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Suppose you are looking for sheet music as a beginner. Every famous cello player you have ever seen had to start with beginner music just like you. But there is such a great deal of music out there that it can be challenging to know where to start.
In that case, you need the best cello sheet music to start with, something designed for beginners, with the right level of challenge, explicit annotations, and maybe some helpful hints and explanations along the way.
The best cello sheet music to get started with is designed for beginners, with songs that have simple melodies in the first position.
Bottomline Up Front
I recommend the First 50 Songs You Should Play on Cello. It has excellent value with 50 pieces of sheet music in one book. Some of the other products might seem like the best cello sheet music to get started with because they have higher numbers of songs, but at some point, you trade quality for quantity.
Fifty songs give you something new to try for the first year or two of playing the cello.
All of the included pieces were evaluated based on their appropriateness for a beginner. As a beginner, you must have access to lots of different songs to jump back and forth between them, play different genres, and see what you like most.
The best cello sheet music to get started with is something meant for a new musician. I also reviewed sheet music that gave you the best bang for your buck.
What is the Best Cello Sheet Music to Get Started With
When evaluating the best cello sheet music to get started with, you must consider what type of music works best for you. Each musician has:
Different Musical Skills
A beginner won’t be able to read, let alone use the sheet music for a professional, and a professional won’t want sheet music for a beginner.
Different Preferred Genres
This takes many forms. If you are looking for new sheet music to help you learn your cello, simple songs are best. However, if you are an intermediate cellist, you might want music specifically for a school event or music for a funeral, suitable for church services, or fun with your band.
When trying to figure out the best cello sheet music to get started with, you want to look for something that appeals to you personally. If you don’t like country music, a book that contains 50 of the most popular country songs will be more complicated for you to learn as a beginner simply because you don’t have any familiarity with that genre or those songs.
By comparison, if you have a movie that you love or are a big fan of pop music, you might consider investing in a book of pop sheet songs because your familiarity with the songs will make it easier for you to hear if something is off when you play.
Evaluating the Best Cello Sheet Music
The best cello sheet music to get started with is based on a few different features. I always recommend starting with something appropriate to your skillset or level.
I have fallen victim to buying sheet music I know is too advanced for my skills, hoping that having it around will encourage me to get better. Unfortunately, it’s much the same as keeping clothes in your closet that you know don’t fit in hopes that they will fit one day again. It never ends well.
Most sheet music will be around in a few months or a year when you have refined your skillset and are ready to take on something more challenging. So, accept that as a beginner, you should stick with things designed for beginners.
Evaluating the best cello sheet music also means picking the right genre, picking music for your instruments, and picking things that fall within your budget.
Level of Skill
The best cello sheet music to get started with won’t just be the same music you listen to in the car. You have to pick something appropriate for your musical skill. As a beginner, you might be the person who just bought a cello and started your first private lesson.
Conversely, you might be the beginner who has played the cello on and off for a couple of years but not consistently. You must pick music marked for a beginner in either of these situations.
Most sheet music that comes from classical sources, like the Hal Leonard company, is grouped by its difficulty level, so you should be able to find somewhere in the description whether it’s meant for a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player.
It might say something like a beginner, medium, or hard. It might say level 1, level 2, level 3, etc. It might not use those words.
Check on the genre. There might be something your music teacher recommends specifically, like classical songs or duets. If you are a beginner but in school, there might be specific genres that you are encouraged to play, usually classical music.
If you are looking for sheet music to play with a band or at home without formal lessons, you might pick something like hit pop songs or Disney songs.
When you evaluate different sheet music, check to see whether it is a solo piece or has an accompaniment. Solo pieces only have sheet music for the cello, which may or may not suit your situation.
If you are practicing for a solo performance, then a solo piece will be best. By comparison, if you want something you can practice with your music teacher, you might look for a piece with a piano accompaniment or is designed for two cellos so that you and your cello teacher can play simultaneously.
Stay away from things designed for orchestras as a beginner because you won’t need anything to play with a large group at this level.
Budget is another consideration. Books of music cost between $10 and $20. Sheet music is much more affordable if you buy a book because you get significantly more songs, whereas if you buy individual pieces of music, you will typically pay between $0.99 and $5 per song.
Some websites offer free music, so if you are brand new and looking for the best cello sheet music to start with without spending any money, you can always start with free music and then set aside a small amount until you have the budget for a single book.
With that in mind, I selected the best cello sheet music to get started with based on the budget, skill level, and genre. I included things that gave you good value for the financial investment you made, came from various genres and were all appropriate for beginners.
The music I chose runs the gamut so that every type of beginner has something from which to choose. Some beginners start with a brand new cello in the privacy of their bedroom, with no formal instruction or help reading music, while others play during private lessons with a teacher.
Best Cello Sheet Music to Get Started With
Now that you have a better understanding of what type of music you should use as a beginner let’s look at some of the best cello sheet music selections to get started with.
