Cello lovers and cellists of all ages and abilities can find an online community in a Facebook group. Groups exist for teachers, students, specific countries and regions, and more.
This article explores the types of Facebook groups available to cellists, along with some representative examples and suggestions for getting the most out of these communities. It will focus primarily on groups where members can post and interact. Occasionally, I will suggest a page representing a single cellist or organization. Note that some groups have privacy settings with screening questions that make the group available only to cellists, while others are open to anyone who wants to join.
I chose the groups in this article based on the criteria that they have actively contributing members and are relatively spam-free. I also focused my recommendations on the groups where most posts are written in English. No matter where you are in the world, whether you teach, study, or love the cello, a group exists for you!
Groups representing specific US states, such as the Idaho I Love Cello Club, can help you keep up with local cello happenings and find cellists in your area. To get the most out of these local groups, Idaho I Love Cello Club admin Kjirsten advises taking advantage of the benefits of a cello group in your area. Use the group to find cello recitals and concerts within driving distance and “develop a sense of community where you would be known.”
Every regional group is different. For example, the North Carolina Cello Society posts weekly cello events around the state and hosts its own events. Other groups narrow their focus to a single city or metro area, such as the Seattle Violoncello Society, Rochester Cello Society, and Chicago Cello Society, to name a few.
Check out the pages to see whether they have websites or mailing lists where you can learn more. For a bonus page that complements these groups, visit The Violoncello Society, Inc. of New York which
“aims to promote the art of cello playing in the United States, provide a common meeting ground for professional and amateur cellists, promote interest in the cello as a solo instrument.”
Featured Regional Group: Cello Australia
Cello Australia maintains an especially vibrant cello community group. In addition to posting cello events, the group has hosted video competitions for its younger cellist members in the country. Cellists can win prizes from local music retailers by entering their recordings.
Cello Australia has also partnered with Australian music retailers to obtain discounts for Cello Australia members. The group cultivates a congenial and positive attitude among its members. Founder and admin Warrick Dobbie says the way to get the most out of the group is to get engaged. Feel free to ask questions and get to know your fellow cellists. “I encourage people to share their playing. Everyone is at their own place in their cello journey.”
Facebook groups are a terrific place for students and teachers to gather and share their questions, their light bulb moments, and everything that goes along with learning or teaching the cello. These groups can supplement your lessons and ensembles and help you learn more about playing and teaching the cello. Here are a few groups that cater to students and teachers.
Groups for Students
Facebook has many more student cellist groups than we could list here. The Apprentice Cellists Club offers a community of fellow cellists along with other benefits. Be sure to check out their “media” section, where members have uploaded sheet music and organized technical tidbits by topic, including thumb position and double stops.
Other student groups include those run by excellent teachers who are available to help you with your cello questions and support cello students. Examples of these groups for students are Online Cello Academy – Become The Cellist You Were Meant To Be and Focus, Flexibility & Fun for Cello Players.
Featured Student Group
The Mid-Life Cellist offers a community for adult amateur cellists. This is a private group where both students and cello teachers are allowed to join. The group “About” section states that
“this is a group for us amateur late starters who started to learn the cello later in life. The goal of this group is to share in this journey together our ups and downs; to cheer with us when we have breakthroughs and to encourage each other when we feel discouraged. It is also a place to share music, post videos of our progress, share techniques and any other helpful advice. This group ‘IS NOT’ to tear others down or give critiques (unless they are asked for). This is a SAFE place to share our progress whether it’s two days on the cello or two years or more. We all started somewhere, let’s help each other out in being positive with learning this difficult yet beautiful instrument.”
In this group, members frequently post anniversary videos after their first year of playing, for example. The tone of the group comes across as genuinely supportive and encouraging. Group member Kristen notes that
“the group is encouraging because it allows me to see others around my age who are playing very well even though they started later. Some of the posts make me think, ‘If they can do it, then I will, eventually, too!'”
