enables one to hear his/her playing.

Never raise the shoulders while playing; both shoulders should remain on the same level. The more sound one wishes to produce, the lower the shoulders should be. When playing in the higher position, give the cello a "bear hug."

3. The Right Hand (Bow arm) = 90% of string playing technique

4. The Left Hand


Make friends with both thumbs; treat them gently; never press or squeeze them.


* Dr. Hekun Wu's name should be cited with any usage of the above materials.