the cello

images-1Hello you Hispanic English-as-a-second-language students. How are you?

Did you answer Good? Fine? OK? Great? Not bad? I could be better? You don’t want to know? Let me ask you again, and this time answer with a different response. How are you? And you asked me how I am? Pretty good, thanks.

Today’s lesson is about music. That’s an easy word to learn, isn’t it. It sounds like musica. It’s pronounced music. You say it: music. Say it again: music.

OK, before I introduce you to a friend of mine, I am going to play some music for you. Actually, it’s recorded music. By that I mean that it’s not live. It’s music on a CD.

First I will take the CD out of the case. Then I’ll put it into the CD player, which happens to be on top of the piano in my living room (which, by the way, I don’t know how to play). Then I’ll push the play button. Now let’s listen to the music.

Sorry, but I must stop the music. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Say “It’s beautiful” Say “The music is beautiful.” Say it again. And again. Say, “It’s beautiful music. I like it a lot.”

Now I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is Pat, and she plays a musical instrument.

Hello Pat, thanks for being on the EdShow and helping my students learn English. How are you?

Can you speak a second language? Say “Yo soy una violonchelista.” Say, “Yo toco el violonchelo.”

So, a person who plays the cello is called what?

A person who plays the violin is a what?


Do you play your cello in a rock and roll band? Do you play in a mariachi band?

Where do you play your cello?

Besides the cello what other instruments are in an orchestra? (Well, there is the string section, the woodwind section, the brass section and the percussion).

What instruments are in the string…woodwind…brass…percussion?


How many hands are needed to play your instrument?

Do you stand up when you play the cello? Oh, you sit down.

OK, now let’s practice some things we learned about music and the cello.

First, what

images-2Name the parts of the cello.

How many strings?

What is the cello made from?

What are the strings made from?

What is the bow made from?


Play the lowest note you can.

Play the highest note you can.

How many notes are there? What are they called?


Play a tune that my students would know.

OK, Pat, thanks for the information and playing your cello.


OK students, now let’s practice what we learned.

What is the subject of today’s lesson? What is the subject (asunto, sujeto)

You said music, correct? Or maybe you said the cello. Whatever. But from now on, answer me with a complete sentence.


For example, if I ask you what instrument Pat plays, you answer, “Pat plays the cello.”


What is the subject of today’s lesson?

What instrument does Pat play? Pat plays the cello.


Does Pat play her cello in a mariachi band? No, she doesn’t … or, No, but she could.

The answer: She plays in an orchestra.

In what section of the orchestra does Pat play? Pat plays in the string section.

Name other instruments in the string section. Violin, viola and double bases (You know the double bass, right? I think it’s also called the upright bass. It’s tall, as tall as a person. The bass player stands up when he (or she) plays the double bass.


Does Pat stand when she plays the cello? No, she sits down. Say stand up, sit down, etc.


Name another section in the orchestra: The brass section. And the instruments in the brass section: the trumpet, the trombone, the tuba

Another section: The woodwinds. Why do they call it the woodwind? Because the instruments are made from wood, and to produce sound you must blow air into it.

Another section: The percussion section. Name an instrument in the percussion section:

The drums. (tambores)?  What is the purpose, the function (función) of the drums To keep the beat. To maintain rhythm.

What are three parts of the cello? The body, the strings and the bow.

What is the body made from?

How many notes are there in an octave? Seven. Name them, starting with C



OK, we’re going to end this episode of what I called today the EdShow by asking a question: You get bonus points for any correct answer. Name a famous music composer: Ludwig von Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Johann Strauss (he wrote all those waltzes) and a fun one to say, Sergei Rachmaninoff