Best Play-Along Beginner Cello Books

Do you have a child who just started learning the cello? Do you teach the beginning orchestra at a school? Do you teach privately and get a lot of young cellists just starting out? One of the very best ways to get a young student excited about learning a musical instrument is to get them playing songs that they like, know, or can at least recognize.

Even adults enjoy playing along to songs that they know. That’s why we’ve curated the best beginner cello books. It is imperative that the student owns a book of songs that they enjoy playing in addition to the prescribed method book from the child’s school or private teacher because that helps them get (and stay) excited about music!

Odds are if they chose to start playing an instrument, they want to play some of these songs. In fact, our main editor got his start playing viola because the teacher played the Star Wars theme on the viola.

A growing number of beginner books for cellists include simple, recognizable songs that teach the child how to play. These books are especially great and tend to be the ones that the school or private teacher will recommend to their beginning students.

Beyond that, there are a ton of books of sheet music available at music stores with the music of Harry Potter, Disney, Lord of the Rings, and more. While many of these books are on the easier side, some of them will require the player to have a year or two of playing under their belt before being able to play them.

If you are a parent of a child just starting out on the cello, you already know what music they like! You can ask their music teacher if they have any suggestions for books and what level of book is appropriate.

If you are a private teacher or schoolteacher, take an interest in your students and talk to their parents. Figure out what music they like to listen to and see if you can recommend one of these books for them to purchase.

Make sure you take into account how advanced they are so that you aren’t getting them a book that will be too hard – nothing is more frustrating than seeing a song that you really like and not being able to play it!

What follows is a list of play along music books from various genres. It is by no means an exhaustive list, there are plenty more. If there is a certain movie or genre not included on this list, give it a search on Amazon – it’s very likely that something is out there!

Top Play-Along Beginner Cello Books Review

We’ve got a round-up of some of the best beginner cello books today. These are books that are for very beginning cellists — we are not talking about scale or etude books here, but instead books that are intended for cello students who are completely new to cello and/or reading music. We are recommending these books as supplements to whatever you are using with your teacher or orchestra class — not in place of what you are working on with them!

The cello is a four-stringed musical instrument which belongs to the bass violin family. It is commonly featured in the orchestra where the melodious sounds compliment the music. Cells are played by creatively blowing the strings to produce the desired tunes. They are tuned in the fifth, but have a lower octave than other musical instruments in the violin family.

Cellos have been used as far back as the Baroque period. Over the years, the versatile use of cellos has made them very popular in the music scene. Experts who have mastered how to play the cello have written simple guide sas books. These books are sold online to people who want to learn how to play the cello set their own pace.

1. Star Wars – A Musical Journey

Music from Episodes I-VI

This book is a must-have for Star Wars fans! While it doesn’t contain music from the Disney era movies, this book holds some of the most well-known songs from the first 6 films, all written by John Williams and arranged for the level 2-3 player.

Each book comes with a free CD that has a version of each song played on cello, and a second track with just the accompaniment so you can play along! There is also a book available with the accompaniment written for piano so that you can play with a pianist – but make sure you know which book to get.

There are different accompaniment books for string and wind players. Included are such hits as “The Imperial March” (the iconic Darth Vader’s Theme), the royal “The Throne Room,” Anakin and Padme’s love theme “Across The Stars,” and, of course, the Star Wars main theme!

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Instrumental Play Along

For Star Wars fans that were upset that the first book did not include music from the most recent Star Wars films, never fear! This book features music from The Force Awakens.

For players level 2-3 and above, this books also contains access to an online audio demonstration of every track included, like many of the other books on this list, and features such hits as “Rey’s Theme,” “March of the Resistance,” “The Jedi Steps and Finale,” and much more!

3. Harry Potter – Instrumental Solos

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series took the world by storm, and when the movies came out, John Williams wrote the perfect music to capture the magical world and make you feel like you’re right there at Hogwarts! Many people don’t know that John Williams actually is not the only composer to write music for the Harry Potter movies – though he was the first.

This book features music from all 4 composers that wrote for the films. John Williams wrote the music for movies 1-3, Patrick Doyle wrote the music for 4, Nicholas Hooper wrote the soundtrack to 5 and 6, and Alexandre Desplat wrote the music to 7 parts 1 and 2.

A CD is included that has both demo and accompaniment tracks to play along with. Another level 2-3 book that may not be perfect for a first-year player, but the reviews rave that this book really gets kids excited about practicing and playing their instrument!

Included are John William’s signature and magical Harry Potter tunes, “Hedwig’s Theme,” “Fawkes the Phoenix,” “Leaving Hogwarts,” Patrick Doyle’s beautiful “Hogwarts Hymn,” Nicholas Hooper’s electrifying “Wizard Wheezes,” and Alexandre Desplat’s haunting “Lily’s Theme,” and more!

