There is an abundance of videos on the Internet demonstrating various aspects of cello playing. Why take private lessons with a teacher in person and instead just learn by watching these videos?
Playing any instrument is a physical skill. The eminent pianist Leon Fleisher frequently points out that musicians are “athletes of the small muscles.” And like with any athletic endeavor, it is all too easy to succumb to pain and injury without proper coaching on how to use the body properly.
Even professional musicians aren’t immune to such issues. And the field of injury prevention and treatment for performing artists has only come into being in the past thirty years or so. Today, teachers recognize how important it is for students to develop a physical approach to the instrument that will allow a lifetime of enjoyment and incorporate that knowledge into their lessons.
In-person lessons allow immediate feedback that is only really possible when observing the student up close. The teacher can devise solutions to cellistic problems that are tailored to the individual student.
The cost of lessons from a trained teacher may seem daunting. In that situation, it’s worth discussing this with the prospective teacher to see what options might be possible. For example, it would be far better to take the occasional lesson from a teacher and establish proper form and technique than risk debilitating pain and injury.