If you have found your way to this web site, you are likely suffering from uncomfortable tension or pain while playing the cello. This site has been created for the benefit of all cellists: students, amateurs, and professionals. The purpose of the site is to learn how to position oneself and play based on principles of balance. Although the activities and instructions may seem simplistic, the most efficient and therefore least stressful motions and activities are generally the most simple.
If you have chronic issues with pain and tension in multiple areas, I encourage you to work through the entire web site. Here is a video that covers some of the more common complaints that can be resolved by working through this web site:
If you are only having difficulties in one area of playing, you can find suggested shortcuts on this page: Problem Solving
If you plan to work the entire site, begin with the broader concepts and work your way down to the details. There is no point in proceeding to Right Arm/Hand Balance if Standing Balance, or Balance through Movement is not well understood. In every application of balance, we must be able to go back to the most basic sensations, draw on our experience, and apply it to each new situation. If you intend to work through the entire web site, I recommend this order:
- Principles of Balance
- Right Hand/Arm Balance
- Bow Hold
- Defining Planes
- Rotational Force
- Left Hand/Arm Balance
- Movement and Breath (this can be useful at any point)
- Spring Action and Flexibility
Working with students has demonstrated that it is easiest to experience balance with the right hand/arm first, and once you have a good understanding of that, to move to the left hand/arm.
Change takes time. Teaching our body new sensations takes time. We must be patient and work with mindfulness and awareness at all times. We must be kind to our bodies – after all, they are only doing what we have asked or demanded in the past. Our actions are habitual, and habits are resistant to change.
In all cases, read the text, watch the video, and then feel free to ask questions.