Viola Lessons: How the Viola Differs From the Violin

viola lessons

When it comes to taking viola lessons, how does learning the viola differ from learning the violin? Today we’re taking a look at just a few of the differences.

Viola Lessons: How the Viola Differs From the Violin

The Viola is Bigger!

Compared to the violin, the viola is larger which means that the way that you hold the instrument is different. When playing the viola, your fingers are going to be further apart than they would be when playing the violin. You will also notice when you hold the viola that it is heavier than the violin which means that you are supporting slightly more weight when you play the viola. This extra weight also means that your bow is going to be larger too!

The Sound

You will notice when playing the viola versus the violin that the strings of the viola are slightly larger. This increase in size is simply because the viola is a larger instrument. Since the strings on the viola are larger, this also impacts the sound of the instrument and how it is played. When you move the bow across the strings of the viola you will notice that the sound is slightly delayed in comparison to the violin. This will take a little getting used to if you are coming to the viola from the violin particularly if you are playing with an accompanying instrument because it can easily throw off your timing.

The Alto Clef

When playing the violin you don’t have to worry about the alto clef, but when you are learning to play the viola you will notice that now you also have to read the alto clef! If you’re already experienced in reading music, learning to read the alto clef is not too difficult at all. There is something pretty special about the alto clef and the viola too, of all instruments, the viola is one of the only instruments that still uses the alto clef!

The Volume

As you learn to play the viola you will notice that your teacher highlights the importance of playing with short, well-defined strokes of the bow. The reason for this is because the sound of the viola can easily be drowned out by other instruments in the orchestra so you have to learn to play with bow strokes that really enunciate your sound so that you are heard!

Are You Interested in Taking Viola Lessons?

If you are interested in taking viola lessons and live in the New Tampa area, why not drop by and pay us a visit at Wendelken Studio of Music? We offer more than viola lessons too, so take a look around and see which of our musical programs piques your interest!