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Cello Lessons: “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

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[MUSIC]
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is one of my
favorite melodies and
it's one you're probably familiar with.
And it's the same melody,
coincidently, as the English ABC song.
And the lyrics that we know for
Twinkle Twinkle are a lullaby
from England first published in 1806, but
the melody is actually French and
comes from the mid to late 1700s.
Mozart, the famous classical
composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
he published a very famous set of
variations on that French melody and
it's been a very popular song ever since.
So let's sing the whole thing together.
I'll strum some chords just so
we hear the harmony.
From the top.
One, two, three, four.
[MUSIC]
Very
nice.
Let's find those notes on the instrument.
We're actually gonna put our bow down and
we're gonna learn it pizzicato first.
So we're gonna pizz
with our right hand and
we're finger the pitches
with our left hand.
We're gonna learn this call and
response style by ear.
So repeat after me.
[MUSIC]
It's two D strings then two A strings.
Ready?
Go.
[MUSIC]
Let's try it again.
After me.
[MUSIC]
Ready, go.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, this is a big moment in
our development as a cellist.
We are going to combine the first finger
of the left hand with the right hand for
the very first time.
[SOUND] And we're gonna play
a pitched note, finger note.
It's gonna be first finger,
which is the B note on the a string
that you may remember.
So let's find that note.
I'm gonna pizz it really loud and
I want you to find it with your
proper left hand position we
learned in our previous video.
And I'm gonna play two of those and
I want you to play them back.
[SOUND] Ready, and.
Very good.
For what it's worth, I'm pizzing
with my left hand maybe a couple
inches above the end of the fingerboard,
right around here.
I'm going to put those notes
with the first four notes.
Repeat after me.
[MUSIC]
Play that.
Ready?
Go.
[MUSIC]
Good.
So we'll finish the first phrase and
I'll just end with an open A string.
Repeat after me.
[MUSIC]
Ready, go.
[MUSIC]
Very good.
Let's do that one more time, after me.
[MUSIC]
Ready, go.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now we're coming to
the hard part of this song.
Remember in our left hand position video
we did a walk up from first finger,
second, third,
all the way to fourth finger.
We're gonna need to do
this on the D string
in order to get the first note of
the next phrase, which is a G.
Fourth finger on the D string.
[SOUND] So let's do the walk-up together.
We have open D, then we're gonna
play first finger on the E.
We're gonna add second finger,
third finger, and
we're gonna end up on fourth finger.
Let's find that together.
I'll just keep pizzing it and
so you can get it in tune.
That's the G.
So this next phrase is gonna go,
how I wonder what you are.
So the fingers we're gonna use are four,
four,
three, three, one, one, O.
I say O for the open D string.
Let's actually do a call and response.
I'm gonna sing those numbers again and
I want you to sing them back.
And you can even point at your
fingers like I'm doing if it helps.
After me, four, four,
three, three, one, one, O.
Ready, go, four, four,
three, three, one, one, O.
Let's see if we can pizz that melody now.
Let's find the fourth finger.
[SOUND] And we're going to pizz it twice.
Then we're going to
lift the fourth finger.
And then we're going to pizz
the third finger twice.
[SOUND] Then we're going to lift third and
second finger, both at the same time.
And now we're gonna pizz on
the first finger twice, [SOUND] and
we're gonna end with
a single pizz on the open D.
[SOUND] I'm gonna play that
one more time in rhythm and
then I want you to repeat after me.
Keep in mind, you can do your little
walk up, one, two, three, four,
to find your fourth finger again, and
leave all of the other fingers down.
So repeat after me.
Four, four, three, three, one, one.
Ready?
Go!
[SOUND] Four, four, three,
three, one, one, O.
I'll play it once more then you repeat it.
[SOUND] Four, four, three,
three, one, one, O.
Now your turn.
Ready, and.
[SOUND] Four, four, three,
three, one, one, O.
That is half of our
downward D major scale,
which we'll talk about
after we learn this tune.
Let's see if we can combine
both phrases we've learned.
