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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
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Cello Lessons: Beginning Thumb Position: Relearning Beginner Tunes-Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

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Possibly the best way to get really
comfortable playing in a thumb
position is to play tunes that
we already learned in first position
through the beginner curriculum,
but then just transposing it up
an octave [SOUND] to thumb position.
So, the first tune was Twinkle,
Twinkle Little Star.
Let me show you what that would look and
sound like in thumb position.
So I always like to sort of check,
make sure my thumb is in the right place.
If your thumb isn't in the right place,
you won't hear the harmonics clearly
because I'm not pressing
the strings down with the thumb.
So I'm going to move my thumb lower.
you start to hear this weird sound.
Now I'll move my thumb back to the right
position, now move it a little higher.
[SOUND] You can hear how the quality
of the sound is not clear.
So there's sort of like a small window
that's gonna be a good harmonic sound, and
you always wanna make sure your thumb is
in that window before we start worrying
about where our other
fingers are gonna go.
So for Twinkle, it would look and
sound like this.
The things that
make thumb position
harder than first
position is that the string
the higher you go on
the fingerboard,
the string is harder
to press down.
The way that our cellos are designed,
is the string is really close to
the finger board at the bottom.
And then it gets higher and higher.
So you need [SOUND] to really make
sure your arm is supporting and
sending its weight
[SOUND] into the string.
[SOUND] In order to help your
fingers push the string down.
All of the other principles we talked
about in first position
are gonna hold true,
though, for thumb position.
We wanna leave fingers down as much as
And we don't want our pinkie,
a lot of people stick their pinky out cuz
it's all kind of tense and stiff when
they're in thumb position because you
don't actually use the pinky as much.
[SOUND] So you want to relax the pinky and
just keep sort of a natural curve to it.
To all the fingers really, so
that you're only activating and
tensing up the ones that
you're like actively using.
Once you can play Twinkle, Twinkle
Little Star with relaxed fingers, and
be on the lookout that you're not
extending your pinky and getting tense,
then simply start to go through all of the
other tunes you know in first position,
in D major.
And you're gonna be able to use this,
this hand shape that we learned, for
all of the D major tunes
in first position.
As you cross over to the G and C strings,
you're still, like in the first position,
you want to move your elbow forward
to help support your fingers.
In general, the thing to realize is that
when we're playing in this octave we're
actually using violin fingerings.
We're no longer using 0134.
We're using thumb 1 high 23.
So our fourth finger doesn't actually get
used nearly as much in thumb position.
All of the third fingers we
were using in first position
are going to be second finger,
a high second finger.
Then fourth finger G,
is now a third finger in thumb position.
I want you to go through all of
the beginning tunes and
send me a video every
once in a while of you
playing one of the earlier
tunes in thumb position an octave high.
And I'll help you and
make sure that you're looking healthy and
strong and that it's all sounding great.