I’m Leaving My Teaching Posts…

Here’s a little Bach gigue to dance you away, in joyful spirit

Life Update

Monday, 8/23/2021 was my last day teaching cello lessons! I’ve kept this pretty quiet, but I’m stepping away from all of my teaching posts at Monroe Street Arts Center, Prairie Music & Arts, and Music con Brio. It was a hard decision to make, but ’twas something that had been on my mind for a few years (even before the pandemic hit). Though I’m sad to say goodbye to all of my cello students and supportive families, I’m glad for all of the time we got to spend together making music! That time means a lot to me and I hope that I was able to make a positive impact on your lives.

It’s been pretty surreal to say ‘good-bye’ virtually to all of my students and employers, as opposed to in-person… I’ve taught at Monroe Street Arts Center and Prairie Music & Arts for 7 years and Music con Brio for 3 years, time just flies! I became close with many of my bosses and fellow teachers, and was really lucky to teach along side some very good friends and even some bandmates (how cool is that)! Though I’ll no longer be teaching for Music con Brio, I’ll still be on board as the Music Engraver for their Black Composer Project!! Can’t wait to see how this program blossoms!

An enormous Thank You to all of the administrative staff who helped schedule lessons, handle payments, and recruit students who fit my teaching style. Big Love and Respect to my bosses for believing in me as a teacher, and for giving me critical feedback alongside educational training to better my interactions with students. I learned A LOT.

I’ll be posting up more video lessons on my Brian Grimm’s Cello Zone YouTube & Instagram pages once the dust settles on the next few projects. So folks can continue to learn from me in that capacity, if you find my videos helpful.

I’m stepping away from teaching to focus my energies on Composition and Recording. Now that lessons are finished, I’ll be diving straight into doing sound design and theater score for 2 different Plays under the direction of my dear friend Mikael Burke!! Super excited to jump into the deep end on these productions, including a return to my alma mater Butler University!

PS. If you or your ensemble would like to commission a piece from me, or your band is going on tour and could use my mult-instrumental services… hit me up!!!


“In the Practice Room” Bass Guitar No.1!

Replacement + Position Shift Fingering Exercise on Root 4th 5th in each position

This fall I switched back to standard 4ths tuning on my bass guitars. I had been playing bass guitar tuned in 5ths (an octave lower than cello) for the last 7 years!! So it’s been a totally mind bender to relearn the fretboard in 4ths. 🤪 Transitioning back really makes me appreciate all of the great things about a 4ths tuning system. Truth be told, I hadn’t been practicing bass much in the past 5 or so years, I’ve mostly been focused in on cello. But! Changing my tuning back to 4ths is forcing me to practice 😁 So! Every time I practice, I create multiple exercises and then work on it until I have it in the hands. Sometimes it is hyper focused on a certain technique or theory, but other times it is free spirited. This one came out of pure improvisation, and it is a finger twister! The concept is to play Root 5th 4th in the hand (ex 1 3 1) then Root 5th 4th again but as a 1×2 extension where 2nd finger replaces 3 (or stays put if already extended) in order to shift up a position to play the 4th on the lower string with your 4th finger (1×2 / 4). Then you are a up in the next position and can start the climbing cycle all over again! The key to this exercise is to lift 1st finger off the board when you are on 2nd finger and about to shift up, leading with the 4th finger. Good Luck!

You can purchase the sheet music for this exercise above and hear my play through the exercise (1) slow and staccato and (2) trying it out a little faster in the Instagram post below!

#bassguitar #etude #bassguitarexercises #bassguitarlesson #musiclessons #musicexercise #fingeringexercise #inthepracticeroom #briangrimmcellozone #cellozone #briangrimm #remoteteaching #remotelessons

“6 Ways to Improve Your Bow Grip”

Whether you are one of my students and we are currently working on your bow grip, or you are someone who has difficulty controlling the bow and feeling comfortable with your grip, or you are another cello teacher looking for additional exercises to send to your students for bow grip help – this video is for you!! Here are 6 ways to improve your bow grip. So grab your bow, tighten it up and join me in the #CelloZone for this #TechniqueTip#PlayAlong video!

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Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am unable to perform live, which has significantly hurt my income. In the mean time, I am putting more effort into online lesson content, in hopes to help as many aspiring cellists as I can. If you learned something valuable from these exercises or they helped you with your technique, consider making a one-time donation. Your contribution really helps me to continue producing content and putting energy into this project.

If you don’t take private lessons from me, but consistently come back to my site on a regular basis to learn helpful tips about how to practice, work on healthier technique, and discover music theory on your instrument… please consider making monthly donations! It will help me to continue providing quality online lesson content.

If you clicked on this tab, you are my hero! If you want to help me sustain quality online lesson content, please consider making a yearly donation! Your donations ensure that I can afford to spend the time to produce this online lesson material.