4. The Big Book of Disney Songs

Just as the Star Wars book is ideal for fans of that franchise, The Big Book of Disney Songs is perfect for people who love the music of Disney. This book has received several reviews stating that it is not for the first-year beginner player since it has some slightly more advanced key signatures and tricky rhythms (often found in popular music).

It’s possible that the talented and advanced player might be able to play a few songs in their first year, but it’s probably best to hold off a year to make sure that your student doesn’t get frustrated, unable to play their favorite Disney songs.

One other thing to note is that this book includes only pre-2012 Disney movies – there won’t be music from Frozen, Moana, or other more recent movies inside this particular book.

Included in this are such hits as “Under the Sea” (The Little Mermaid), “Trashin’ the Camp” (Tarzan), “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” (The Lion King), “Beauty and the Beast” (Beauty and the Beast), “Scales and Arpeggios” (The Aristocats), “The Bare Necessities” (The Jungle Book), and so much more!

5. Songs from Frozen, Tangled, and Enchanted

For those Disney fans looking for music from some of the newer films, this might be the book for you! This book includes music from Frozen, Tangled, and Enchanted.

Rather than a CD, this book includes digital audio demonstrations of each song in the book that can be found online. Some of the hits included are: “Do You Want to Build A Snowman,,” “Happy Working Song,,” “When Will My Life Begin,,” and, of course, “Let it Go..”

6. Moana Instrumental Solos

This beginner cello book includes some of the top tracks from one of Disney’s latest hits, Moana! Like the other recent book of Disney music, it comes with online access to audio demonstrations of every song included.

“How Far I’ll Go,,” “You’re Welcome,” and “Shiny” are all found in this book, along with several others. A sure way to get a child who loves Moana excited about practicing the cello!

7. Easy Pop Melodies

This book is a perfect book of tunes for beginners! It has a bit of music that everyone can enjoy – from famous pop tunes (new and old) to hits from some of the top musicals. Included with each tune are lyrics and chord symbols.

A sampling of what you will find in this book includes: Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “My Favorite Things” and the title track from The Sound of Music, The Beatles’ “In My Life,” and many, many more! There are 50 tunes in total, follow the link and click the preview to see a list of all the music that is included in this book.

8. The Big Book of Christmas Songs

Sure, it can only be played during one season of the year, but who doesn’t love Christmas music? The difficulty of the songs included ranges from beginner to intermediate and advanced, so it’s a great book for anyone – they can pull it out each year and see how much more they can play out of it!

According to a review, buying the paper copy (rather than the Kindle version) is recommended because many of the songs span multiple pages, making Kindle use more difficult (but the user that brought that up still really loved the book). The Big Book of Christmas Songs includes Christmas songs new and old, such as: “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” “Blue Christmas,” “Away In A Manger,” “Frosty The Snowman,” “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” “Feliz Navidad,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and much more!

9. The Lord of the Rings Instrumental Solos

This beginner cello book includes music from all three Lord of the Rings movies and a demo CD with performance tracks and play along tracks. Additionally there is a piano accompaniment book!

The music is arranged for the level 2-3 player, though a number of reviews claim that a more beginner player – even people in their first year could play some songs out of this book. This book includes 12 songs, including the famous theme “Concerning Hobbits,” “The Black Rider,” “Gollum’s Song,” and more.

One of the most common Amazon reviews consistent from book to book is how excited the music makes their child to practice, and how fun it is to hear them playing music that inspires them. After all, kids often are drawn to music because they want to play things they know and love at first. Making sure that’s a possibility really helps to make music fun for them.

10. Suzuki Cello School

These cello books include a seven series package that covers all you need to know about playing and mastering the cello. The package will be beneficial to cello players at all skill levels. The lessons start from the basics to introduce the beginners. The book covers an extensive part of the related music theory for the cello.

After understanding the music theory, students can proceed to start applying their knowledge and playing songs. The learning materials cover a wide range of songs. There are songs for beginners and more complex songs for the advance cellists. The books have been written in English; the instructional guidelines are also easy to follow.

It is easier to use the CD while practicing songs. Learners will find it easier to practice songs after listening to the demo. The music theory in the book is also a constant reference that can help students while they practice with the songs from the CD.

The simple approach used to explain the notes will help users of this book to focus and master the notes rather than reading the finger numbers while practicing with their cellos. Overall, the lessons are simple, following the instructions and constant practice will help all users improve their techniques.

