708, 2016

Why I Chose Viola

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I often get asked why I chose the viola and the answer is very simple: my elementary school strings teacher played the Star Wars theme on the viola when I was in fourth grade. Even the Jaws theme on the cello was not enough to win me over. No glamorous analysis or testing needed. I went home that night and told my parents I wanted to play the viola. They searched in the classifieds and found one at the local music shop selling for $80. And thus began my viola career. I didn't reflect on my choice until many years

2807, 2016

Buying a Viola Checklist

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With the school season right around the corner, it's important to  know what to look for when buying or renting a viola. Besides the viola itself, there are a number of accessories necessary to play the viola properly and comfortably. We cover the various accessories below, which include: the bow, the case, the shoulder rest, the chin rest, extra strings, rosin, and tuners. Make sure that when you select your new viola, you get the accessories, too! The Viola The viola is the first item on this list that you should shop for. We have an entire guide dedicated to how to buy

1407, 2016

Should I Rent or Buy a Viola?

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With rental season starting soon, you may be wondering whether you should buy a new viola or rent one. The answer is not simple and usually requires weighing not only the upfront monetary cost, but whether the student will continue playing for years to come or stop three months into starting. My parents personally bought me a used viola straight out of the classifieds for $80 with no idea whether I'd continue playing. Sure enough, seventeen years later and I'm still playing strong. I'll start my analysis of the problem of whether to rent or buy a viola with an overview of

407, 2016

This Week in Violas – July 3

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Happy Fourth of July weekend! Hope you all are enjoying time with your families or on grand adventures like I currently am. This week will kick off our bi-weekly summary of what is happening around the world and Internet regarding the beloved viola. We will keep you up-to-date on all things viola, from specific performances to viola mishaps or the latest viola joke. An Imperfect Instrument by Jennifer Stumm We first want to call attention to this wonderful TEDx talk about the viola. While slightly dated, Jennifer Stumm does a marvelous job describing the often underrated viola while

2706, 2016

Can I Fly with a Viola as Carry-On?

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The short answer is yes, but different airlines have different guidelines. Air Canada has received a lot of flack the past few years when it first banned violas from traveling as carry-on luggage only to reverse its stance a few weeks later. Given that the airline already had a history of destroying valuable violas, this stance by Air Canada seemed odd to begin with. We at Viola Central fly with violas frequently, but try to fly under the radar (see what we did there) when passing through the TSA checkpoints and boarding aircraft. Generally, airlines should allow you to fly with your

2206, 2016

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Ballet Review

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Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev is definitely a piece that should be in every violists repertoire and we highly recommend including it in your next recital. The more romantic scenes take advantage of the full expressive range of the viola (and in a couple of cases, two violas) and the complete dramatic arsenal of the pianist. The "Dance of the Knights" is amazing since it showcases the different sounds a viola can make through different bowing techniques and use of the full range of the viola, including harmonics. Additionally, the "The Street Awakens," "Mercutio," and "Morning Serenade"