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on January 11, 2013
I teach cello so my comments may be more helpful for other cello teachers who are looking for a book that provides material with which to apply instruction on thumb position technique. It is arranged by hand position (ie. whole step, whole step, half step between fingers is the first section, whole, half, whole is the second etc). Each hand position has a number of short tunes which are reasonably engaging for kids and progress very smoothly in difficulty so that once foundational instruction on left hand positioning has been given by the teacher, the tunes are practically learnable by the students on their own. I personally like to start the student with exercises before introducing this book that help them maintain a correct hand shape but once that is done, this book provides great opportunity to practice skills.

For cello enthusiasts trying to learn cello on your own, I don't really recommend that anybody use this book without a teacher because the correct hand shape required for thumb position is not physically intuitive and most students without instruction will default to hand shapes that are not correct. The book does not provide any information on this. Without a doubt, Mooney, who is a suzuki method instructor put this together with the intent for it to be used with an instructor.
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on September 16, 2012
This is an exercise book, so don't expect much musical inspiration. The melodies are engaging enough to make you want to play them, some are fun, but all are exercises that help you concentrate on intonation and hand postition. It's a lot easier to learn this way than playing regular compositions.

The first four sections break down the octave thumb position into four categories depending on note intervals and gives a few exercises for each. The last and longest section has melodies that mix up the categories.

The tunes are folk melodies, fiddle tunes, and some Bach chorales.
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on November 27, 2011
You should know that you will need to already know the thumb positions in order to use this book. It is practice, it is very good practice, but you will need to know the positions in order to use the book. Don't expect to learn thing 1 about using the thumb.

You also need to know how to read treble clef in order to use the book.

One good thing about the book is that there are some familiar pieces, which will help you determine if you are right on the note or not. Many pieces are not actual 'songs', but some are.
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on February 18, 2016
I am an adult cellist who learned first as a teenager, and I have always dreaded and avoided thumb position. Who wouldn't?! So I was really surprised and amazed that Rick Mooney's book makes thumb position (SO FAR) appealing and easy.

Mooney has a mixture of warm-ups, familiar tunes, and fun lively gigs. My cello sounds more like a fiddle than it ever did before! I can't believe I actually look forward to practicing his thumb position pieces every night, and I am learning them quite quickly. He also has a reassuringly methodical approach, having us learn different fingering patterns one at a time. (1st section devoted to half step between 2nd and 3rd fingers, the easiest. 2nd section devoted to half step between 1st and 2nd, etc.) And by giving us familiar pieces (folk songs and Suzuki), we can play in this unfamiliar position, and instantly know if we're playing the right notes. This also helps for those just learning treble clef. (This book is all in treble clef because the notes are so high.)

Do know that this book is easy in large part because Money doesn't have us press down our thumb yet, it is just resting lightly on the harmonic. But this is great, because it builds confidence and willingness about thumb position.

Pressing the thumb down comes with Book 2, Thumbs of Steel. Now THAT, I am dreading, although I just ordered it. As my cello teacher says, "if it doesn't hurt, you're not doing it right." If Mooney can make that book enjoyable, then I will truly be amazed.
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on August 22, 2012
I love this book! It's concise, direct and practical. It gives my students security in the upper ranges of the cello. Filled mostly with short familiar pieces. It makes it easy to get started.
A couple of suggestions, I wish there were more scales and form examples. What about offering a DVD with the volumes?
That said, an excellent intro to thumb position!
All the Best, John Stuart - Alamocitycello@youtube.com
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on June 1, 2010
I hope this would encourage my daughter to practice thumb positions - but it hasn't. Works better with a teacher. Good instruction, good examples.
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on January 10, 2008
I have to say i was a bit disappointed with this book. I was expecting a concise method training. This book isn't all bad, I just found the content to be a bit dull.
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on March 4, 2016
This was exactly what I was looking for: it's a typical Rick Mooney book that explains the thumb position for cello right from the beginning, and very thouroughly
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on December 21, 2013
it came in good condition, and was what we asked for... Can't ask for more than that! I look forward to listening to my son learn!
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on July 11, 2013
This is a fantastic product. I would recommend this to anybody who plays a cello and can use a product like this.
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