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Where to start: my teen wants to learn to play cello

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1) Cello: any advice at all would be welcome. (He plays guitar well and reads notes, but wants to play the cello very badly.)


2) He mentioned learning music theory as well. (He has a decent grasp of individual notes and rudimentary theory from learning guitar--I made sure his teacher knew that we wanted him to be able to play from sheet music, run scales, and understand enough theory to transpose.)


Thoughts on how to teach theory beyond the very basics? I pay piano and can fill in the gaps as he works to learn theory, but i'd like a "curriculum" so I'm not inventing a wheel.


3) I'm assuming he'll take lessons for cello, but I don't want to pay for a lot of lesson time spent on theory, since we can do that at home.



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My sister didn't start cello until she was in her teens, but by then she had most her music theory already done and was into her grade 5 conservatory piano. I would suggest spending some time catching him up on theory first. Most teachers won't spend a bunch of time on theory otherwise in the lesson unless the student is struggling with something. They will simply score, make sure they know how to do the next assignment and then leave it for the student to do at home. I could ask my sister for more specifics I suppose if you need them. She finished her grade 10 in cello.

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3 of my kids take cello lessons. They are 9, 7, & 5 yrs old though, so my advice might not apply to your teen.


Check into Suzuki lessons:



I think most people think of little ones when they think of Suzuki, but the program we are with runs through high school. With little ones, a lot of parent involvement is expected. I doubt this would be true for teens.


Good luck & enjoy. We love the cello!

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I'd probably look for a cello teacher (Suzuki) in your area, then look to see where you can rent a cello. They are very expensive to purchase. Our Suzuki (violin) music school has private lessons, group classes and group theory classes. The combination is wonderful. It's a fairly big financial and time commitment, but the dc's progress has been excellent.

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I know there are a lot of Suzuki fans here but I don't think you necessarily need a Suzuki teacher or Suzuki approach with a teenager, especially one who already reads music. There are past discussions here about how to find and interview potential teachers, so I would start with those.


Also an interesting question about how to self-study music theory! I don't know, but I know there is such a thing as AP Music Theory so I would probably start by investigating that.

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