Learning about the Double Bass and Cello

Here are a few simple classroom games you can play to help your students learn about the cello and double bass in the music classroom.

Learning about the parts of the instruments is easy if you play this game: play Pin the Parts on the Double Bass or Cello (a variation on Pin the Tail on the Donkey). In this game, blindfolded participants attempt to pin paper instrument parts (for example the scroll or endpin) on a poster of a cello or double bass.

Another fun game is to have the students collect objects or pictures of different sizes (e.g., tree, car, mobile phone, ball, train etc.)Show or speak pairs of objects, and have the students indicate the relative size relationships with the words cello (for small) and double bass (for large).e.g. baseball, beach ball would be cello, double bass, and train, feather would be double bass, cello This will help students remember the relative sizes of the instruments, which students often have trouble remembering. If you have already covered the violin and viola, you can extend this game to include all four string instruments, i.e., comparing violin with cello and so on. This will make your music lesson plans about these instruments easy.

Here are a few excellent pieces featuring the cello and double bass:

Camille Saint-Saens, Carnival of the Animals, XIV. The Swan (featuring solo cello). Several commercial recordings are available, but note that the recording with Leonard Bernstein as narrator features double bass instead of cello.

Edgar Meyer, Double Concerto for Double Bass, Cello, and Orchestra (available on CD or as mp3 download from Amazon.com).

Elgar Cello Concerto, first movement