Learning to play the cello is a challenging yet rewarding. Whether you’ve recently made the commitment and investment to master this versatile, truly beautiful instrument or have been enjoying its delights for years, the right tools help you achieve your goals.
Today, many of these helpful tools are software applications. New innovators are constantly building and improving apps to enhance the ease and fun of learning a new skill like the cello.
We've updated our list of some of the best mobile apps that cello students can use to learn the bowing techniques, intonation, execution, and other skills needed to master the cello.
New Apps Added to Our List
Master Vioncello Tuner by Netigen Music Tuners, is a well-reviewed app, available for both android and iOS devices. It has both a pitchfork and tuner mode and is designed to serve anyone from the amateur to professional cellist. For $5, this tuner app may be a serious upgrade from the simpler, free tuner apps on our original list.
Cello Coach is an app developed by cellist Jonathon Humphries. It's marketed to both students and teachers. It lets students track and share their scores, allowing teachers see how their students are progressing. The app itself provides real-time feedback on lessons that vary from scales to etudes, and positioning exercises. You can select music by genre, which cover the expected classical genres, and also gaming tunes, musicals, movie/TV scores, and holiday music.
You can also check out various learning sites that offer self-directed cello courses, like iMusicSchool and the Cello Academy. They both offer a wide catalogue of video cello lessons. iMusicSchool has a broader selection, from "Basic Elements of Cello" to advanced masterclasses, as it draws from a community of teachers. The Cello Academy is the brainchild of cellist Hans Zentgraf.
Last, we've listed more amazing cello apps here, including ear training apps designed specifically for cellists and music theory apps.
Updates to our original List of Cello Apps
These apps remain available only for iPhone and iPad users, which is the downside. But if you're one of the millions running an iOS device, they're both great options for all skill levels.
PlayAlong Cello “listens” as you play your cello and provides interactive feedback. Vivid displays show you the sheet music while the song is being played. Then you play your cello as the app guides and records your cello notes, noting any mistakes. You can set the sheet music display to reflect your level of experience. Beginners can have the note names included, while the apps' Smart Charts remove the finger charts and note names for those cellists ready to master a work.
The app tallies all of your practices so you can keep track of your progress. The 250+ song selection library can be filtered by skill level. There are 15+ scales since everyone needs to practice their scales! You can also customize the tempo and pitch of any tune.
Cello Racer gamifies cello practice. For beginners this cello game app speeds up learning music notation for the first time. More advanced cello students can use it to improve their playing accuracy and speed. Use this app during practice. It listens to you play your cello notes and provides interactive game feedback on your performance. As you play each note correctly, your race car remains fueled and passes others. As you gain proficiency, you unlock new levels.
Learn Cello Lessons Purely by Music Future Ltd
Purely Cello is available as an android app and for Apple. Much like PlayAlong Cello, it contains features that help give structure to your cello practice so that you can develop your skills for greater accuracy and execution. It's updated its library from 70 to 270 routines, and added categories beyond its Rudiments & Foundations, which focuses on scales, arpeggios, and melodic exercises. You can also work with Irish traditional and American folk songs.
There's a free and paid version – the paid version provides more options and functions. Testing out a free app before buying is always a great option to ensure the app suits you. As of this publishing, the site is running a 30% off sale; you can either pay a one-time fee for lifetime access or subscribe through a lower monthly fee.
Learn Cello by Music Lifeboat
Alright, this app is still listed in Google Play, but there's no mention of it on the developer's website anymore. It's unclear if this app is still supported. There aren't any reviews past 2018 and the tenor of the reviews isn't so encouraging. Per the description page, this app offers lessons lead by Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist, Gloria Lum.
A very basic tuner, Cello Tuner by Alvin Yu is a free app for iOS devices that makes it easy to tune your cello wherever you are. It features basic sustainable pitch for each string so that you can quickly check and adjust your instrument. The Android version by Max Schlee is a bit fancier and costs $2 to download. It also offers cello students 10 different pitch modes, allowing you to explore and recreate the sounds of your favorite orchestras. These may be suitable tuner apps to start out, but you may also want to look our new cello tuner app suggestion above.
What cello apps are you using? How is it going? What do you wish you could find in an app to help you cello-wise?
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