Figuring Out How to Teach Cello Arpeggios
As long as I have been studying or teaching cello, learning arpeggios consisted of seeing an arpeggio and trying to play it. This was fine; even workable, but as I came to discover, not the best way to learn or teach cello arpeggios that would be consistently in tune.
Some students struggled mightily with the larger spaces. Other students didn't understand the concepts behind the fingerings. All in all, even the most talented and advanced students only played a perfect arpeggio about 1/3 of the time, which wasn't great for auditions!
I became acutely aware of the lack of an actual cello method for teaching arpeggios when Theresa Villani (a wonderful cellist and teacher) reached out to ask if I had one. Since I had no idea where to start, I did quite a bit of brain-storming... and wrote a scale method instead!
After Learning Three-Octave Scales on the Cello was published at the end of August 2019, I still didn't quite know which arpeggio fingerings to pick for the book but at least I had a blueprint for how to teach notes and spaces.
I finally settled on three distinct fingerings for Learning Three-Octave Arpeggios on the Cello. The first fingering, used in the Galamian Scale System for Cello (among other books) is a little like a staircase; you go up the C string, then over to the G, then up the G, then over to the D, then up the D, then over to the A.
The second fingering is very straightforward: you go across to the A string and shift up the A string.
The third fingering, used in Klengel Technical Studies for Cello, Volume One, shifts up to the thumb on the D string and then has you play the top octave of the arpeggio in thumb position.
Each of these three fingerings has something to teach cellists. A study of all three fingerings will give you a comprehensive knowledge of fingerboard geography and larger shifts on the cello.
Free Cello Arpeggio Preparatory Studies!
To celebrate the release of this new book, we are offering free preparatory studies for Three Octave Arpeggios on the Cello. Click on each picture to see the image enlarged. If you would like the file as a free PDF, fill out the form below and your download will be on the next page.
Cassia Harvey can't ever find or play enough exercises. She searches for rare and out-of-print studies and etudes in her free time. If you know of any, please let her know. Seriously; it's an obsession.