Cello Ergonomics


A handbook to develop freedom of movement, balance and fluency at the cello

Composer: Steven Doane

Instrumentation: Cello

Suitable for all serious cellists


In the words of Steven Doane:

Rather than being a “method” this book is simply a collection of exercises which attempt to explore and develop some of the sensations which I believe are essential to cellistic fluency and freedom of movement. They stem from my constant aim, both in teaching and practice, to uncover the essential sound-sensation connection – to find motion pathways that help us to release sound from the cello more effortlessly, and enable us to make connections more naturally from one musical gesture to the next. For those who are advanced players or simply feeling more adventurous, all of the shifting exercises should be transposed into different keys and played on different strings for a more complete warm-up

This booklet started as a way of collecting some of these exercises for my pupils, and it has been under a constant process of revision – and will continue to be, I am sure. The exercises are divided into units according to the type of challenge they address, and are accompanied by text explanations. I hope you will find some of them useful in your practice and possibly in your teaching work – some of them are quite advanced, and some really quite simple in execution.

Although some of the following ideas evolved through trial and error in practice and teaching, a great many (including some I probably think I “discovered” myself) were suggested by my own teachers directly, or were hinted at indirectly by distinguished colleagues.

I must record my gratitude to my principle teachers Richard Kapuscinski (of Oberlin College), Jane Cowan (the International Cello Centre, now the Edrom Casals Centre in Scotland) and Bernard Greenhouse, formerly of the Beaux Arts Trio. I also owe a great deal to Joan Dickson for her marvellous lucidity, encouragement, and wonderful interest and inspiration, and to Janos Starker for his comprehensive knowledge of cello playing, daunting diagnostic ability, and tremendous instrumental mastery. Thanks go especially to Steven Isserlis, who introduced me to the work of Jane Cowan at the International Cello Centre, and whose friendship and artistic example is a constant inspiration.

ISMN: 979-0-708191-32-2

If you live in USA Cellos2Go holds a stock of Cello Ergonomics. Customers in North and South America may wish to order from Cellos2Go. You will pay for the publication in US dollars and orders will be shipped from South Carolina.

Steven Doane

Cellist and master teacher Steven Doane is Professor at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he has been based for nearly four decades. He also holds the title of Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Steven has given master classes throughout the United States of America and abroad, including most of the music colleges in the United Kingdom. His pupils perform and teach internationally. A number hold principle chairs in orchestras around the world, and perform as soloists and chamber musicians, while many have established themselves as teachers at music colleges and Universities.

Doane remains active as a performer both as chamber musician, recitalist, and soloist. His disc of the complete works for cello and piano by Gabriel Fauré (for the Bridge records label BCD 9038) received a Petit Diapison d’Or from the French recording press, and BBC magazine hailed his recording of the Frank Bridge Sonata as “the best performance on record” (BCD 9056). A disc of the music of Rachmaninoff for Cello and Piano has also been released on the same label.