So, we've learned the opening.
[MUSIC]
And.
[MUSIC]
If we were gonna number the fingers for
the first phrase it would sound like this.
O, O, O, O, one, one, O.
Let's say that together.
Ready, and.
[SOUND] O, O, O, O,
one, one O.
Good.
Let's put both of these
phrases together now.
And, why don't we sing it the first time,
and then I want you to
pizz it the second time.
I'll pizz it both times just so
you hear, but let's sing it first.
Ready?
And O, O, O, O,
one, one, O.
Four, four, three, three, one, one, O.
Good.
Now let's pizz it together.
Three, four.
O, O, O, O, one, one, O.
Four, four, three, three, one, one, O.
Very good, let's add another phrase.
The next phrase goes.
[MUSIC]
So we're gonna do
a downward scale from
A all the way down to E.
So those numbers are O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
Let's sing that together.
O, four, three, one.
Ready?
And O, O, four, four,
three, three, one.
Good.
Let's try and pizz that together, okay?
So we're gonna start on our open A string.
[SOUND] And then we're gonna actually
have all of our fingers on the D string.
So let's do our walk up.
One, two, three, four.
So we can start with that
fourth finger on the D string.
And then we'll walk down four, three, one.
So let's do the A string first.
Ready?
And O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
Again.
[SOUND] O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
Let's do it three more times.
[SOUND] O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
[SOUND] O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
Last time.
[SOUND] O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
Good.
Let's put everything together we have so
far.
We've got three different phrases.
I'll play them all first and then I
want you to join me, you can sing along.
I'll be singing the finger numbers.
And you can sing those along before
you play along the second time.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
From the top.
Ready.
Go.
O, O, O, O, one, one,
O, four, four, three,
three, one, one, o.
O, o, four, four, three, three, one, stop.
Now, let's do just those
three phrases all together.
pitsing and
singing if you want at the same time.
Ready.
And o, o, o, o, one,
one, o, four, four,
three, three, one, one, o.
O, O, four, four, three, three, one.
Good!
Even though this may sound
incredibly incomplete.
You have actually already
learned the entire song.
The only remaining parts
are repeated phrases.
So we're actually the fourth phrase.
It's the same as the third phrase.
It's the walk down from A.
O, O, four, four, three, three, one.
And then the final phrase
is the opening phrase.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
How I wonder what you are.
That goes like this, as you remember.
[MUSIC]
So
now we have
the whole song.
Twinkle, twinkle little star.
Let's play it all together.
Why don't we sing it together once,
I'll pizz and sing it so
you hear the cello notes.
After you sing it with the finger numbers,
then we'll both pizz it together.
From the top, twinkle twinkle little star.
One, two,
ready and O, o, o,
o, one, one, o.
Four, four, three,
three, one, one, o.
O, o, four four, three, three, one.
O, O, four,
four, three, three, one.
O, O, O, O, one, one,
O, four, four, three,
three, one, one, O.
Very nice.
So actually for what it's worth,
I'm noticing in myself
after I play the opening phrase,
[MUSIC]
I'm doing a little walk up just to get my
hand shape all set up for the second
phrase starting on fourth finger.
[MUSIC]
So you can do that too with me.
You'll see it next time.
Let's play the whole song one more time
pizzicato before we pick up the bow.
From the top, one, two, three, four.
O, O, O, O, one, one, O.
Four, four, three,
three, one, one, o.
O, o, four, four, three, three, one.
O, o, four, four,
three, three, one.
O, o, o, o,
one, one, o.
Four, four, three,
three, one, one, o.
Very, very good.
[NOISE] Now,
we're gonna pick up the bow and
we're gonna play the same melody but
instead of pizzing,
we're gonna make the bow go down up,
down up just the whole way.
We're gonna change bow
direction with every note.
I'll demonstrate first and
then we can do it together.
[MUSIC]
Okay,
lets
do it
together.
One
two
three
four
[MUSIC].
If you're having trouble getting
through the whole song, at this tempo.
