First Pieces for a Beginner Cellist

There are many more numbers out there for cello than anyone in my school days could have imagined.

Just recently I have discovered three more sets of works—all from different composers—for beginner cello. What’s even better is that they are all duets for student and teacher! Hugo Schlemüller, Sebastian Lee, and Carl Schröder. All of which begin with open strings and continue on only in first position.

As a young teacher—even now, although I make my own duets somewhat extemporaneously—I am almost dumfounded at the lack of student/teacher material either available or totally neglected.

After having this serendipitous discovery of these little duet sets for beginner cellist and teacher, I have wondered at the sheer number that could have been available to me as a learner. I always ask why they were forgotten or neglected or even looked down upon. (Perhaps they were not up to snuff though more likely that some famous teachers all used other material and therefore the line of students becoming teachers used what they had learned from and so on.

It was the same for me. We had no other way to access scores except by calling or sending an order form so we were naturally not inclined to search deeper. The reverence of Teacher’s Word was also something to be regarded as though it were the only thing that mattered. (Respect your teachers, obviously, but perhaps do some searching for more material farther afield. After all, like I have “discovered”—thanks to uploaders at IMSLP—new works that way.

Eventually, I will play all of these sets of duets: Schlemüller, Lee, and Schröder. And I will have a greater base of beginner works to treat my students to.

And then, after recording each set, it might be interesting to compare the various works side by side. Perhaps to compare the scope and progression of each set. How fast do they progress to more advanced techniques? Do they have the same hand frame in mind throughout?

Regardless, I am simply excited by the wider range of material available and at our immediate disposal. Go look up Hugo Schlemüller, Sebastian Lee, and Carl Schröder. Print out some music and play duets with your teacher or someone who just wants to play.