Music Path

Character and Musical Artistry

Is It Hard to Play the Viola?

3 min read
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Most people perceive the viola as something difficult to play from handling, playing, up to its different techniques. Though the latter is true, the viola is actually an easy instrument to play, especially with the proper tutorials and the right teacher.

What makes playing the viola hard? Do not be intimidated by these musical instruments. Like any other tool, a viola would not be producing these amazing and nurturing sounds if it were not for the musician or artist. It is normal to be overwhelmed with the techniques and how to properly play the viola. But with courage and persistence, anything is doable.

Solutions to make playing viola easier

The right size of your instrument

Keep in mind that violas are heavy stringed instruments and without choosing the proper size suited for you, it will be uncomfortable playing since your focus will be centered on the heaviness. On the selection process of choosing a viola, pick the right size of a viola in accordance with the sizing chart.

Using a yardstick or tape measure, stretch your left arm with your palm lying flat. Measure starting from the neck up to the middle of the palm. Match the results that best correspond to what is written on the size chart.

Bow placement

Good playability lies in how the musician or artist holds and places the bow. It also includes the speed and pressure applied. The recommended bow placement is placing the bow at the fog, in the middle, and at the tip. Also, tilt the wood towards the fingerboard.

Notice that the produced sound may vary. Loud sounds are attained by adding heavy bow pressure and drawing the bow close to the bridge, while soft sounds can be attained by using light bow pressure and drawing the bow close to the fingerboard.


Posture in playing the instrument

A musician’s posture and position are significant when playing the viola. Why? Because it is connected with the hands and shoulders. There are drastic changes when a musician is standing correctly compared to slouching. Follow this checklist when playing the instrument:

  1. Support the instrument using the shoulder but make sure that the left-hand finger can move without tension.
  2. The left hand must freely slide up and down the fingerboard.
  3. The body must be positioned with the nose-bridge-elbow-knee-toe alignment.
  4. The instrument must be positioned parallel to the floor.

An environment where you can focus on playing the instrument

People can pick up different lessons in different environments. But nothing beats a quiet, peaceful, and serene place to practice your viola lessons. Although good concentration is part of the learning process, you should have a conducive workplace to do this. Study in an area wherein you are comfortable, at ease, and silent.

Final thoughts on mastering and practicing viola

As the famous quote says, “Practice makes perfect.” Allotting 10 to 20 minutes of your time every day would add to your increased performance of learning and playing the viola. Take time absorbing lessons, executing them in real life, and adding your own personal touch.