Do you find yourself wishing your budget could accommodate more private lessons each week? Having a difficult time knowing if you're playing a piece correctly when an instructor isn't there to provide feedback? Are you a student who does better with guided direction than left to your own devices?
You're in luck, because the newest apps for learning to play the cello include everything from video tutorials and ear training exercises, to play-along versions that keep your playing on track - and moving forward - even when a teacher isn't there to provide feedback.
5 new apps to take you to the next level
These apps are not a substitute for personalized cello instruction with a human being, but they do fill in the gaps, tailoring practice sessions to your personal schedule and preferences. Some also offer the ability to record yourself so you can listen-back (or receive app feedback) with more objectivity.
Play Along Cello App by Jzuki Music
Jzuki Music follows the Suzuki method for violin and cello. Users simply download the app and then select the level you're working at. It offers technical tips and instructional videos, and provides a listing of songs for cellists to play along with - karaoke style.
Students can play with their backtracks or videos, and many students will enjoy the app's modern take on popular songs, which make them more relevant. This app is designed for the younger beginning learner, although any beginning to low-intermediate student will benefit from its use.
Watch this short YouTube Video to view a demo and learn more about how Jzuki Music works.
FREE Cello Lessons
For adult learners, or older students deciding whether they want to play cello or not, cello apps can be the first step in determining whether or not you have the interest, time and dedication to pursue the instrument more seriously.
If that resonates, we recommend exploring FREE Cello Lessons. The app has received rave reviews, and is as beneficial for young children as it is for adults. A cello can be rented monthly for reasonable rates, giving students the opportunity to try it out - without making a significant investment. This app is just as good for committed learners who want to optimize rehearsal time.
Cello Ear Training
"Good" string players are actually great musicians. Why? Because unlike instruments like piano or guitar - where specific keys or frets yield specific notes - strings players must have a good ear in order to do their work well.
The irony is that ear training can be a little tricky on your own if you don't have the right guidance. That's where Cello Ear Training comes in. The app makes ear training a game: students listen to the musical questions asked to them, and then play them back to their phone, iPad or tablet. Then the app provides accurate feedback. Beginning "questions" are easy, becoming progressively complex in response to "right answers," leading to more challenging intervals and/or rhythmic patterns.
It's a wonderful way to experience customized ear training, right where you're at, and propelling you to the next step. Superb ear training is invaluable as a musician, and will continue to be of benefit the more you continue to work on your improvisation skills.
Purely Cello is one of the highest-quality cello apps on the market - and you'll pay for that. However, with a one-time purchase of $60, it's very reasonable - particularly if you take advantage of their current 30% discount. Students can also opt to "rent" the app by the month - an affordable way to try it out. Either way - Purely Cello's cost breakdown is significantly less than private lessons, and provides structured practice that inevitably optimizes time spent with a private instructor.
This app provides structured, interactive practice tools, including more than 270 different composed routines, for beginner through advanced players. The routines include scales and arpeggios and melodic exercises. It also provides "playback" scores after you record your own playing, and real-time progress monitoring. Plus, the app offers both American and Irish tunes, a nice break from typical beginner/intermediate classical pieces.
Music Theory Pro
Solid music theory is the foundation from which musicians move from beginner, to advanced, and then professional. It's also integral for any musician interested in getting into a music school. However, this aspect of musical education is often skipped over in younger and/or less serious youth orchestra rehearsals in order to "learn the notes."
Many of the music theory apps out there are designed for guitarists, but Music Theory Pro includes theory and ear training lessons up to the advanced level. Its game-style format makes it fun for students of all ages and, because the app is online, you can challenge yourself by facing-off with other Music Theory Pro users around the world.
Whether you're a serious cello student who needs some extra support, or a cellist who is taking a DIY approach to learning and instruction - these new apps will take your musical skills to the next level.