Is It Time to Upgrade Your Cello?

Cello Upgrade

As a parent of a music student, sometimes its difficult to determine the appropriate time to upgrade your child’s instrument. Particularly if you don’t play yourself, knowing what signs to look for can be a challenge. Of course, instruments are an investment, so you don’t want to get ahead of yourself and purchase something that your child isn’t quite ready for yet. Here we take a look at some details to consider when you’re thinking of upgrading from a beginner cello to an intermediate instrument.

Does Your Child Feel Ready to Advance?

Your child is, of course, the one who will be playing the instrument, so knowing how he/she feels about upgrading is essential.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Does your student feel that his/her skills have advanced beyond the beginner instrument’s capabilities? Does he/she feel comfortable with the idea of learning on a higher quality cello? How serious is your student about sticking with cello lessons?

You don’t want to spend a large sum of money on a new cello only to find out shortly thereafter that your child wants to give piano a try instead or doesn’t really want to pursue music at all. On average, after playing consistently for two to three years, students are ready to progress to an intermediate instrument. Typically, if a student can hear or feel the difference between beginner and intermediate instruments, the time is right to move up.

What Does the Music Teacher Think?

Your child’s music instructor is a valuable resource in this decision. He/she should have a good handle on the situation and will be able to help you make a choice. The music teacher is the person with the most information about your child’s progress and whether or not having an intermediate instrument would be a benefit right now. Even better, if the teacher thinks that an upgraded cello is in order, you can take the opportunity to ask for advice on what to look for in a new instrument. If he/she feels your child isn’t ready to move on just yet, you should be able to get some information about what adjustments (if necessary) can be made to the beginner instrument to advance your child’s learning at this time.

Can You Afford to Upgrade?

The truth is that instruments don’t come cheap. Buying a new cello is quite an investment, which is why so much consideration should be put into the decision. If your student seems ready to advance, but the cost of purchasing a brand new cello doesn’t seem feasible, again it’s a good idea to consult with your child’s instructor. Music teachers often have a range of students. He/she might know of another student who’s ready to advance beyond an intermediate instrument. In such a case, you may have the chance to buy a second hand cello for a lower cost.

Have You Considered All the Options?

If your child doesn’t quite seem ready to move up, but needs a bit of an upgrade, consider purchasing a higher quality bow. Changing the bow can considerably enhance the sound of a cello. This may also be an option for those who don’t currently have the budget for a new instrument.

Another possibility is to take the current instrument into a reputable music shop and have it checked. Having small adjustments made by a trained professional can really change an instrument’s sound quality.


Always keep in mind that, while there are average rates of progression among cello students, there is no set time for moving to a more advanced instrument. Everyone progresses at their own pace. Take all the factors into consideration and make the decision that works best for your student and your budget.

Related Articles

How to Buy Your Child's First Cello

How to Buy Your Child’s First Cello

Learn More
Cello Strings & Accessories: An Introduction

Cello Strings & Accessories: An Introduction

Learn More