Groups for Teachers
Teachers have their own groups, including Cello Teachers Worldwide, where teachers can ask questions of each other. More specific groups also exist, like Suzuki Cello Teachers. Resources for cellists and cello teachers are available in the group ICS with CelloBello, where the CelloBello team shares their most recent offerings.
Several groups are devoted to specific subsets of cello knowledge. One growing educational group is The African-American Cello History Collective. Founder and administrator Timothy Holley established the group in 2013 in honor of his mentor Kermit Moore. Holley intends the group to be a “communal platform to celebrate and educate, a forum for cello and African-American concert music history” that “honor[s] a history of African-Americans and the cello” often “hiding in plain sight.” He says the group will interest cellists, musicians, and anyone interested in African-American history.
Everyone is invited to post pictures and videos of African-American cellists – as long as they have good technique. No stock photos, please! In addition to cellists involved with concert music, you will also find cellists performing music not usually associated with the cello, Cremaine Booker, for example, also known as “That Cello Guy.”
Another prime example of an educational group is the group called the Janos Starker Tribute Page. Admin Robert Battey founded the group shortly after cellist, pedagogue, and author Janos Starker passed away and has seen the group grow to several thousand members ranging from former Starker students and assistants to cello lovers everywhere.
He likens the group to a repository of information on Starker that goes far beyond YouTube. “Be willing to spend time” searching the page, advises Battey.
“[Starker’s] masterclasses were generally two hours long. There are close to a dozen of them on the page. There are many articles. There are concerts, interviews…If I was an undergraduate in college today, I don’t think I could get any practicing done…looking at the history and background of our great artists has always been fascinating to me.”
Several cello festivals have groups that they use to stay in contact with cellists and the community. One such Group is the New Directions Cello Festival.
The NDCF uniquely highlights nontraditional styles for cello. Festival director Jeremy Harman says it allows cellists to “break out of the cello bubble” and experience the cello “as a vehicle of expression apart from tradition.” If you are interested in seeing some of these nontraditional styles, visit the NDCF group or make plans to attend the 2023 festival June 23-25 in Northampton, MA! For more information, visit the NDCF website.
If you have ever wanted to participate in a weekend of everything cello, complete with cello choir, competitions, Suzuki events for students, and more, look no further than the Tennessee Cello Workshop. Wesley Baldwin at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville hosts TCW annually around late January or early February.
You can use this Facebook group to stay updated with the festival dates, the guest artists (including cello luminaries such as Zuill Bailey and Wendy Warner), and the amazing cello competition prizes. The 2023 festival just passed, so stay tuned to the group and the TCW website to find out how you can participate in next year’s event.
No list of cello groups would be complete without mentioning the International Cello Society. One of the largest and most active cello communities on Facebook, the International Cello Society offers the opportunity to connect with cellists worldwide.
Here you can listen to newly composed music for cello, watch Hauser perform an impromptu encore, and compare bow holds of great cellists throughout history, among other things. I query this group often for answers to niche cello questions or to seek advice on different cello-specific issues.
Other general cello groups include CELLO community International, The Cellist, Cellists in Facebook, and Cello is the best instrument ever – if you don’t play it, you wish you did. (I agree!) Each group has a unique culture and set of members, so be sure to visit them all to find the most helpful ones for you.
Getting the most out of Facebook groups looks different for each person, so take the time to visit several groups and see which ones you want to participate in without cluttering up your news feed—here are a few recommendations to end the article.
First, make use of organizational features. When visiting a group on a computer, you will see a menu across the top of the screen, including “About,” “Discussion,” etc. Many groups organize posts around hashtags under the “Topics” for ease of finding. In addition, the “Files” and “Media” sections often include useful pedagogical material or sheet music, as mentioned in The Apprentice Cellists Club. Browse these tabs to find valuable resources to help you along your cello journey.
*note: Information about Facebook groups is accurate of March 2023; groups, moderators, and content are subject to change over time.
What are your other favorite cello groups? Do you have an idea for a new cello group? Feel free to start a new one and leave the link in the comments below!