Learning Viola?

November 13, 2004 at 01:17 AM · I'm a violinist and I don't want to switch to viola but I want to know the best way to learn how to play it. I know how to play the viola (meaning how to read the music) but it takes me time for each note. Have you found any books that have helped you to switch? Has anyone tried Mary Cohen's book Quick Change?

(Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it.)

Replies (6)

November 13, 2004 at 04:24 PM · I got a viola in May and have been playing it on my own since then. I'm having a much harder time reading the alto clef than I had anticipated, but I went and purchased the Suzuki viola books 2-5. Most of the pieces in Books 2-4 are the same as what are in the violin books...since I was familiar with the music, it made it easier to read the notation - and allowed me to focus on the notes (rather than trying to figure out the melody)...so, great practice!

I haven't had time to focus on the alto clef lately (spending more time with my violin and my orchestra material) and have slipped backwards a bit in my clef reading... but I have to get back to it...soon as I have time...

...or, if you need to...have you tried flash cards? They tend to work well with me at any rate...when I'm slow memorizing or learning something by rote...

November 13, 2004 at 07:22 PM ·

November 13, 2004 at 09:21 PM · Well...the alto clef part is actually the easy part of the whole adapting process. You just have to read a lot of viola music.

Maybe it will benefit you to visit a viola teacher so that he/she can introduce to you about the bow weight and vibrato on the viola, which is very different from the violin. Any competent violinist can pick up a viola and play something on it, but but it's quite easy to tell apart a violist and a violinist playing the viola.

November 14, 2004 at 03:22 PM · ...yes, the bowing is very different...I noticed that immediately...

...I found the vibrato actually easier on the viola...in fact, it's greatly helped my violin vibrato...

...I'd go as far as saying that my monkeying about on the viola has greatly improved my violin playing!

They really are two different instruments...no doubt about it...

November 14, 2004 at 03:25 PM · Are the notes more spread out on the viola or are they the same distance apart as hte violin? Just curious.

November 14, 2004 at 05:20 PM · The viola is a larger instrument so the intervals are farther apart. And yes playing the viola will help your violin playing, especially your left hand!.

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