Viola lessons allow students a look into one of the most unique members of the string family. The viola is the second largest instrument in a standard string quartet, deeper than the violin, but smaller than the cello and bass. The viola has been somewhat underused in classical music, frequently providing harmony in pieces written for string quartets.
However, some composers wrote pieces specifically for the viola. Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 is an example; later composers such as George Telemann, Hector Berlioz, and Carl Stamitz also made great use of the viola in their works. The viola is also a prominent instrument in folk music from Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary. Because of the viola’s darker tone compared to the violin, it has been used in many experimental recordings. By taking viola lessons students open their world to learning many unique pieces of repertoire, as well as many classic and world famous works. The most famous violist in popular music is John Cale, who used the viola extensively with The Velvet Underground in the late 1960’s.
Our recommended starting age for the viola is five or six, although exceptions can certainly be made for a younger student who is capable of handling the instrument properly and with sufficient strength in the fingers and hands. The viola is held in the same way as a violin, but it is slightly larger and may be better suited for students already familiar with the violin. It is a great instrument for players of all ages, and many orchestras and performance ensembles are in need of violists.
Music shops that sell stringed instruments can usually also work out viola rentals. For adults, either used or new violas will work just fine. Another factor to keep in mind is that used instruments can sometimes be sold “as-is,” meaning it may not be in the best condition or even need some moderate repairs. Our instructors are familiar with good instrument maintenance techniques and can be of assistance.
Some popular viola lesson metros:
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