The tenor voice of the violin family, the sound of a cello holds tremendous emotional power. Its deep, warm tones can be soothing or moving. From trios to full orchestra, the cello offers many opportunities for playing in groups. While this beautiful instrument is certainly essential as an ensemble instrument, the cello is also a beautiful soloist. All of the orchestral string courses include note reading, ear-training, theory, technique, and ensemble playing. A year of piano instruction is recommended (but not required) before undertaking an unfretted instrument, as stringed instruments require a rudimentary understanding of pitch for daily tuning and successful finger placement.