Tuning Your Cello
For those able to tune their own cello, the best method is to tune to track 11 (a 220 hz. A), then turn off the CD and continue to tune as usual. To teach students how to tune their own cello, use track 1 and, playing only one string at a time, let the student tune to each of the four string tones. When a string is tuned, have the student play the next string early and try to tune the fifth to the CD. This will be easier for them than playing both strings themselves. When the CD changes strings, the student can check his work, then again go to the next string.
Practice scales with the disc by playing the track with the starting note of the scale you wish to play. You will gain a better understanding of the role of each note of the scale and how to choose the best version of each note in the key of that scale. This will make it much easier to tune to the piano or other instruments because you will be tuning to sound, not a visual cue from a tuning machine. Most important of all, the drone will tether the player to its pitch, making it difficult to drift sharp or flat through the scale. After proper practice, you will be able to hear the cello drone in your head after you've turned the CD off, just as you can remember an exact tempo after practicing with a metronome.
Practicing Solo Literature
Much of your solo literature can benefit from tuning to a cello drone from this disc. If the harmonic structure of a section of music is not complicated, you can find a drone or a choice of drones that will help you stay in tune. For example, if you are working on the Haydn C major concerto, you can use a C drone for sections in C major. Often, the fifth note of the scale (in this case G) is better to use with literature because the harmony changes. The fifth note of the scale is contained in both the C major chord and the G major chord. These are the two most often used chords in a piece of music set in C major. If you are not sure which cello drone to use for a section of music, choose a recurring note in your part or the piano part and try it for that section. Even if it is dissonant with a few pitches in your part, it can still be helpful in tuning the notes that the drone matches. A piece with more complicated harmony may require several cello drone changes.