5 Hacks to Improve Your Cello Intonation

When playing string instruments like a cello, one most challenging part is delving into the right and pure intonation. It’s tough if you do not exactly know how to have the smooth intonation you’ve hoped for. The fun thing is that there is no single nor scientific explanation to improve your cello intonation, but there are hacks you might want to know.

Hacks to improve your cello intonation

Aside from relying upon and trusting your ears when playing, take a look at the following tips to better watch out for your intonation.

  • Get comfortable

No matter what tutorials you watch, cello instructors will remind beginner cello players to find their most comfortable position before playing. Poor positioning could lead to muscle tensions, which make you uncomfortable and can even develop pains sooner. If your mind starts focusing on the physical pain you’re feeling due to bad posture, you cannot improve your cello intonation anymore.

  • Record yourself

Recording yourself is another way to tell where you got the intonation a little bit off and where you got it smooth. There are times when your ears cannot pick up failed intonations immediately. In this case, the easiest and smartest way is to use a high-quality recording device to spot those slipped intonations so you could go back and improve them right away.

  • Practice slowly

Instruments like cello require precise playing and not speedy strumming. Unless you’re a professional, you could go ahead and run your bow or fingers as fast as you want. But if you are a beginner, you need to hear every single pitch correctly and repeat it over and over again to master the process. You do not need fast fingers here because you do not want to deceive your ears by playing like a fake pro. Take your time because learning takes a systematic process.

  • Delay vibrato

Vibrato is not useful if you’re a beginner looking to learn or improve your pitch and intonation. You do not need vibrato this early, and you could delay it until you got a clear understanding of the pitch. Try to play a piece without vibrato so you could hear if you got the smooth intonation you need. After all, vibrato could only cause confusion, especially if you’re not familiar with hitting the exact intonation yet.

  • Play duets

Since intonation is merely the relationship of notes, it is more visible if you play duets. By doing so, you could hear more intonation in one sitting and spot easily if you got it right. The more chances your ears hear the right intonation, the higher the chances that you’ll be familiar with it.


Cello is a fun and exciting instrument to learn, but it takes so much time to master, especially in improving your intonation. Nevertheless, you could always search through the internet for tips or follow the hacks presented above to improve your intonation skills further. With many resources and guides online, you could always find a way to nail your cello playing skills. Practice hard and improve your cello skills smart!


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