Left Hand Basics on the Cello

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 33,148
    Diana from the International School of Music demonstrates how to play with your left hand on a cello.
    My name is Diana and I'm here at the International School of Music. In this clip, we will be covering left hand basics. So, one of the first things that you want to do is basically just take your left arm and close your fist around the neck of the cello. You can even move it up and down the neck of the cello. And notice, the line from your knuckles down to our elbow. This should basically be a straight line or something that water could slide down without any bumps or curves in the pathway. So after you've done this, you want to gradually move your fingertips across the string. So you can even just start by strumming and notice how everything moves as a unit. Then taking the fingertips, you can try tapping them across each string. Again, the fingers should be curved and your thumb moves freely with the other fingers. It's the fingertips themselves that are meeting and making contact with the string.

    So in order to just assure, be certain that your thumb is not gripping, you can even tap it on the neck of the cello. And you always want to keep your thumb with the second finger. So in cello, this is the second finger, one, two, three, and four. So it's almost as if you were making a C with those two fingers. So after you've noted where each of the strings are, you want to basically be certain that in any given position, in the beginning this will just be first position, but later as you become more advanced, this might include other positions across the neck of the cello. But basically, make sure that all fingertips are available in any given position. So that means that you could put any finger down without having to make excessive adjustments in the arm. So another thing to keep in mind is the angle of your hand. Depending on the size of your hand and your finger length, you may want to angle your knuckles slightly back towards your face. So this also helps facilitate all fingers available in any given position and makes it more accessible once you start doing things like extensions. So the weight of the arm should be applied, weight should be transferred through the fingers by the weight of the arm as opposed to squeezing or gripping. So you can find this just by noting that the arm begins all the way down from the back and comes through here. I'm feeling the heaviness through the arm as if you were hanging from a tree limb. And another thing before getting started, that's helpful to do is again just trace the length of any string with the fingertips, again, keeping contact with the fingertips along the entire length of the string. So in the next clip, we will be going further in-depth with the left hand and we'll be doing some notes with, learning the notes on the cello and also doing some pizzicato or plucking of the strings.