On cellists reading the treble clef

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Robin Lohse said: Nov 29, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello, Viola
Souderton, PA
29 posts

Does any one who teaches cello recommend any books on reading treble clef for cellists. Also one for reading the tenor clef?

Robin Lohse

Barb said: Dec 2, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

I have not seen books particularly for this purpose—would be interested to know if they exist.

I have been teaching in context of the music. Tenor clef is introduced in Suzuki book 4 with Twinkle, a one-finger scale and finger pattern study, and the piece Chanson Triste. Thinking “up one string” is helpful (up a fifth), to a point. It has also come up in one part in Joanne Martin’s Folk Strings for Cello Ensemble

My piano-playing students already know treble, so I haven’t actually taught it yet! I do have one student who will be introduced shortly. This student played violin many years ago, so I’m hoping something comes back… (He claims to remember nothing, but he had an easier time with hand coordination than other adult beginners.) For me, I switched from violin to cello immediately, and looking back, I think it would have been helpful to continue reading treble clef! But beginning orchestra rep is all low and in bass clef… So when treble was introduced again a few years later, it seemed scary—along with playing in thumb positions. I think if I ever start another student who has previously played violin I might just start with thumb position since the first position we teach using the thumb is really just like 1st position on violin (other than the thumb)!

I have not taught above book 4 yet, so I don’t know exactly where treble is introduced in the Suzuki books. Rick Mooney’s Thumb Position for Cello is in treble—has warm-ups/studies and mostly folk songs and a few Bach Chorales, and includes a bass clef accompaniment part.

I also like Rudolf Matz’s 12 Etudes Introduction to thumb position. It uses treble and tenor, but I wouldn’t say either of these particularly teach reading.

I don’t have Rick Mooney’s Position Pieces for Cello book 2 (postions 5-7), but I see on a sample page it uses at least tenor clef… Anyone know if it specifically teaches tenor or treble clef? (Book 1 only uses bass clef.)

Hope to hear some ideas from more experienced teachers!

Barb
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Robin Lohse said: Dec 3, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello, Viola
Souderton, PA
29 posts

This has been my experience overall as well. I know about the tenor clef with Chanson Triste. I use Rick Mooney’s Position Pieces for book one. Have not tried book 2 yet. This request comes from a student who wants to take popular music and play it on the cello. For violists I have use the “Treble Clef for Violists” book and it makes the transition very easy for the intermediate student. So
I was hoping that a book similar to that was out there for the aspiring cellist.
I like your ideas about starting the violinist in the thumb position.
I have Joanne Martin’s Cello ensemble book so i will check that out.
Thanks

Robin Lohse

Barb said: Dec 3, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

With the motivation to play the popular music found in treble clef, just DOING it might be the best method. Start with showing where middle C is and the A octave above open string. Line notes and space notes there are same as bass clef—show how treble fits with the bass clef ledger lines.

Initially when I saw treble I equated it with thumb position as that’s where it tends to be taught in cello studies. But eventually I was needing to play music not written (or edited) for cello and doing so has made reading treble lower on the A string come easily—when learning thumb I wasn’t translating those notes on the D string to the lower A string notes!

I also can sometimes switch into “violin mode” in my head and play down an octave. Though I learned I can’t trust that in performance very well! When I learned to read I equated notes with positions on the fingerboard more than with note names, so that is more what I’m doing when I do that. Wish I had learned note names better earlier on. Don’t let your students get away with that!!

I also bought Photoscore Ultimate which I use with a scanner to put music on my computer and at the click of the mouse can transpose to bass or tenor clef down an octave to save my brain and make performing easier! (It does a pretty good job with music, though you often have to clean it up and make a few corrections, but it is useless with any text on the page!)

The Martin cello ensemble music uses tenor, not treble. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
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Barb said: Dec 10, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Hey—just looking at my notes from my Book 1 course and I see the name of a book: Learning the Tenor Clef—published by Faber

I also found this one for trombonists while looking for that one.

But again, that’s tenor, not treble.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Sue Hunt said: Dec 11, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
391 posts

My son’s cello teacher used hymn books. Many have the tune written at the bottom of the page.

Sally Gross said: Dec 15, 2012
Sally GrossTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Aurora, IL
93 posts

I introduce tenor clef in mid Book 4 with a wonderful book called “Scaling the Tenor Clef Dragon” by Miriam Wu, Nancy Liebur and Wendy Bissinger. It is a great combination workbook and study book, with pieces they don’t know. Best of all, the student/parent can work through it on their on with some check ups from me. Chanson Triste isn’t where they learn to read tenor clef because they are still learning largely by ear. After that I like the Sassmanhaus Vol 4 for more tenor clef and position work. I use the Mooney Position Piece Vol 1 in Book 3-4 and don’t do Vol 2 until after I have them in Mooney Thumb Position book. Yes, you are correct thumb position and treble clef reading go hand in hand. I have my students playing book 1 pieces in thumb position in Book 4 and introduce 3 octave scales at this time also. I want them reading treble clef (Mooney Thumb Position Vol 1) in book 5 well before they see it in the Breval Rondo in Book 6.

Barb said: Dec 16, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Thank you, Sally!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

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