What do I need to play the cello?

To learn to play the cello a number of items are needed. Of course the most important is a cello and a bow. There are some more things which are basic necessities.

For an introductory lesson, no instrument or other items are needed. To continue, you will need to obtain a cello in order to be able to practice at home.



It is possible to buy or rent the instrument from local violin makers. I can assist with choosing the right cello and bow. There are different sizes of cellos depending on the student age. In case of kids the instrument has to be of a good size, a general guide to follow is:

  • From 4 to 5 years of age use an one-eight cello
  • From 6 to 7 years of age use an one-fourth cello
  • From about 7 to 10 years of age use a half-size cello
  • From about 11 to 13 years of age use a three-quarter cello
  • From 14 years of age and over use a full-size instrument

Cello bow

cello bow

Much more than just a fiddlestick with horse hair, the bow is necessary to make sound on the cello. A good bow has to match the cello size and the player’s hand. Selecting the right bow is an art by itself. The types differ considerably, from the shape of the tip on the one end to the frog on the other end. Keep your bow in good shape by loosening the hair when putting it away.

Music stand

muziek standaard

To hold the sheet music you will need a music stand. There are various types of stands, most modern ones are made out of a lightweight metal and can be easily folded. The stand may have different features, such as wire-extensions and retainers. The quality and prices vary greatly, choose one depending on the purpose (to travel with, or to keep at home for practice).

Cello strap

cello pinhouder

The strap is used to secure the position of the cello, so it doesn’t slip away. It attaches under the leg of a chair, and the cello endpin can then rest in the holder. This item is also crucial to prevent damage to your floor.


cello hars

Rosin is a hard and slightly sticky substance produced from pine and used to treat the bow hair. It increases the friction and thereby the grip on the strings. It is an essential item for all string players.


cello cloth

Have a cloth in your case to wipe off any rosin powder spilled on the instrument. Make sure the cloth is soft so that you do not scratch the lacquer. Any microfiber cloth will do the trick.

Cello case

cello case

The case is a must have to protect your instrument. Most often, it is included with the cello when renting it.