Improve your cello practice

Cello etudes are an essential part of the traditional system of study. Now you can improve your practice using these free beginning cello etudes and start with a powerful foundation.

A love of cello etudes…

There are very few things in life that make me more excited than finding new cello etudes. I’ve been searching for etudes since I was in junior high, working on the Werner cello method by myself (my teacher at the time didn’t assign etudes or exercises) and found myself puzzled over the rests at the beginning of some of the studies. Was there (gasp) a piano accompaniment? This was before widespread internet access but I searched library catalogs, obsessively looked at the back covers of cello music looking for any mention of a piano part, and asked everyone I came across. Nobody had any idea…

Werner Cello Method

Finding out-of-print etudes

A few years later, we had our first computer (good old dial-up internet access) and I found Ebay. I searched for old cello music late into the night, every night.

​One night, I found a large collection of cello music on Ebay and in it, there was a copy of the Werner Cello Method Piano Accompaniment – all volumes. I was so excited to find out that yes, Werner had written a piano part; the book actually did exist! Now all I had to do was win the auction.

I put in a low bid and waited while the bids rose that week. I waited until a few hours before the auction closed and then I sat, staring at the page, refreshing it every few seconds.

​Dial-up internet was slow and unreliable and I was shaking as I waited for the minutes to tick by. One minute before the auction ended, I started bidding again. I bid higher (hands shaking,) bid higher, oh no – I’m outbid, bid higher, move faster Cassia! And then it was over. I couldn’t believe it but I had won. The Werner was going to be mine!

There have been numerous moments of great etude-finding joy since: The store in Italy that actually answered my email about a huge number of rare etude books they’d gotten from an old estate and sent the package with Zacchini, Moja, and so much more.

The library in Switzerland that didn’t answer the first five emails I sent but answered the sixth; with the file of the Nolck book I was looking for actually attached!

The used book stores and internet sites and WorldCat continue to have treasures and yes, there’s still Ebay.

Malkin Fundamental Method
Lee Method for the Violoncello

But through it all, the greatest joy has been playing and teaching with these amazing etudes. I knew there had to be a way to make them available in a practical way. It has taken a long time but we finally have a practical, graded system of rare and classic cello etudes that works for my students.

Hugo Becker 6 Special Etudes
Heberlein Cello School

A System that Compiles the Most Effective Etudes, in an Order for Learning

I soon realized that although I had collected all of these amazing etudes, they were not exactly in a usable form. The pages were often too dark to photocopy or scan and print. And, as every teacher knows, handing out piles of pages to young students isn’t a good idea.

In addition, most books had just one or two etudes at the level I needed and then I’d hand out a different few pages from another book.

It was making my students crazy and I knew there had to be another way.

Thus, The Cello Etude System was born.

Compiling the most effective etudes at each level from these rare books was quite fun! Putting them in order of difficulty was a nightmare. Pages blanketed the studio floor and I had to force myself back to the giant task over and over.

Finally, it was finished. Book 0 is easy enough to be skipped by more advanced beginning students but will give students a powerful technique from the very beginning.

The First Volume of Cello Etudes is Released!

This is the solo book. The student etude part is written on its own, without accompaniment. This can help with note-reading and making it easier to find and work on skills.

The Cello Etude System Part 0, Solo Book

Sample Pages from The Cello Etude System, Part 0: Beginning Studies

Etudes are the bridge between technical exercises and repertoire. The best etudes teach one or more specific cello skills, often combined with opportunities to develop musicality.

Etudes are an essential part of any cello curriculum and now, finally, there is a book that gives beginning cellists a system of etudes they can play from the very start of their cello journey!

The Cello Etude System Part 0, Solo Book Sample Page
The Cello Etude System Part 0, Solo Book Sample Page

Duet accompaniments provide another layer of teaching. With the duet accompaniments in this book, there is a focus on rhythm that will prepare the student for later chamber and orchestral music-making!

The Cello Etude System Part 0, Duet Book
The Cello Etude System Part 0, Duet Book Sample Page

There will be a number of volumes in The Cello Etude System:
Part 0: Beginning Level
Parts 1A and 1B: First Position, Closed
Parts 2A and 2B: First Position, Extended, and Half Position
Part 3A: First and Fourth Position
and (time permitting) many more! 

The Free Beginning Etudes

There were too many beginning etudes to fit in The Cello Etude System, Part 0 so we decided to offer you some of the extra beginning cello etudes in this blog!
Happy Etude Playing!

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 1

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 1

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 2

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 2

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 3

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 3

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 3, cont.

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 4

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 4

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 5

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 5

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 6

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 6

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 7

Free Beginning Cello Etude No. 7

Free Beginning Cello Etudes 8

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