Evie Coplan is a cello teacher at The London Cello Institute. She has a passion for sharing her love for the cello with adults who play for their own pleasure. She is also an enthusiastic performer both in solo and orchestra format.
Before you begin cello lessons you will need to find your first cello which is a fun and exciting journey as this cello will be your companion for many hours! You will need to be able to bring your cello to your lessons and then take it back home to practice in between your lessons.
Don’t worry if you don’t know if your cello is ‘good enough’ for your first lesson, your teacher will tell you if they think it’s necessary to change it and most people have many different cellos throughout their playing life until they find their perfect one.
When you first start your journey of learning the cello, most people start by renting a cello from a specialist string shop because you can easily change the cello if you need and you don’t need to invest in buying a cello whilst you are in the early days of learning.
Luckily at the London cello institute we hire out our own fantastic cellos, so if you are confused about where to look for your first cello, why not try one of ours that have been tried and tested by our cello teachers? There are also many great specialist string shops in London for hiring cellos such as Stringers of London, Chimes and Thwaites.
Prices for renting cellos can vary quite a lot in the 4/4 (full size) cello category in most shops so don’t be afraid to ask the shop what they would recommend for you to get started with. Often you will be able to take a cello on trial for a week, so make sure you take your cello to your lesson so you can get your teacher’s opinion. You can always adjust certain things on your cello such as the height of the strings, you can change the strings (there are many different types!) and you can change the bow which can help much more than you think, so keep an open mind.
You will need more than just a cello so make sure when you get your cello that you get a good case because you will need to transport it from your home to your cello lessons every week. Most rental cellos come in a soft case but you might want to buy a hard case if you choose to buy a cello as they are much more protective. You will also need rosin for your bow which doesn’t often come with the cello. Rosin varies a lot but your teacher will recommend a good one to get you started with so there is no need to worry!
When you feel you are fully invested in your cello journey, it is definitely worth investigating buying a cello. Buying a cello isn’t a quick or easy decision, it can take months of searching and trying different cellos to eventually find your perfect cello.
When searching for your cello, don’t judge the cello by it’s appearance! It can be very tempting to do this as cellos are very beautiful and you will want to display it in your home, but remember that the sound is the important part. When trying different cellos think about whether the cello feels comfortable to play because everyone is a different size, for example some people have short arms so they won’t want a deep cello.
You can buy cellos in specialist string shops, in auctions (make sure you get the chance to play it first) or you can find out about cellos through word of mouth. Before you buy your cello make sure you ask your teacher to try the cello and get lots of people’s opinions on it.
listening to other people play the cello very important because the sound is dramatically different when we play ourselves to what we hear from a distance. You will often find there will be a cellist working in the shop who will play the cellos for you so make sure you ask them to do so as this can be very helpful.
It’s crucial to get the cello professionally valued to get an accurate price, not just what the shop is selling it for – there is always room for negotiation! Cellos vary in price from around £500 to millions so work out your shopping budget before you start, but usually you can buy a lovely first cello for £5-10,000. Buying a cello is a big investment that you will never regret and you will form an attachment to your cello through your journey of learning.