Since I bought the cello on Monday, I have practiced on it twice: Tuesday and Thursday. Being me, I thought I was going to sit down, put bow to string, and beautiful music was going to glide out of the instrument. Well, no. It wasn't quite like that.
I currently am in possession of Klengel's Technical Studies for the Violoncello - Volume 1. I also have J. S. Bach's Six Suites for Cello Solo and Brahms' Cello Sonata No. 1 in E Minor. Cellists reading this post will be saying "Andrew, no." These pieces are well beyond my level, as I can barely make it through the scales in the Klengel.
My first practice session was kind of disastrous, as I couldn't even get the damn thing to stay in tune. I didn't know whether it was the instrument, me, the climate, or some other factor. All I knew is once I finally got the instrument in tune, it was immediately out of tune after I finished a single scale. I muddled through a few two-octave whole note scales before giving into temptation and attempting the Bach. It was a good exercise in finding the notes, but I certainly couldn't take more than a few measures.
Thursday's results were similar to Tuesday's. I struggled to get the instrument in tune. This time, I would tune a string, and then the action of tuning another string knocked the first string out of tune. That was maddening, and I screamed once (but didn't throw anything) before finally getting all the strings at pitch. I got bored with the two-octave whole note scales and tried some quarter note scales with different bowings. I then treated myself to a few measures of the Brahms.
What I need is a beginner's book of cello solo pieces so I can actually begin learning where the notes are. Having played the violin, I can maneuver myself around the cello. Of course, the increased distance between the notes is an adjustment I need to make (it's greater than I expected). On the violin, the next pitch up always meant one additional finger. On the cello, it sometimes means two fingers.
Since every good blog has links, I will give you my secret to tuning without a pitch pipe/tuner/tuning fork.