Disclaimer: If you are a beginning cello player, I really encourage you to have a private cello teacher for a bit. It is good to have someone who can keep an eye on establishing good foundations of playing cello. Check out some local teachers or myself via: email@example.com
First Position is really important to establish when you are first learning the cello. Make sure that either a private teacher or a music shop has put on some dots where your left hand fingers should go. I usually try to avoid tapes because those tend to shift more on the fingerboard as they get old. My rule for stickers is that by the time the sticker falls off the fingerboard, you should know what and where that note is.
Book to use if you are a teacher
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I got this teaching technique when I was in school learning under Dr. Laurie Scott. She co-wrote a book with another amazing music pedagogue William Dick. Mastery for Strings is a great book for any music educator who has to teach beginner strings. It covers all the notes in first position as well as techniques and practice sheets that can help a student really learn first position well.
What are the notes?
The notes on the A string are: A, B, C natural, C sharp, and D. It is good to speak the notes before you play the note. This really ensures that there is good coordination between left and right hands because it gives you time to get the string down and makes sure you are all set before you play.
What rhythm should I use to play them?
Using the rhythm four sixteenth notes, 2 eighth notes, is one that is commonly used in the Suzuki training books. However, I really like this rhythm because it encourages fast use of the bow and takes out the complication/frustration for a beginner who may try to use long sustaining notes. You can definitely try some other rhythms with these notes, but I would try to stay away from just one long sustained note.
To be continued…
Keep an eye out for the other First Position videos covering the other strings. This series is part of my Cello 101 series and my hope is that this helps out beginner cello players really lock down the foundation skills you need to know to play cello successfully. Let me know in the comments below if there are other questions you may have about the cello!