Museum open online 24/7. 365 (or 366) days/year

Welcome to the Simple Gifts Cello Project

Simple Gifts Project

We are so happy you are here! The Cello Museum is thrilled to partner with Rise Against Hunger to help raise money to feed those who are hungry by forming a virtual cello orchestra to create a video of “Simple Gifts.” If you are a cellist ready to participate, you’re in the right place! If you would like to make a donation, please visit the Rise Against Hunger Cello Project page.

How the Project Works

Cellists of all levels (from beginners through professionals) can participate by sending a video performance of one of the parts of our arrangement of the traditional Shaker tune, “Simple Gifts.” We will combine these contributions to make a virtual, international cello orchestra in the final video.

There is no fee to participate, but we suggest that everyone who takes part donates directly to Rise Against Hunger. Gather your friends and family together in a team to support your participation through their donations to Rise Against Hunger. Who will raise the most to turn cello music into meals?

By participating, you give us permission to include your video in our final “Simple Gifts” video and any promotional materials for the project.

Read on for our step-by-step instructions detailing how to participate in this project.

Project Participation Guide

This guide will help you participate in the project and ensure your cello’s voice contributes to our collective effort to fight hunger.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

Most of you are experts at this, but please follow the directions. These steps help us to make the final video. If you need some tips on making these kinds of videos, please scroll down the page. We’ve added some additional information to help you.

  1. Donate to Rise Against Hunger on the Simple Gifts Cello Project page as you are able. Gather your family and friends into a team to support your efforts through donations – or simply direct them as individuals to the main project link. Whose team will raise the most?
  2. Download your materials
    1. Get your sheet music below, under Downloads>Sheet Music
    2. Download your play-along mp3 track below, under Downloads>Play-Along Tracks. (Right-click on the track to download it.) If you play along with the track online, it might be at a different speed, which will make it so you don’t match the timing of everyone else. Please download the track to avoid this problem. If you want to check the speed, it should be at mm=87 per click.
  3. Practice your music.
  4. When you do the recording, be sure to clap as indicated in the sheet music. Strong claps, please. This clapping business is not added to support new cellists. The clap helps us line up all the videos; without it, we may not be able to use a video. We’ve given you plenty of time after your clap to pick up your bow before you start to play.
  5. Set up two devices
    1. one to use to play the mp3 track through headphones
    2. the other to record your video (see the tips below if you need some help with this)
  6. Record your video in one of the following formats:
    1. mp4
    2. mov
  7. Record your video in portrait mode to best see you and your cello. If using a DSLR or other camera, set up your camera in portrait mode. Thank you! Camera Orientation
  8. Check your playback after recording. Make sure the synthesized recording is not audible in your recording. Make sure both video and audio were recorded.
  9. Name your file before you upload it. Once it has been uploaded, it is too late to rename it. Please use the simple format below:
    1. Your Part-Your Name
      1. Example: Cello 1-Brenda Neece.mp4
      2. Example: Cello 3-James
  10. Upload your file here. We will match your submissions to the email you provide when you upload your files, so please enter the one you use when you fill in the registration form.
    Please note that we will use your email address to communicate with you about this project. If you choose to be on our regular weekly newsletter list, please choose that option below. Thank you.
    You may be as specific as your city or as general as your country.
    You may add a comment or quote you'd like to see in the video. We will choose a few to include.
  11. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
  12. If you wish to support the Cello Museum, please donate using the light blue button at the top of our website and/or purchase a Simple Gifts T-shirt or other product from our online museum shop. Every purchase helps the Cello Museum.

Simple Gifts T-shirts


Please click the links below or download your materials from this link.

Sheet Music

  • Simple_Gifts Full_score – This copy includes all of the parts below, plus a click track.
  • Simple_Gifts Cello_1 – Treble clef part with the melody, with a lot of thumb position.
  • Simple_Gifts Cello_1_Alt – This is the melody part – the same as the Cello 1 part, only transposed down one octave. It can be played entirely in first position, all with a closed-hand position except for first-finger extensions to reach the B-flat on the A-string.
  • Simple_Gifts Cello_2 – This is the middle voice. It can be played entirely in first position, all with a closed-hand position except for first-finger extensions to reach the B-flat on the A-string.
  • Simple_Gifts Cello_3 – This is the bass part. It can be played entirely in first position, all with a closed-hand position.

Play-Along Tracks

You may play along with the recording of all the parts – or just your own, plus the click track. Choose whichever option helps you the most.

N.B. – Be sure to download the part to your device rather than playing along with it online, as the internet can affect the track’s speed. When in doubt, please check that the click track is at mm=87.

Tuning Notes

We will be using A=440 as our pitch.

Here are tuning notes for those who need them.

Tips for Making Your Video

  • Do a practice run of your recording.
  • If using your phone, shoot with your back camera (see the second video below for instructions)
  • Make sure you are recording in a quiet environment if possible.
  • Be aware of what else is in the shot. A blank wall or planned, simple background is best so that the focus is on you and your cello.
  • Please don’t use green screens for this project. Thank you.

If you need some additional tips, the following two videos are helpful. However, even though the video below instructs you to record in landscape orientation,  please be sure to record in portrait orientation to show you and your cello better. Thank you!

Although created for vocal, rather than cello, choir, the following video is excellent.

In addition, here are some helpful tips on phone videography:


Please make all project donations directly on the Rise Against Hunger Simple Gifts Cello Project page. If you’d like to support the Cello Museum directly, please click on the light blue button at the top of this page and/or support our efforts by purchasing a Simple Gifts Cello Project T-shirt or hoodie.

Don’t Miss A Thing

Sign up today to get the Cello Museum weekly newsletter.

© The Cello Museum 2023 | All Rights Reserved