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I put a lot of effort into my online lesson content, so I really appreciate your support! <3 BCG

Thank you so much for helping me do this! It really goes a long way and your support means a lot. <3 BCG

Thank you so much for helping me do this! It really goes a long way and your support means a lot. <3 BCG

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TIMESTAMPS

@00:00 it begins…
@00:23 intro and helpful tips
@02:07 EXERCISE 1 – Bounce the Ball
@02:48 who dat?!?!
@05:05 EXERCISE 2 – Wave Motion
@07:25 EXERCISE 3 – Placement of Thumb
@08:24 Traditional Flat Thumb Style
@09:15 Modern Hooked or Bent Thumb Style
@12:05 Wrist Tips
@13:41 Waterfall Fingers
@15:05 who dat again?!?!
@16:01 Placement of other Fingers
@19:03 EXERCISE 4 – Bow Circles “Pool Stick”
@19:31 DO NOT USE “pointy from behind” pokey grip
@20:14 Lean In, pouring water from a pitcher
@22:11 EXERCISE 5 – Down Wrist, Up Wrist
@23:28 Wave / Energy Principle
@25:11 Train Wheel Imagery
@25:33 EXERCISE 6 – Open String Whole Bows
@25:59 Ellipse or Oval Bowing
@27:28 REVIEW
@29:53 discussion of multiple bow grips
@32:16 whhhhhaaaatttt???!?!? who dat again, again!?


instagram: @bgcellozone https://www.instagram.com/bgcellozone/
facebook: @cellozone https://www.facebook.com/CelloZone/


#CelloZone #BowGrip #CelloClub #CelloLessons #Cello #Violoncello #PlayAlong #RemoteLessons #Music #MusicLessons #CelloLessons #BrianGrimmCelloZone #TechniqueTips #CelloTechnique #CelloClub

“In the Practice Room” No.1 – New Fingering Exercise!

15 Fingering Variations for A C D E sul D at the Shoulder

🛒 Buy the downloadable PDF Sheet Music! 👉


On Monday morning I woke up feeling exhausted and groggy, a hangover due to all of the emotion and tension surrounding the Presidential Election. I knew that I needed to get a good practice session in before I started teaching lessons in order to get my brain and body recalibrated. Practicing musical instruments is my meditation. Music is my Religion. It’s my mental health practice and how I perform works of good and service to my community. Normally when I sit down in the Practice Room, I start creating. It’s an improvisation that stems from a simple idea – usually some concept/technique that I need to work on – and then it grows organically from there into an exercise or system which I can play around in. I’ve been doing this since I can remember practicing. Starting in grade school, I’d always sit down, improvise and just explore the instrument and technique. It makes the Practice Room fun, creative, and exploratory – I highly encourage you to try it!

The resulting meditation on Monday is this new fingering exercise for to work on the evenness of tone and intonation no matter which fingering you may choose for a series of notes in a given passage. In this example I chose a few notes on the D string, which transition from the neck of the instrument to just over the shoulder [ A C D E ]. It’s a transition of technique that cellists are required to do often and something that I have been focusing on in the past few years. I want as many tools in my technique arsenal as I can collect to help me conquer the geography of this tricky section of the cello. There are immense possibilities of fingerings due to the overlap of neck position chromatic hand shapes and diatonic thumb position (& shoulder position) style hand shapes combined with the physical barrier of the instrument’s shoulder force us to choose when and how to transition between fingering styles. It’s an exercise in possibility.

Each line in the sheet music is progression through a system of fingering for the same notes A C D E. There are 15 fingerings here for you to try.


It’s hard for any Classical musician to show imperfection to the outside world, when the genre is so incredibly strict about presenting your highest level of playing possible. But social media to me is an opportunity to share our Process and Practice with each other. I love the sound of other people practicing. One of my favorite things to do in college was just walk by the practice rooms to hear people working on spots. Sometimes I’d politely pop my head in to ask about what they were working on. Everyone develops their own unique methods and techniques of practice, which I find fascinating. I’d love to see more people sharing how they Practice on social media, instead of only showing their most polished clips!

So in that spirit, here’s an Instagram post that is was my first full, continuous run through of this new exercise. It’s by no means perfect and it’s certainly not meant to be! It’s my starting point with a new exercise that I’ve just created. In this clip, I’m Meditating as much as possible, not thinking or trying, just observing. I do this to get out of my own way and simply notice what my natural tendencies are for these shifts. Which fingerings come easy? Which shifts am I missing? Is it just one finger in particular that is the problem? Or is it one position as a whole that isn’t locked in? I just want to collect the data, without judgement. Then from this initial run, I know exactly what to work on for the rest of the week as I practice this exercise. I can really target specific positions and fingerings based on what I have observed about my natural tendencies.


This meditation/practice concept should be used often as a way to separate your emotion and potential frustration from your playing. We need to be able to fail over and over and over and over again in the Practice Room. It needs to be a safe space for errors and “mistakes”. It’s precisely the mistakes that arise which become of value, because the mistakes let you know what you really need to work on. It takes the guess work out of the equation.

So fail, observe, and make small incremental changes in order to improve your playing (and mindset!). Once you nail it, keep on repeating it for consistency, accuracy, expression and muscle/spatial memory.

I’ll be updating with a couple of different versions of this exercise. For example, alternate bowings, different expression prompts, doing it in the same position but on the A string, etc.

Try out this new exercise and let me know what you think! Which fingering was the most helpful for you? Which was the most natural for you? Which did you struggle with the most? Have you noticed any tendencies about certain fingers or positions and the accuracy of your intonation?

Hopefully you will learn a little bit about your own playing this way! Happy Practicing!
~ Brian


#InthePracticeRoom #cello #violoncello #cellotheory #cellotechnique #cellofingerings #cellolessons #celloclub #cellozone #remotelessons #music #musiclessons