You can go back to when I was teaching
you the phrases note by note, and
you can just go back and
refresh the phrases.
And you can even practice it,
sort of on your own,
trying to figure out [SOUND] all
the different parts of each phrase.
And then you can keep coming back and
trying to play with me.
And there's also a backing track that you
can play with at 40 beats per minute,
which is sort of a moderately slow tempo.
But you can work up to that.
You don't have to get it immediately
with the backing track or with me.
I'm sure you know how the song goes
by now and you can even sing it.
So you can sort of find it on
your own time first [SOUND].
The one other thing
I'll say about the bow,
is we're gonna do a fancy
thing called a bow circle.
And we're gonna do this in
between a couple of the phrases.
So that every phrase starts
on a down bow I'll show you.
So the beginning starts downbow.
[MUSIC]
The first phrase actually
ends on a downbow too.
But we want to always start
phrases on a down bow.
Because down bows are actually
stronger than up bows.
So after we end the first phrase at
a down bow, we're gonna lift the bow.
And we're gonna make a big circle.
And we're gonna come back to the frog.
For the beginning of the next phrase.
So the next phrase can start down bow,
[MUSIC]
and we have to do the same thing again cuz
it ended down but we're way at the tip.
But we want to start the next
phrase from the frog so
we can start strong with a down bow.
[MUSIC]
Then we do the bow circle into
the third phrase.
[MUSIC]
The thing to keep in mind,
is at the end of the bow circle.
At the end of the first bow circle, you're
gonna put the bow back on the D string for
the second phrase.
Because the second phrase starts
on fourth finger of the D string.
[MUSIC]
But the third phrase starts with open a,
so at the end of the bow circle,
we put the bow on the a string.
So starting from the a string,
we play the third phrase.
[MUSIC]
And again,
we're gonna do another bow circle so
we can start the third
phrase from the frog.
On open A again.
[MUSIC]
Every phrase just
keeps ending with down bow.
So we have to keep doing bow circles to
start the last phrase from a down bow,
at the frog as well.
This one starts on the D string.
And we'll play the last phrase.
[MUSIC]
Actually thats
the last and a half phrase.
Now at the very last phrase is
another bow circle to the D string.
[MUSIC]
and now we're done.
[MUSIC]
So there's actually a bow circle after
every single phrase, and you just have
to be careful to know whether you're
coming back to the frog on the D string Or
on the A string.
It's only the third and
fourth phrases that start on the A string.
Which phrases start on the A string?
The third and fourth phrases.
That's correct.
All the other phrases start on a D string.
And why, again,
do we want to start down bow?
Because downbows are stronger than upbows,
it actually feels often physically
awkward to start from an upbow.
But the downbow allows us to start
with a relaxed strong sound.
I'm gonna play the whole tune one more
time with all of these bow circles
at the end of every single phrase so
that every phrase starts from the frog.
And it starts down bow.
I'll play once and
then you can join me on the second time.
[MUSIC]
Bow
circle.
[MUSIC]
Bow circle to the A string.
[MUSIC]
Another bow circle to the A string.
[MUSIC]
Now bow circle to the D string.
[MUSIC]
One last one to the D string.
[MUSIC]
That is the whole tune,
let's play both together
with the bow circles.
The one thing I want you to
think about with the bow circle
is when you come back to
the string to relax your hand.
Because often when you lift the bow
you might squeeze the bow to not
drop it obviously.
But you don't want to keep squeezing
once you get to the string.
You want to land release.
So let's try one bow circle where
we do circle, land, and release.
In that order.
Ready?
Go.
Circle.
Land.
Release the hand.
And then we're ready to
play the next phrase.
Let's see if we can keep that in mind
as we play through the whole tune
with bow circles.
One, two, three four.
[MUSIC]
Bow circle release.
[MUSIC]
Bow circle
to the A string.
[MUSIC]
That is
the melody
to Twinkle
Twinkle
Little Star.
In our next lesson we'll explore some
rhythmic variations that we can do with
the bow hand.
[MUSIC]