Learning to play an instrument requires discipline, determination, and dedication. The benefits of committing to an instrument are plentiful, and this is especially true of learning to play the cello. Producing beautiful music is a reward in and of itself, but there are additional physical, mental, and psychological benefits, as well.
String instruments are commonly associated with heightened intelligence, and there is research to support this connection. Children who begin to learn how to play the cello at an early age tend to demonstrate more capability in solving difficult problems; the cognitive benefits are not reserved for children who play the instrument, however. Cello players of all ages have been reported as having more gray matter in their brains, which is commonly connected to essential functions such as auditory processing, motor control, and memory. Similarly, there also appears to be a relation between executive function and cello practice, suggesting that by learning to play this instrument, individuals are more disciplined, focused, and task-oriented.
Professional cellists often report that the act of playing their instruments is therapeutic. Unlike other smaller string instruments, the cello requires the integration of the full body. Players are required to ground themselves and assume a position of stability, but they must also release tension from their bodies in order to achieve a better sound. This collaboration between mind and body strengthens players in ways that other activities cannot. Playing the cello is also an excellent method of emotional release; with an extensive number of musical compositions that portray various emotions, players can easily play through their frustration, sadness, and excitement.
In a similar way, the cello is an excellent vehicle for self-expression. With a range that is comparable to the human voice, there are not many instruments that can content with the cello’s ability to convey emotion.
It would be difficult to argue that there is a more versatile string instrument than the cello. It can play in three clefs because of its size, and it is an important part of nearly every orchestra and ensemble. Though there are fewer options for the cello than for smaller string instruments, cello players have a sizable selection of solo pieces that can stun an audience.
The cello is an undeniably beautiful instrument; there is a reason, after all, why so many composers have written solo pieces for the cello. As with any instrument, the task of learning to play is a challenge, but the cello can be picked up and studied by individuals of any age and experience level, provided they are dedicated to practice.