Bach 6 Suites
Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics is highly regarded for any instrument or voice. If you are starting, you can find different volumes with beginner or intermediate sheet music. This particular publication, the Bach 6 Suites, is 56 pages with six cello suites. It is solo string contents only, not written with any accompaniment.
- Great for beginners and intermediates in lessons
- Consistent markings for phrasing, dynamics, and so forth
- Great for scholarly study
- Only Bach
- There is one printed error in the first suite, which is only a problem if you are performing for evaluation
The Six Sonatas are another Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics book, but for Vivaldi. These are slightly different in that they also have piano accompaniment, so if you are a cellist and want something you can perform with another musician, this might be something to consider.
The cello parts for this are the middle of the road in terms of difficulty, so if you are a brand-new musician, wait until you get some experience under your belt before purchasing this.
I still have copies of every music book I purchased from the Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics in high school and college. I love them, and you can return to them repeatedly or share them with friends and family members. Some of the books I have, have been (temporarily) passed down to my family members as they pick up a new instrument.
- An excellent set of classical music
- Has piano accompaniment
- Suitable to use for music lessons or practice
- Intermediate level difficulty
- Some users have argued that the cello parts are much more beautiful and involved than the piano parts, so warn your potential pianist.
Easy Classical Cello Solos: Featuring the Music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Others
If you want a lovely book of classical music from world-renowned composers, the Easy Classical Cello Solos: Featuring the music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and others book is a worthwhile investment.
I only recommend this for beginners because it takes classical songs by composers like Tchaikovsky and Mozart and provides simple arrangements that emphasize the melody from those songs. It’s a great collection of songs to use when a beginner. You can sight-read them or use them alongside your music lessons.
- 18 easy songs
- Great compositions for beginners
- Solo versions and some versions that can be played with a piano or guitar
- The solos are meant for beginners, so you don’t have the entire composition; you primarily have the melody
Big Book of Disney Songs: Cello
If you want something more exciting than Vivaldi, consider this Big Book of Disney Songs: Cello. This book is 82 pages long with 72 classic Disney songs from the Disney cartoon collections. If you grew up with movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, or The Lion King, you would love the songs in this book.
Because there are so many songs, be advised that you probably won’t be able to play them all at the start if you are a beginner. Some are very easy to sight-read, but others are categorized as intermediate or advanced.
This is a great book to have because you can turn to it throughout your musical career and learn to play something new.
- Great deal with 72 songs
- Lots of classic Disney songs
- A great chance to sight-read with so many different levels of music.
- If you aren’t a fan of Disney, you probably won’t like this
- Some of the arrangements are a little odd, not in the same key as you here in the film
First 50 Songs You Should Play on Cello
The first 50 Songs You Should Play on Cello is an excellent book by Hal Leonard. As the name suggests, this includes 50 popular songs with classical melodies, folk songs, Movie themes, and pop hits.
I love this series because they make the same collection of well-known songs or many different instruments. If you play the cello, the piano, and the saxophone, you can find this exact book modified for the cello, piano, or saxophone.
I genuinely love the range of songs you get with this book, and it’s one of the only books of cello sheet music that has such a variety. I recommend it for beginners because it’s easy to learn whether or not you are taking lessons, and you get to play a wide range of different genres to find the one you like best.
- Lots of genres in one book
- Great deal for the cost
- Designed for beginners
- No accompaniment, so you can’t play alongside other instruments
Answer: I recommend investing in books that have multiple songs. You will save a lot of money if you buy a single book. Most songbooks cost an average of $15.
By comparison, if you purchase individual sheet music online, you might pay an average of $4 per song. A book that cost only $15 could contain ten, twenty, even 50 songs. You can also start with free sheet music online or ask for copies of music from a music teacher or tutoring.
Answer: You do not need sheet music to learn how to play the cello. Many musicians learn to play by ear, listening to a song and then recreating it on their instrument. You can also learn by listening to accompanying audio files or CDs.
However, if you play without sheet music, you don’t get access to the exercises that improve your bow movements, key changes, or transitions.
Answer: Yes. Learning to read sheet music helps to expand your repertoire. This will help you increase your musical techniques, expose yourself to other genres, learn the notation system if you choose to pick up another instrument down the line and help pick out your part when you reach the point where you play with a group.
If you only learn by ear, you can probably memorize a handful of songs, but if you know to read sheet music, you don’t have to remember your music; you can just read it and play along.
While each option is a good investment, I recommend the First 50 Songs You Should Play on Cello because it covers such a wide range of genres. This is very important as a beginner because it helps determine what type of music you like to play most.
If you are a beginner, you don’t necessarily want only to learn classical music, and you don’t necessarily want to only learn pop songs for Disney songs. Having classical, pop, and more pieces allow you to get exposure to a wide range of musical genres.
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