The information on this page serves as a reference for the materials that are required for regular students in my studio. A beginning student should plan to spend around $200-250 for the first month in materials, and then about $40-50 (for instrument rental and sheet music) for each subsequent month. If you need additional guidance on any of these materials, please let me know.
Cello, Bow, and Case - If you are beginning cello for the first time, I would recommend renting your cello, bow, and case. This is especially important for younger beginning students who will likely need various smaller-sized cellos and bows before reaching the full-sized instruments. In Bloomington, IN, I recommend visiting Michael Evans' shop. Rentals frequently cover insurance as well as basic repair/maintenance, and cost between $30-60 a month. Although you can find cellos for sale under $500 on various websites, please consult with me before you even consider purchasing them. Many of them are poorly made and will be difficult if not impossible to play.
Rock Stop - Rock stops help prevent a cello from slipping on the ground as it is being played. There are many different types, but I require that each student has a strap-type rockstop. I use a Xeros Endpin Anchor ($15), but other brands are acceptable.
Chairs - Two chairs must be available for lessons. Both chairs should be armless and the seat should be flat or angled forward. Folding chairs can be acceptable, but many times, they slope backwards which makes optimal cello positioning and spine posture difficult. With regards to chair height, when seated, the top of the students legs should be parallel to the ground. For adults a standard chair height is about 18 inches from floor to seat. For younger cellists, an adjustable chair is required. I have had the most success with the Performance Gear Grow with Me Cello Chair ($60).
Metronome and Tuner - A metronome helps to keep a steady, rhythmic pulse while practicing. A tuner helps to visually see if one is playing the correct note appropriately. I continue to use both in my daily practice. Free/inexpensive websites and apps of each can be found online (website metronome, app metronome, website tuner, and app tuner), however most of my students use a Korg TM-40 ($40) which is a small combination metronome/tuner that they can just keep in their cello case.
Audio Recording Device - Each week's lesson and practicing is to be recorded on a personal recording device for both your and my review. The recorder does not need to be fancy or expensive, but needs to have the capacity to either 'burn' the files to a cd, connect via usb to my computer during our lesson, or send the files via email or on dropbox.com. Many students choose to record using their phone or computer microphone, but others choose to have an external microphone that can link to their computer. I recommend the Olympus VN-702PC Voice Recorder ($60) as a functional starter-recorder. If you are unfamiliar with how to use this sort of technology, just let me know, and we can find a solution.
Rosin - Rosin is used to keep the bow hair sticky. I recommend beginning cellists to use Hidersine Cello Rosin ($9). There are cheaper, as well as more expensive types, but this type has worked consistently well for me over the years. One cake of rosin often lasts several years.
Timer - A simple, digital minute/second timer is used to set specific times for practicing various exercises and pieces. The timer should be silent while counting down and should beep when the time runs out. There are many varieties available for under $10.
Soft Cotton Cloth - Used to wipe excess rosin from the strings and wood of the cello and bow.
Music Stand - To start, an inexpensive folding music stand ($10) is a good option, but many cellists find a solid-backed, more substantial, stable music stand ($20) to be preferable. There are many types, and I have rarely found one that does not work.
Mirror - A basic wall mirror will help to observe one's overall posture, bow hold/placement, and left hand shape. I still use just a basic mirror like this one ($15), however more elegant versions may also be used. The mirror should be available for use each lesson.
Sheet Music - Most beginning students spend $20-30 for music books each year depending on the level and desires of the student. I supplement the books frequently with printouts and worksheets from free sources.
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