Is The Cello Hard to Learn?

The cello is a unique instrument that only a limited number of talented cellists can play correctly. It’s not as popular as other stringed instruments like the guitar or the violin, but the sound it produces can’t be replicated easily. 

How Hard Is It to Learn the Cello?

The Cello is challenging to learn, especially when compared to easier instruments like the guitar and the ukulele.

However, if you put in the required time and effort, you should be able to get the hang of it over time. Still, it’s not an instrument that you can learn with some quick YouTube tutorials. It’ll take you a while before you’re able to play your first song. 

How Long Do You Need to Learn the Cello?

The exact duration you need to learn the cello varies greatly depending on how many hours you practice every day and whether you’re trying to teach yourself or being taught by a professional cellist.

It also depends on your learning goals. Do you want to just grasp the basics to be able to play a few songs for fun? Or are you trying to become a professional cellist and make a career out of it? Based on the answers to these questions, you should be able to get a more accurate time estimate for how long it’d take you to learn the Cello.

As a general rule of thumb, expect to spend at least a couple of years until you learn how to play the cello to some extent. 

On a side note, if you’re already familiar with the process of reading notes and rhythms, you might be able to learn the instrument more quickly. 

What Makes the Cello Harder to Learn Than Other Instruments?

Here’s everything that makes the Cello challenging to learn:

The Pitch

Unlike other instruments, a cello requires you to use more than one pitch for the same note, making it harder for you to play the instrument in tune. You need to identify when note tempering is required to achieve the best tonal quality.

The Bow

The cello’s bow can be challenging to hold. If you want to master the cello, you must learn how to hold the bow comfortably while also getting the highest level of control. Your fingers need to be supple enough to prevent strain. If your fingers are fatigued, the sound quality won’t be as you expect.

Ear Training

Mastering the cello requires a great deal of ear training. Training your ear so that you’re able to recognize the name of each note, scale, chord progressions, and other elements will make it easier for you to grasp the musical construction of whatever you’re playing.

How to Learn the Cello Faster

The best way to learn the Cello is to practice daily. Without practicing daily, you’ll find your instructor repeating themselves week after week with the same concepts.

To make things move faster, you need to practice between lessons as much as you can. Once you learn a new concept, you must keep practicing it before moving to the next one.

If you’re short on time, you can play some open strings to improve your tonal quality. But it’d also be great if you make some extra time for scale practice; it can make all the difference!

Also, here’s a little secret: Get a rock stop. A rock stop, or an anchor as some people call it, makes it easier for beginner cellists to learn the instrument. It prevents the endpin from slipping on the floor. 

How Much Should You Spend on Your First Cello?

As a beginner, you shouldn’t spend more than 2 grand on a new cello. You can find a decent-quality student cello for around $1,000. Some models can cost you much less than that, but you’ll probably need to upgrade your instrument much sooner.

However, keep in mind that poor-quality cellos will have bad tuning pegs, poor sound, and an inconsistent tone.

Regardless of your budget, make sure that you buy a cello that’s suitable for your body measurements. If the cello is too big for you, you won’t be able to learn it no matter how hard you try. Consulting your instructor or the person at the music store about the right size cello for you should do the trick. 


To recap, learning the cello is not easy, but that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged and ditch the whole thing altogether. Still, you need to take into consideration that learning the cello requires a lot of practice. You’ll probably also need to commit to a few lessons each week. 

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

I’ve been a writer with Musician Wave for six years, turning my 17-year journey as a multi-instrumentalist and music producer into insightful news, tutorials, reviews, and features.

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