The cello (also violoncello) is a bowed string; specifically, it’s a member of the violin family that includes the violin and the viola. Unlike the latter two, cellos have thicker strings. These 4 strings are strung around pegs at one end and attached to a tailpiece at the other end of the instrument. The strings can be made of nylon, steel or animal gut.

The tenor voice in the string family, the cello makes a wide variety of tones ranging from warm low pitches to bright higher notes. It also sounds most like the human voice among all the string instruments.

Because cellos are too big to place under the chin (they normally measure around 4 feet long), they are played in an upright position with the player sitting down and holding the body of the instrument between his or her knees, with the neck of the cello resting on the player's left shoulder. Correct posture and positioning for both hands and arms are crucial to playing the cello; guidance from a teacher in the beginning stages is important as bad habits may develop and prove hard to break down the line. If you are taking music lessons at home, it’s best to do it under the supervision of a tutor.

Cellos are put away in their cases with loosened strings, which is why tuning the instrument every time it's taken out of the case can be time consuming.

Practice can be as short as 10-20 minutes a day for younger players, and 45-60 minutes a day for older players. Many cellists say that a deliberate, focused practice of a few minutes a day is better than mindless practicing for several hours a day, especially when you are taking in home music lessons where you can easily get distracted. Deliberate practice of more than an hour at a time can be mentally draining, and even the most dedicated players may find it difficult to play for more than 4 hours a day. Research suggests that there's little benefit from practicing that long, with gains beginning to decline after the 2-hour mark. Join in today at Live Music Tutor in 3 simple steps; create your profile, select your Cello instructor and start learning today!