When you first start lessons, it can be hard to remember everything you need to know about holding the cello and bow. This page is intended for adult beginners or parents of beginners who wish to reinforce concepts we've learned in our first lessons.
I. Find the right chair
Sit on the front of your chair. Keep your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Hips should be slightly higher than the knees. The knees will form an angle just larger than ninety degrees.
II. Find the right endpin height
The two C-bouts (the C-shaped cutouts on either side of the cello) may seem like they are meant to hold your legs; they are not. The purpose of the C-bouts is for the bow to pass through them without hitting the cello. Your legs go just under the C-bouts, so that the bow will not hit the tops of your thighs.
The bow passes through the C-bouts and has clearance over the thighs. If the endpin is too low, the bow will pass through the C-bouts and hit the tops of your thighs.
The C-string peg should be next to or behind the left ear.
There should be some space between the left shoulder and the scroll.
III. Prepare your bow hold
Imagine the end of your right thumb is square. The inside corner of your thumb is the only part of the thumb that touches the bow.
Gently curve the fingers of your right hand. Allow for a small space between each finger. Place a pen or pencil near the second knuckles.
Touch the inside corner of your thumb to the pencil across from the middle finger. The thumb is curved (opposite of a "hitchhiker's thumb"). All of the fingers are flexible.
IV. Add the bow
Gently curve the fingers of your right hand. Allow for a small space between each finger. Place the bow stick near the second knuckles. The middle finger rests half on the silver, half on the hair.
Touch the inside corner of the thumb to the bow stick next to the frog.
All of the fingers are still curved. There is still a small space between each finger.
There should be some space between the palm and the top of the bow stick. The fingers hang down over the side of the bow.
The bow is heavy and cannot be held with one hand; trying to do so introduces tension into the bow hold. When practicing bow holds, turn the bow vertically to take the weight off. To hold the bow horizontally, use two hands. When the bow lands on the strings, the strings will hold the bow up for you, and you can use just one hand.
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