Tape On Your Fingerboard
Does anyone have any thoughts about the use of tape to mark the 'frets' on
the cello for child or adult beginners. I'm an adult beginner and my teacher
uses tapes when teaching childern using the 'Suzuki' method. I've found it
helpful to have tapes on the first three 'frets' and at the octave but don't
want to get too dependent on them.
Any other suggestions for learning where to put my fingers to make the
'right' notes would be appreciated. Looking foward to hearing from you. Keep up the good work.
The use of tape is a great technique for learning where the notes are. One
you get a feel for how far apart your fingers need to be, and once you get
your ear trained so that you can tell when something is out of tune, then
the tapes can come off. The tape saves you frustration and the teacher
My answer below is based on the assumption that you are learning first
position right now.
You might try taking all the tapes off except the first one, where the B on
the A string is. In a sense, the first finger is the most crucial, since,
if it is out of tune, your other fingers are virtually guaranteed to be out
of tune too. If your first finger is sharp, the more likely event since
gravity pulls our arm down the fingerboard, everything else will be sharp
The next most crucial finger is the 4th finger (the pinky). If this finger
is flat, you will be squeezing your 2nd and 3rd fingers flat too. The
great thing about the 4th finger is that you can always check it with the
open string below. For example, the 4th finger on the A string is D, which
is one octave above your open D string. If your 4th finger is in tune with
the open string below, you are in great shape.
If your 1st finger and your 4th finger are in tune, your fingers in between
are likely to be in tune too, since the hand is sort of naturally in tune,
up to a point at least :)
The tape at the octave is nice to have for string tuning and for learning
thumb position. But it isn't really necessary since there is a natural
harmonic at the octave, also known as the half-string harmonic. This
harmonic provides a nice check point for playing in tune up there. But you
may not have gotten to this point on the cello yet.