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The Art of Cello Playing Paperback – Jan 1 1996


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The Art of Cello Playing + Suzuki Cello School: Cello Part, Vol. 1
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Summy-Birchard Inc; 1 edition (Jan. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874870712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874870718
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 21.6 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #201,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
For the young beginning student a complete set of four wound metal strings, with a tuner for each string, is recommended, primarily because of the easier tuning and longer wear. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
This book culminates a top quality effort in pedagoy in cello technique. It is intended for beginners in the cello, but probably should be on every amateur cellist's book shelf as a valuable resource guide. There is probably a good three years worth of material here. I'll let you know when I finish it!
This effort to present the art of playing the cello in a systematic way--a "cello method", however, both enhances and detracts from the lasting usefulness of this book. If you follow through this book step-by-step, and gain some proficiency in a topic prior to moving on to the next topic, you will eventually learn the cello.
But the systematic presentation makes this book difficult to use in diagnosing difficulties in technique that are the result of improper form, or motion. The material is there, but sometimes it takes a good while to find the exact presentation you are looking for. But still, the author's insight into the difficulties students tend to accumulate are well worth the effort required to track it down. Who knows, maybe you will learn something else while you are perusing the book. But I find it difficult to come up with an approach that would accomadate this usage, so I do not criticise this. On the contrary, I think more non-beginning amateurs should get this book for this purpose! The effort is worthwhile.
The only criticism of this book that I have is that it does use pictures to show posture, and so on. I am sure that in the early editions of this book, the pictures were wonderfully clear and illustrate the subtleties of form and posture precicely. But the current printing quality leaves a lot to be desired, sadly. It would be well worth someone's time to replace the pictures with line drawings, which do not lose content as the printing quality deteriorates. And a fingerboard chart would really be helpful.
This book is a definite must!
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Format: Paperback
This is a very useful and intelligent book for beginning cellists. There is a wealth of information about cello technique, and an abundance of musical and even physical exercises (along with detailed instructions on how to read music). I am very glad I bought this book -- it's a gem.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
A Good Buy for Cello Students April 23 2001
By "hermitus" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a very useful and intelligent book for beginning cellists. There is a wealth of information about cello technique, and an abundance of musical and even physical exercises (along with detailed instructions on how to read music). I am very glad I bought this book -- it's a gem.
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A Must-have for all cellists! Aug. 19 2005
By H. Wang - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book uses illustrations, words, and music examples to explain every aspects of cello techniques, which I found interesting and useful. The look of the pages might not be as colorful or flashy than many other books, but you would have more fun out of it and really build up a healthy playing foundation for all cello music.

The author introduced the fourth position after the first position - a method I also use on all my cello students - which helps greatly in developing a good shifting habit. This is a very interesting and efficient approach, and I suggest all the cellists and teachers out there to give it a try!
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Easily Over-reated and Under-rated May 22 2003
By Patrick Walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book culminates a top quality effort in pedagoy in cello technique. It is intended for beginners in the cello, but probably should be on every amateur cellist's book shelf as a valuable resource guide. There is probably a good three years worth of material here. I'll let you know when I finish it!
This effort to present the art of playing the cello in a systematic way--a "cello method", however, both enhances and detracts from the lasting usefulness of this book. If you follow through this book step-by-step, and gain some proficiency in a topic prior to moving on to the next topic, you will eventually learn the cello.
But the systematic presentation makes this book difficult to use in diagnosing difficulties in technique that are the result of improper form, or motion. The material is there, but sometimes it takes a good while to find the exact presentation you are looking for. But still, the author's insight into the difficulties students tend to accumulate are well worth the effort required to track it down. Who knows, maybe you will learn something else while you are perusing the book. But I find it difficult to come up with an approach that would accomadate this usage, so I do not criticise this. On the contrary, I think more non-beginning amateurs should get this book for this purpose! The effort is worthwhile.
The only criticism of this book that I have is that it does use pictures to show posture, and so on. I am sure that in the early editions of this book, the pictures were wonderfully clear and illustrate the subtleties of form and posture precicely. But the current printing quality leaves a lot to be desired, sadly. It would be well worth someone's time to replace the pictures with line drawings, which do not lose content as the printing quality deteriorates. And a fingerboard chart would really be helpful.
This book is a definite must!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great for Beginning Adult Aug. 22 2013
By DivaMom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I’m a 40+ adult who has recently started learning the Cello. I used Amazon reviews to purchase several books and thought I would share what seems to be working for me. I meet with an instructor for 30 minutes a week, which is much too short for anything but corrections to my form. I’m renting an Eastman SV100 and am much more reliant on the books and Youtube (for sound rather than form) as I practice at home.

Books purchased:

The Art of Cello Playing by Louis Potter, Jr.- This is my primary instruction book at the moment and my go to source for relearning how to read music (flute player in a previous life, many, many moons ago and never learned to properly read music) as well as being a great source for practice. I do wish I had a CD/DVD with this since I tend to learn better when I can hear the music (remember that lack of learning to read music?!) The combination of this book with Cello Playing for Music Lovers has been very helpful and my instructor likes this book a lot.

Cello Playing for Music Lovers by Vera Mattlin Jiji- The layout of this book is not very intuitive to me but I really appreciate the position maps along with the scales as well as the CD with sound clips for 95% of the music . It’s another introduction book but it has more depth and pacing for multiple years of instruction. Based on references from this book, I also purchased The Art of Cello Playing by Louis Potter, Jr.

Suzuki Cello School Volume 1- Only purchased this because my instructor uses this method in our classes. In my opinion, it’s terrible for anyone who is trying to learn on their own unless you are much better at watching youtube for potential set up instruction than I am. Having said that, I am using this book for my practice in combination with The Art of Cello Playing, Cello Playing for Music Lovers and working with my instructor. I have found some great video clips on Youtube for each exercise in this book which I really appreciate since again, I need to hear how each piece is supposed to sound as I’m practicing.
If I were only working on my own, I would probably get the String Builder by Samuel Applebaum ( and recommended by Jim Aikin in Picture Yourself Playing Cello).

Picture Yourself Playing Cello by Jim Aikin- This is very good introduction for those of us who know nothing about the cello but are determined to learn it for whatever crazy reason driving you. I found it to be good for learning how to position your hands on the bow and general playing set up. I appreciated the DVD demonstrations and this book was very helpful for about two weeks. There is very little music included in the book but it’s great if you don’t have access to an instructor yet.

I hope this helps other adults exploring the cello. I love it and have yet to master anything other than the scale in first position in sharps. Ok master is being generous. It takes time and practice. Lots of time and practice. Enjoy.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I LOVE THIS BOOK!! Feb. 15 2013
By Sandra Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a classically trained flutist/music teacher and played Cello in college for a few years for my Music Education degree. I was heartbroken when I had to give the cello I borrowed back to the school. After about 5 or 6 years, I received a cello as a gift for Christmas and started up again. I needed a book that didn't waste time talking about theory and concepts that I already know and moved very quickly.

This book is wonderful for any older beginner with prior musical knowledge looking to get good at the cello really fast. It moves very quickly and is very thorough and doesn't spend time discussing reading bass clef, note values or any of that stuff you learn in music class. This book is NOT for a younger student or anyone looking to play casually; it's very intense. It doesn't have a lot of songs, but it's exactly what I need. It talks about forward and backward extensions within the first quarter of the book and 4th position shifting about half way through. Great for in depth knowledge of scales! With well over 200 pages, there's enough content to keep you busy for a long time.

Definitely worth a buy!!


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