11. Essential Elements for Strings

The Essential Elements for strings is one of the cello books sold online that incorporates essential elements interactive learning procedures. The content is a mix of music theory and practical exercises which are useful to people who want to teach themselves how to play the cello. The lessons are divided into book one and book two. They start at a beginner’s level which covers essential areas you should know about the cello.

In particular, this book features a cross-curriculum which includes theory, history, and performance monitoring tips. In addition, a CDROM has been included in the package. It contains a vast music library to aid practical training sessions with the cello.

Each practical exercise in this cello book is tagged with an MP3 file. This allows the user to listen to the orchestra that matches the particular exercise they are studying. After purchasing this book, students have access to the EE library via the internet.

There is an extensive archive of learning materials to guide and support the learning process. The instructions in this cello book are written in the English language. They are simple, and easy to follow.

12. Cello Playing for Music Lovers

The cello playing instructions in this book have been creatively written to be easily comprehensible. The author attempts to make it very easy for everyone to learn and become expert cello players. There are specific instructions and examples to ease comprehension while studying the lessons.

The practical aspect has also been enhanced with exercises that help users practice the theoretical information they have gathered from the course. The lessons cover areas such as music theory, postural guidance while playing the cello (how to hold the bow and hand position), learning the notes, how to tune the musical instrument, and playing orchestra. The instructions have been developed based on a beginner’s orientation.

In addition to the book, this learning package for cello players also features a CD which contains ninety-seven tracks. With these tracks, learners can play along while practicing their exercises.

The book also features so many illustrations to give the user a clearer picture of how a cello is played. The lessons are divided into segments to make it easier for users to advance in their lessons and practice.

After understanding the basics for beginners, users can proceed to the more advanced lessons. This book has useful information, and covers a vast area of music; it is suitable for users at all skill levels.

13. The ABC of Cello

The cello lessons presented in this book start from the basics to help beginners understand all about the musical instrument. It is a suitable teaching guide for young children and adults.

The first lessons cover basic areas such as instructions to learn the finger graphs, understanding the scales, practicing simple duets, and learning the notes with the use of worksheets.

Readers can also learn the commonly used cello terms in the music glossary and how to improve practice sessions using the charts. The package includes a CD which contains MP3 and PDF files. There are twenty-nine tracks on the CD to help users develop their ensembles.

The guidelines in the book help beginners to progress from the basic lessons to learn intermediate techniques. The use of accompaniments is a good idea because it encourages users to practice their skills consistently.

The simple guidelines related to playing the cello include precise instructions that help users understand how to perform and master the best hand positions. They can also learn how to increase endurance while bowing.

Overall, the lessons are simple and engaging. The CD is also of a high quality. Hence the content adds value to the users’ experience.

14. Position Pieces for Cellos

This book is specially written for intermediate cello players who need to understand the cello fingerboard better. The lessons follow a simple logical pattern that is easy to understand. The simple lessons featured in this book make it easy for users to have fun while improving their cello playing techniques.

One of the main areas covered include the hand position methods. Everyone who reads this book can learn the best hand positions through special exercises. These exercises are aimed to help users achieve different strategic targets while learning. The lessons also cover areas such as understanding the strings, and notes to produce the best sounds. Users can also find relevant information to help them play the cello in duets.

For the advanced exercises, the instructions in the book provide tips and hints to help users understand how to apply the higher notes. Intermediate cello players who also need to master the ability to sight read the clefs will find the necessary information in the book.

Overall, the exercises are focused on teaching the best hand positions and how users can sustain extensive practice sessions while playing the cello. It is a good guide for everyone who desires to learn how to change positions after mastering the first position. The lessons are easy to understand, and they make the exercises fun.

15. All for Strings

This book has been written for beginners and intermediate learners who wish to improve their cello techniques. The structure of the book follows the pattern of a standard textbook that can also be used by music teachers in the classroom. The content covers all the important areas of related to mastering and playing the cello.

Students who use this book will learn technical cello skills, understanding the rhythm and how to produce quality music while playing the cello. There are tips to guide students in areas such as hand positioning, learning the notes, Posture guidance while using the left-hand techniques, how to read sheet music and playing cello by ear.

The lessons are designed for beginners and intermediate learners. Using the book is quite easy, the author has included pictures and helpful illustrations which make it easier for the users to understand the lessons. The exercises and theory in the book have been developed to be fun and engaging.

Students can also learn how to perform duets, trios, and develop their ensembles while playing the cello. The lessons in the book make it easy for students to master how to play the cello at their own pace.

16. Easy Classical Cello Solos

This book contains an amazing collection of classical cello solos. Readers have an opportunity to study the works of some of the world’s best composers such as Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Handel, among others. Cellists who wish to develop their solo repertoires will find the content of this book very helpful.

