Learning an instrument takes time, money, practice, and determination. While taking lessons is certainly an option, there are ways you can teach yourself if you are feeling particularly independent or want to minimize expenses. The cello is a challenging instrument to learn, even with an instructor but there are resources and tips available to help you teach yourself the basics.
For many instruments, especially those in the string family, learning from books of music is common with or without a teacher. As such, it is advised that you pick up a few books when you are learning how to play the instrument so that you become familiar with the notes and teach yourself how to read the music. You can visit a local music store or shop for these books online, and in some cases, you can even find these materials used.
Some books may be designed to accompany professional lessons, so look for those that are more tailored to beginners. It is helpful to search for books that not only include sheet music but also information pertaining to instrument care, proper posture, and music theory.
Visual learners may find it difficult to learn how to play the cello through books alone. Fortunately, there are numerous videos online to help. From educational videos that feature tips on how to practice and demonstrations on how to hold the bow to videos of performances, the Internet hosts thousands of videos that can help beginning cellists learn how to play the instrument.
Just like with learning a new language, learning the play the cello can be facilitated through the use of apps on your phone or tablet. Beneficial apps include digital tuners and accessible, interactive lesson plays. Some apps gamify cello playing to encourage regular practice while others feature notable cellists who offer their expertise and insight to help novices learn. While most of the apps available are not free, they provide some cost-effective alternatives for determined learners who are unable or not yet willing to afford private lessons.
Learning to play the cello is a worthwhile pursuit, and while lessons are advisable, you can certainly endeavor to teach yourself using the aforementioned resources.