From Violin to Viola, Should I Switch?

December 23, 2004 at 07:01 PM · Hi, I'm in 7th grade just started violin 5 months ago. I'm pretty good at it and know the notes but I want to play the viola. I was wonder if I should swich from a violin to viola and is the viola harder to learn then or easy or about the same. Thank you,


Replies (18)

December 23, 2004 at 07:53 PM · If you want to play the viola then you should definitely switch. As you haven't been playing the violin for too long I don't think you will find it difficult to switch.

In my experience learning viola was no harder than learning violin.

Also you will always have plenty of invitations to play if you are a viola player as we tend to be in short supply!

December 23, 2004 at 08:22 PM · switch, there is a serious dearth of violists.

December 23, 2004 at 08:33 PM · Hey, thanks. I haven't been playing for long. Only 5 months. I talked to my teacher and she said it was ok. so I start the viola when Christmas break is over. Thanks you all for the help.

December 23, 2004 at 11:58 PM · You can switch if you have a good sence of humor, it's common somebody will make fun of you as a violist. Me too. LOL (Kidding) It's nice instrument, almost as a violin. Good luck!

December 24, 2004 at 12:42 AM · Nigel Kennedy occasionally plays viola, as does Vengerov. So there very compatible. Violins can even be coverted tempoarily to violas, you just change the strings. Not to be reccomended though. As for the jokes, there are plenty of violin or drummer jokes to respond with. :-) How many violinists does it take to change a lightbulb? 1 - any more and they would fall out over it. :-D

December 24, 2004 at 01:43 PM · Q. Why are viola jokes so short?

A. So violinists can understand them.

December 24, 2004 at 04:58 PM · Yes, I think it's always great to learn an instrument that you want to play, and since you've had a head start with bowing on the violin, it should be a little easier. I do also think there is a shortage of violists sometimes. In my orchestra, we have about fifteen violins and only three violas.

December 24, 2004 at 10:46 PM · I wish I could play both in our orchestra...but I can't...ah well...maybe I need to find myself two ensembles and plays viola in the other? :D That would certainly speed up my alto clef reading...

We have 4 violas in our 50 member orchestra and about 16 violins if everyone many violas to violins does the 'average' orchestra have???

December 24, 2004 at 11:17 PM · in our youth orchestra, we have about 16 violinists and 5 violas

December 25, 2004 at 08:19 AM · Better yet, pick up a good 5 string violin. That way, you can play both :)

December 25, 2004 at 08:20 PM · Oooh, 5 strings always confused me too much. That's viola players for you I suppose!

December 25, 2004 at 10:59 PM · ahh, every youth orchestra has like 4 violas and they always play so quietly.

December 26, 2004 at 03:34 AM · It's a GREAT idea to play the viola! Play it well... be a leader... will equal... a great time and some good scholarship offers! :) Have fun!


December 26, 2004 at 03:50 AM · one thing is for sure, if you learn to play the viola you will always have a job!

December 27, 2004 at 07:37 PM · Our youth orchestra is quite pitiful. We have about 20 violinists and 2 violists. One of them can't play very well. I don't think I've ever heard her play a single note. I really doubt she can even play through a piece from the end of a Suzuki 1. The other one on the other hand is quite good and made it into region even though she's never had a private lesson in her life.

December 27, 2004 at 08:03 PM · The one caveat about switching is that the repertoire for viola is much more limited. While the Bach cello suites and sonatas and partitas for violin have been transcribed for viola, there is not much in the high classical repertoire (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and their contemporaries) for viola soloists, and, indeed, not a whole lot before the 20th century. Interestingly, many of the great composers played and preferred viola to violin (e.g., Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Dvorak, Hindemith), but only Hindemith really wrote much for viola. And some of the greatest violinists, including Oistrakh and Zukerman, were exceptional violists. But, they played both.

December 28, 2004 at 01:03 AM · Yes that is true for solo works, but the chamber music for viola is extraordinary. You mentioned a few already, I think Dvorak and Mendellsohn are my two favorites for viola. Such melodies, such emotion!

March 11, 2005 at 04:29 AM · I started out on viola, and then I later began to learn to play the violin. I like the viola much more. There is more depth of sound and the sound is very characteristic. The violin has a great number of concertos, but I think the viola transcriptions of several concertos and sonatas are much more satisfying.

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