December 6, 2012 at 3:14 PMIt was just last year a couple weeks from Christmas that one of my newest violin student's mom called me and said she wanted to get her daughter a violin for Christmas. She was wondering if I would help her. Sure! There are a lot of beginner's violins out there...! We looked though quite a few but she really wanted to get one from Ebay. I didn't think it was such a good idea. Finally she thought she had her mind made up and it seemed like a good choice. We had planned that it would be shipped to my home so it had no chance of being discovered before time. A day later she called me up and announced that she had changed her mind and, with some last minute bidding she had a $100 4/4 violin on its way! I wasn't sure what to expect, but I already had some misgivings. When it arrived, the package was alright, but looking at the instrument I pulled out of the beat up case, I was a bit disappointed. This violin had no chin rest and no bow. And, it felt strange. It just felt different. I went to tune it up and wouldn't you know it- I broke the first string. I couldn't even get close to the E! Now I really didn't know what to think! I hadn't broke a string in a long time and had never had any problem tuning. I went next to cleaning it up. It was pretty dirty. Looking on the inside, I saw it had two tags and then I made my discovery. She'd bought a 3/4 viola! lol. I called her up and we had a good laugh. Now, what to do with it? She wanted me to still try it out and she'd see if her daughter wanted a viola instead. I tried it out and was pleasantly surprised! I loved the feeling of the vibration under my chin and the low notes; it had a very pleasant sound. After playing just a few songs, my right arm was already tired... you try playing a viola with a violin bow and you'll know what I mean! It was enough, though, and I decided that if she didn't want it, I'd buy it from her. Christmas came and went and my student still wanted a violin. So this is how I ended up with a viola. I love playing it and have found it so much easier (for me) to play than the violin. That is, after I got a viola bow and a new chin rest. But playing is a different thing than reading alto clef... If I didn't love my violin so very much, I would be a violist today!
Find some simple music written for viola - preferably something you already know - and try playing it. My wife plays cello and I had already downloaded a few violin-cello duets. I was able to find some equivalents for viola and cello at 8notes.com.
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