“The difference between a violin and a viola is that the viola burns longer.” Victor Borge

It’s not every day that you hear someone saying, “I would like to play the viola!” What is the viola?

The viola is an instrument that is also part of the violin family. The viola which is a bit larger than the violin is another bowed instrument just like the violin.  It is said to be the middle voice in the violin family with the cello being slightly lower and the violin being slightly higher.

Is there a way that you can distinguish between the violin and the viola?

Well, the viola looks much the same as the violin being similar in size as well. The thing that sets the viola apart from the violin is the timber. The viola seems to be made from a much richer toned timber in comparison to the violin.  You won’t notice this but the viola is also a longer length than the violin. The thing about the viola is that if you have become comfortable playing the violin, you will be able to play the viola effortlessly.

You can choose to stand or sit when you play the viola. Is the positioning of the viola the exact same as that of the violin? If you search for images of people playing both the violin and the viola, you will notice that it is impossible to play both the viola and violin in the same way due to the fact that the viola is longer in length.

Do you want to be a violist or a viola player? The viola, violin, and the double bass are all part of the violin family.

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Tips to Learn How to Play the Viola Easily

When you want to learn to play the viola, the key rule is to remain motivated. Motivation is everything. With motivation, you must also keep practising to ensure you succeed in learning to play the viola well.

The more you practice, the better you will be at playing the viola.
It is so important to keep practising. Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Again, you must remember that learning to play the viola is no easy feat. If you feel like pulling your viola strings out, don’t give up! Keep practising and keep playing and you will eventually master the art of playing the viola. Always be aware of your posture. You need to start by finding a posture that will be comfortable for you when you are playing the viola. Feeling comfortable while playing means you will play better also. Once you become more comfortable holding the viola, you can find a routine to ensure that you ensure that you keep practicing and keep giving viola lessons your all.

Remember learning to play the viola is a tedious process and will require lots of dedication and a serious commitment. You will get frustrated or upset from time to time but that doesn’t mean giving up entirely. If frustration arises, take a break and do something else. It is always better to hit a high note later on than quit before you get to hit a high note at all.

Viola lessons can help you to learn how to play the viola easily.

Viola Lessons: A Way Forward

So while you may have become interested in an instrument like the viola, you will succeed in mastering the art of playing the viola with the help of a professional viola player or a private viola tutor.

As a beginner viola player, you need to learn to master holding the viola, the placement of your fingers on the strings, and keeping the bow sturdy and that is why you require a tutor.

A Sturdy Hold of the Viola

A viola needs to be held upside down with the back of the viola facing you. You can use a shoulder rest which will allow you to play with ease and more comfortably. Your left collarbone is essential to use while playing.  For beginner violists, you may find it more comfortable to sit while playing the viola.

The playing position that is most comfortable for you will be found after you play for some time. The base of the viola’s neck must be kept as best as possible to the left side to ensure maximum comfort.

Put Your Finger on It

So a key rule to begin playing the viola is to notice the fingers of other violists. You will get to notice how your tutor plays the viola which will guide you as to how you should be placing your fingers when you play. It can be difficult thinking about how to place your fingers when you are playing without the assistance of a tutor to guide you.

You also need to know how to position your fingers when you are not playing. If you are not playing, you can relax your fingers by keeping them on the fingerboard and your thumb and index finger must make somewhat of a backward C shape.

How to Tighten the Bow

You need a tutor to let you know that the main thing to do is to tighten your bow.  Every time you practise playing the viola, the bow hair gets loose so before you start playing again, you have to tighten your bow. Ensure that you turn the screw at the end of your bow clockwise so as to ensure you tighten your bow.

Again, you need to make sure that you don’t over-tighten the bow else the bow hair may break.

A tutor will guide you as to the proper way to tighten the bow. Things like tightening the bow are things you would take for granted if you chose to learn to play the viola on your own.

The viola has changed since the first ever models.
Do you know the difference between the violin family members? Photo credit: Free Public Domain Illustrations by rawpixel on Visualhunt / CC BY

Your fingers are correctly placed, you are ready to play. You are being correctly guided about how to play so get playing.

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The Role of the Viola Teacher

Things that you shouldn’t take for granted include the value of being guided as to which viola to even buy. A good viola teacher can tell you which type of viola to settle for.  Tutors advise beginner viola players to buy an acoustic viola.

When purchasing an acoustic viola, you need to ensure you buy one which is of the right quality. A tutor can step in and tell you what to look for in terms of the quality of an acoustic viola.

You must remember to choose a viola that matches your size well. Your own size is important when purchasing the right viola for you. If you do not consider your size, you could find that you would feel uncomfortable playing the instrument. Never buy a viola that is too big as this leads to many hindrances when you actually play.

Be sure that you can comfortably hold the viola in your hand and you will be able to play eloquently. To find the right viola, rope in your music tutor to help.

Spending on a Viola

When you decide to buy your first viola, you should also know how much you need to spend on the instrument to avoid being ripped off. You can speak to your tutor about what is the usual amount that ought to be spent on a viola.

You could even ask for help at an instrument shop. You must remember that generally, you will spend more when you purchase a quality instrument. It is best to be advised as to what the best options are when it comes to purchasing a viola before you make the purchase.

Choosing to Take Viola Lessons Online

If you are considering taking your viola lessons online, you must remember to visit the Superprof site. The Superprof site features many music tutors all of whom showcase a range of experience and charge affordable rates based on their qualifications and experience. Searching for a tutor has never been easier than with Superprof.

Online viola lessons can be taken from the comfort of your home using video conferencing applications. The beauty of online lessons is that you could save some money and not have to incur any traveling expenses traveling to and fro from your lessons. Superprof online musical tutors usually charge more reasonable rates for their online teaching services. You will also find it much easier to commit to these online lessons than to commit to face-to-face lessons with a tutor.

Viola lessons
You don't have to go to class to find a great tutor! You can learn to play the viola from home. Source: Unsplash

The cherry on the top when choosing to take online viola lessons with a Superprof tutor is that you get a free lesson before you actually commit to the viola classes. If the offer is that appealing, you can’t help but want to take the free viola lesson to see if you enjoying learning with a specific tutor or not.

For those aspiring violists with a busy life, online viola lessons are possibly the best option to learn to play the instrument. A steady internet connection is all that is required for you to be able to take these classes without any disruptions. You can learn to play the viola just as effectively online if you remain focused on the task at hand-learning to play the viola well.

Once you have learnt to play the viola, maybe you want to learn to play the cello.

Challenge Yourself

When you become keen about taking music lessons, you must remember that the greatest musicians practise and remain devoted to practising often to be able to play the instrument well.

If you are wanting to challenge yourself to play better, start by playing the viola for 20 minutes for 3 days a week.

Once you have gotten accustomed to this practice routine, further challenge yourself by playing the viola for 45 minutes every 4 days of a week.

Remember the more you practise, the more perfect you will become.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.