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In my orchestra group, all of the cellists set their cellos on their side on the floor next to their chair during break. However, one cello coach told us that since it's easy for the cello to fall over in that position, you should never leave your cello like that. Instead, he suggested putting the end pin all the way in and setting the scroll on the front edge of the chair with the front side up, so that the bottom edge of the back of the cello is resting on the floor.

His point was that in this position the cello would less likely to fall if it was bumped. But if it were bumped, it would have farther to fall.

Which of these two methods is safer for the cello?

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The safest place to put your cello is back in its case. It really doesn't matter how you put a cello down on the floor or on a chair: there's still a reasonably good (bad) chance that someone will trip over it, or tip a stand over onto it, etc.
Yeah, I'm paranoid, but that's what happens when you realize your instrument is worth as much as a small car :-) .

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    My late violin teacher used to charge 50 dollars to anyone who dropped, or fumbled, their violin. He was fond of saying, "Chairs are for sitting, floors are for walking, tables are for food, violin cases are for violins." I tend to be paranoid after all that! – General Nuisance Dec 6 '16 at 14:22
  • my cello isn't expensive relative to the normal price of a cello, but of course this still means several thousand dollars. Sometimes this fact strikes me when i'm playing and yeah, definitely doesn't hurt to be paranoid! – kat Apr 30 '18 at 2:03
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You can't fall off the floor. I recommend the usual way, putting the cello in its side, and putting the endpin in if it gets in the way or is likely to snag someone passing. Naturally, keep the safety of your instrument in mind and tuck it agains a wall or like that (but don't face the bridge towards the wall, as it could get crunched if someone does nudge the instrument).

  • I would recommend this for shorter amounts of time, when it's simply more efficient to lay the cello down than put it back in the case. – kat Apr 30 '18 at 2:00
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Putting the end pin all the way in and putting it on it's side is usually safe. However, as mentioned above, putting it back in it's case is safe. Unless you are planning to play relatively soon.

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We were taught a third method: have the side of the cello towards the floor, and lay the instrument against the edge of your chair, in a diagonal position. The top of the waist of the cello gets 'seated' on the chair pad, and the end pin is out, in its hole (just when it is played). The rib edges and the pin together will stabilise the cello, if it is laid properly. The bow gets to be laid on the seat.

This way the cello is occupying less than half of floor-space (as opposed to be layed on the floor), and it is both stable and very orderly. Also this is very swift, and takes less movement / manouevering by the player.

This is a very orchestral approach, as it is most important in that setting that the players are swift, and are not only orderly, but also orderly looking. They are learning and practicing to move in unison in a very orderly way not only when playing, but also when they need to leave their instruments behind (eg when the show starts, or is over, or goes for an interval). The players and orchestra practice this all the time (to move together, be orderly, be neat looking, etc), so these rules go on in practice times as well, and layers are taught to do the same at home.

It is part of the cello practice and cello culture to move around the instruments with care and take caution, so it becomes second nature. Cellos do not belong in their casings all the time, it is just simply not practical. Dragging the cello back / forth and in / out of its casing unnecessarily is poor practice, and actually increases the chances of accidents. Putting in the end stick and pulling it out each time the group goes on a break is also poor practice. It requires double / triple handling, it is simply not economical, not a good use of energy, and otherwise unpractical.

If your orchestra group laid down each cello with its side against the chair, you would have more room. If the chairs and cellos were lined up as well (in an orderly way) and adequate space between them, then the group would eventually find it easy to not bogged in with feet, loose clothing, etc, not to trip / knock the instruments over - it will become a house rule, as it should.

It is the responsibility of the conductor, or team leader / coach, to set these rules, and to keep them going. These rules are also necessary for occupational safety of the players (not only for the cellos), as someone tripping over a cello could end up breaking a leg, or hand, or neck (compared to that, the falling of the bridge would not be a big deal!).

If you do not have a regular coach, you need to agree amongst yourselves about how to set, and how to keep these rules. Good Luck.

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