Online learning resources, be it courses, videos, written content, one-on-one coaching, apps, et cetera, provide fantastic opportunities to learn (and teach) how to play the cello and understand music more generally. Though nothing truly beats dedicated in-person cello lessons, there are plenty of excellent alternatives online.
Note that by “resources,” I'm not only referring to video tutoring and full-length courses (though these are arguably the best options). I'm also considering masterclasses, applications, videos and articles, and other online resources for learning how to play the cello.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I’ve done my best to list out these resources based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Reputation of the cello learning resource
- Quality of education in technique, theory, and learning real songs
- Organization and depth of learning
- Adaptability of teaching to individual students (one-on-one lessons are best here)
- The resource must be currently available
With all that being said, let’s list out the learning resources.
The top 11 best online resources to learn how to play the cello are:
- Sage Music
- iMusic School
- Cello Academy
- Olga Redkina
- Online Cello Lessons
- Cello Discovery
- Adult Cello
- Play With A Pro
- InterHarmony International School Of Music
In this article, we'll go through each of the above-mentioned resources to get a stronger idea of what makes them great for learning the cello. Whether you're a complete beginner or a successful professional, there is always something to learn! I'll include links to check out each of the options for yourself to learn more about cellos. We'll also consider a few “honourable mentions” worth considering.
ArtistWorks is a well-known and one-of-a-kind online learning resource that allows students to learn various instruments from professionals anywhere. What makes ArtistWorks unique is its Video Exchange Learning. This learning method lets students take videos to communicate with their instructor and receive a response video with feedback and tips. This interaction is then uploaded to the Video Exchange Library, where other students can watch and learn from your experience.
Students will get unlimited access to video lessons, music theory workshops, a play-along backing track, and a free ebook along with the Video Exchange Learning. The cello course taught by Mike Block will teach you everything from beginner to advanced, jazz, blues, classical, rhythmic & chordal playing and much more. If you are looking for on-demand video lessons with the option to submit your own videos for professional feedback, then this is the course for you!
Sage Music is a music school that offers in-person and online learning options. You can expect the same level of commitment and professionalism in both learning options. There are numerous instruments to choose from and lessons for all levels and ages. The teachers here use a science-backed Arpeggio® lesson system in video classes to help students learn everywhere in the world.
There are a few online cello lessons you can choose from, including beginner to advanced, popular music, classical and private. Once you sign up, you will receive a link in your email. Click the link on a video-enabled device, and at your scheduled class time, your teacher will be there.
Not only will you get step-by-step lessons from professional teachers in the comfort of your own home, but your teachers will also customize lessons to your goals, skill levels, etc., so you can learn the music and styles you want.
iMusic School is an incredible resource for students to learn multiple different instruments. When you become a student, you will access all of the school's instrument lessons. This is an excellent resource for musicians looking to learn more than one instrument.
The cello lessons range from beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert. Students will get access to the Music School app. The platform is user-friendly and features masterclasses and on-demand video lessons from well-known musicians and teachers.
Cello Academy is a free resource to learn to play the cello by cellist and musician Hans Zentgraf. He offers numerous free lessons on his website and Youtube covering beginner lessons, cello repertoire, cello technique and even how to play cello with piano. The classes are video-based and suitable for all level cellists.
Along with complimentary classes, you can also take virtual private lessons and short, intense courses with Hans Zentgraf. This is a great option to get feedback and learn one-on-one from a professional cellist.
Olga Redkina is a professional cellist and soloist who offers online lessons and private sessions to connect and teach students to play the cello. She teaches students of all ages and skill levels worldwide.
The course is a mix of videos, applied playing and music theory. Students will get access to over 400+ on-demand video lessons that they can take at their own pace. The course starts by going through the fundamentals of playing the cello, such as how to hold a cello, tuning and beginner scales, moving to more advanced materials as your progress.
Private lessons are also available using Skype or any other video conference app. These classes are personalized and help give the same one-on-one teaching found in a classroom. To see if Olga is a good fit for you, students can sign up for a free trial lesson at either a beginner, intermediate or advanced level.
Online Cello Lessons
Online Cello Lessons is a video-based learning resource for beginner and advanced students to learn cello from Daniel Holloway, cellist and teacher. There are many lessons to choose from that take you through everything from cello techniques, such as holding the cello and bow to the fundaments of music theory and rhyme.
This learning resource aims to teach you the best-practicing styles that will allow you to make the most out of each lesson and help you learn the cello more effectively. New lessons are added every month and are accompanied by sheet music that you can download or print to practice after your lessons. In addition, Daniel teaches a few different music styles such as classical, fiddle and blues.
At Cello Discovery, students can take online lessons to learn to play the cello while also becoming a part of a musical community. The course includes lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced, making it a great option for cello players at any level. Cello Discovery is targeted towards adults looking for affordable cello lessons and may not be the best option for children. However, if you are an adult wanting to learn to play the cello for the first time or relearn, this is a great option!
There are over a hundred step-by-step video lessons with interactive music scores. In addition, you will also get access to finger charts and downloadable literature. A notable part of Cello Discovery is that it has an in-house community page where you can ask questions, share videos and communicate with fellow cellists taking the courses.
Adult Cello is an online learning course tailored towards adults looking to learn the cello taught by Billy Tobenkin, a professional cellist. The course goes over techniques and tools of playing the cello as an adult and has a curriculum made to help overcome physical and mental challenges one may run into as an adult cello student.
Adult Cello offers a course called “Cello in 30 Days Online Course: The Ultimate Beginner Course”. It focuses on daily reinforcement to help learn and master the cello. There are 30 half an hour on-demand video lessons that build upon the previous day's lesson. In addition, it also features masterclasses, weekly study packets and a new song at the end of each week to play. When you purchase the course, you get lifetime access so you can learn and go at your own pace and on a schedule that fits your lifestyle.
TakeLessons is a superb platform for musicians looking to find online lessons or local teachers.
How it works is you first find a teacher that fits with what you are looking for by exploring reviews, prices bios, whether you want online or in-person lessons, etc. Then, book a lesson with your instructor, who will create customer lessons specific to you, your skill level and goals.
Not only is this a great resource for students to find great teachers, but it is also beneficial for teachers to find students. Putting your teaching profile on TakeLessons allows the app to find students for you to teach and deals with all the transactions and fees.
Play With A Pro
Play With A Pro gives students the opportunity to learn how to play musical instruments from the comfort of their own home by teachers online through one-on-one video lessons. You are able to choose from hundreds of different teachers, and some offer free introduction lessons to see if it is a right fit prior to buying lessons.
If private video lessons are not for you, Play With A Pro also offers masterclasses from world-renowned musicians. A notable masterclass is with Ralph Kirshbaum, a respected teacher and cellist. In his masterclass, you will get access to 18 video lessons that go over the fundaments of playing the cello.
InterHarmony International School Of Music
The InterHarmony International School Of Music (IISM) offers classical online teaching and training programs year-round. Students can learn and practice from home through private online music lessons. Then, they are given the opportunity to meet their professors in person at the InterHarmony International Music Festivals in Italy and Germany.
Since this is a school, you will need to apply for the Fall or Spring program that you want to take. The four programs are:
- Young Artist
- Independent Artist Mastery
- Music InterMezzo
Students will need to audition for the school as well, either via live virtual auditions or audition videos.
IISM is for students of all ages. There is a range of instruments programs to choose from, such as cello, piano, flute, oboe, etc. The online cello classes are taught by renowned cello performers such as Misha Quint. The program combines online lessons, music classes, solfege, and recitals. Students will also get access to masterclasses and workshops.