The instructions are presented as simple lessons that are fun and easy to understand. Everyone who wants to learn how the prolific composers were able to change positions mostly without using sheet music can find tips to achieve this in the book. The lessons also help readers understand how to improve articulation, rhythm and the correct intonation during practice sessions.

Everyone who uses this book can learn at their pace. The songs can be selected one after the other and carefully practiced until they have been mastered. The variety also provides a chance to select their favourite songs.

The author has been able to adopt an approach that encourages the readers to continue practicing without becoming frustrated. It is a good book for cellists at all skill levels.

17. Orchestra Expressions

This book can be described as an organized collection of lessons that can be used for private or group lessons. Teachers will find the resources and content of this book helpful during their classes. The lessons cover the basic aspects of playing the cello. This makes the book a good choice as learning resources for beginners. It also contains many tips and instructions that intermediate cello players will find useful.

The lessons have been created according to the national music standards. Students can learn how to read notes, using the best bowing techniques, and hand positions. The lessons also cover playing from first position and how to switch positions.

Users of this book will read about the history of the orchestra, and learn a significant amount of musical terms used by cellists. In the package, there is a CD which contains audio files to aid users. These audio files can be used during practice sessions to improve play and practice.

Many readers interested in learning more about music theory regarding the cello will find a vast number of helpful materials in this book. The music theory part makes the book a useful reference book for the advanced cellists.

18. The Big Book of Cello Songs

People who need a book that contains a large collection of cello songs will find this book helpful. The songs have been categorised to enable beginners to find simple songs to start their lessons. There are also more complex songs which require more expertise. These songs are for the intermediate and advanced players.

The book also features clearly stated cello playing instructions and guidelines. These instructions cover a wide range of topics such as learning the notes and scales, understanding how to use the bow, hand position, and simple tips to enjoy practice sessions.

The learning instructions in this book follow a friendly approach to give users a good experience. It will also be helpful to users who need a wide range of rhythms to practice and improve their cello playing techniques. Many people will also enjoy using this book because it contains popular songs that they may already know and enjoy.

Some of the songs have been written in the first position. While many of the exercises can be played on the A and D strings. It is a good book for beginners and intermediate cello players.

19. New Directions for String Cello

Cello players at all skill levels who need to learn professional ways of developing better ensembles will find this book helpful. It features instructions, tips, and techniques described by a team of professional music teachers who are knowledgeable of string instruments. The package also includes CDs which contain tracks to aid practical training sessions.

The lessons in this book include instructions to improve left-hand techniques, hand position guides, and how to develop and explore different opportunities to create the best ensembles like a professional. Using the book is easy, the lessons are supported by colourful pictures and illustrations that help readers understand the lessons.

This book will also be helpful to teachers. It contains instructional resources about the cello that can introduce beginners to the musical instrument. The collection of songs in the CDs is also engaging and easy to practice with the cello. The book also presents a simple guide to help beginners start bowing.

The bowing lessons follow a structure that helps students continue a constant practice and eventually master the professional bowing techniques. The lessons are simple and easy to follow. It is also a good book for people who want to learn how to play the cello independently.

20. The Irish Cello Book

There are thousands of traditional Irish songs that can be played by using the cello. In this book, learners at all skill levels will find a vast collection of Irish songs. The lessons in this book teach readers the best approach to playing amazing Irish tunes on the cello.

This includes understanding the notes, and rhythms while playing Irish melodies and also learning about the traditional articulations that are common with Irish melodies. Users of this book are also introduced to different traditional Irish ensembles to improve practice sessions.

The instructions in this book can be described as quite simple and well-described. They provide an insight on how cello players can adapt their techniques to suit the traditional Irish songs.

Each skill and technique has been individually described to make it easy for the readers to comprehend the lessons. There are also many tips and tricks in the book that can be used by readers to make their music sound more traditional.

The structure of this book has been divided into different chapters. This makes it easy for independent learners to easily read and finish the entire book, in the end, they have the necessary information to apply the lessons and improve their cello skills.


The best cello books have been written in simple and easy to understand English. Also, they should feature a segment that contains a comprehensive glossary to help the user understand complex terms they will frequently encounter while reading the book. Before purchase, it is advisable to read the reviews from past users to know if they were able to understand the lessons.

Many cello books also come with CDs and DVDs which contain videos, and audio files. These files go a long way to improve the practice sessions with the cello. For a better experience, these packages can also be considered when searching for cello books to buy online.

Overall, it is best to buy cello books that feature music theory, tips on how to practically use the cello, and access to a vast music library that can improve practice sessions.

 FAQ for Best Play-Along Beginner Cello Books

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