Violists today are extremely lucky that most of the resources they could ever need can be found online. From sheet music to ordering a new bridge, the Internet has everything both the budding and professional violist needs. It is hard to imagine that only a few decades ago, musicians could only interact with those in their community to learn about the best teachers, practices, and products. Sometimes this information was in trade journals or classical music magazines, but it was still difficult to find. Now all of that information is a click away.
Thankfully, people have consolidated all of that information onto the Internet and there are plenty of websites out there that will find you the best private teachers, the best viola strings, and the best violas.
Basically everything one needs to be able to play the viola can now be found online, including online viola lessons!
Below we wanted to summarize the top 10 online resources for viola players so that you can get the most out of your instrument and online experience.
Our favorite online viola resources
ViolaOnline.com is a great resource for violists just starting out. This site offers an overview of everything a beginner violist needs to get started.
In their “Viola Basics” section, they introduce you to all of the beginner concepts for playing the viola such as finger positions, how to bow, and how to maintain your viola. In addition, they have a sheet music section that includes both free sheet music of popular songs such as Pachelbel’s Canon as well as seasonally appropriate music, such as Christmas music.
Our favorite section of the site is the “Exercises” section where they provide various practice pieces such as Etudes to get you into better musical shape.
We highly recommend checking out this site first since it offers the most of any site on this list.
The American Viola Society
The American Viola Society is a must for anyone playing the viola. Membership gives you access to a number of exclusive resources for violists including teachers, gear, and competitions. Membership is only $28 for students ($60 regularly) and will help you launch a successful viola career.
The AVS also hosts several viola competitions including the Primrose International Viola Competition, the Gardner Composition Competition, and the Dalton Research Competition. These competitions bring violists from all over the world together in friendly competitions which include great prizes.
Take Lessons > Viola
Take Lessons is a new way for viola and other musical instrument students to take lessons virtually. You are no longer bound to the private teachers who live driving distance away from you. Now if you live in Boston, you can take a lesson from a private teacher who lives in Seattle. Take Lessons allows you to take virtual private lessons using your webcam, like Skype. All you need is a functioning webcam, microphone, and internet connection, and you can take private lessons from anywhere for a reasonable price.
We highly recommend Take Lessons because they offer a much better selection of private teachers from across the world. If you don’t like a private teacher, it’s easy to find a new one and start taking lessons from them.
ViolaMan.com is a great place to learn how to play viola. He has recorded multiple YouTube videos that show you how to do different things on the viola allowing you to practice what he teaches on your own after you’ve watched the video. ViolaMan also owns Fiddlerman.com where he teaches violin lessons the same way.
Looking for viola sheet music? 8notes.com has it.
8notes provides sheet music for violas along with music theory activities lessons. They also have an interactive metronome and have access to online music theory tests and games.
Some of the music 8notes offers is free, but the rest can be accessed through a nominal yearly subscription fee of $20.00 per year.
You may be wondering why we’re recommending a violin site on a viola blog, but Violinist.com is a premier destination for all string musicians. They frequently post articles about viola performances and interviews with famous violists. While most of the coverage is oriented towards violinists, they certainly have plenty of content for viola players, too.
It’s really interesting to read some of the interviews with current violists, such as with the man who just celebrated his 30th anniversary with his modern viola.
The Reddit viola channel r/viola is the perfect community for violists. Violists from all over the world post here about anything from viola repertoire to the best viola jokes. You should join this subreddit to connect with other violists around the globe. You never know what someone will post that will pique your interest.
The Strad Magazine
The Strad Magazine is a UK-based classical music magazine that keeps violinists, violists, and cellists of all skill levels abreast of the latest news, groundbreaking research, and techniques. It is a great resource for catching up on classical music news as well as learning new ways of playing. While The Strad is traditionally a printed magazine that you would receive in the mail, thestrad.com contain most of the content the magazine would typically include for free.
Allthingsstrings.com is a companion website for Strings Magazine. There is a lot of free content on their webpage such as their newsletter and reviews.
One of the unique features of their website is their “Directory” page which lists information on viola makers, books, performers, and teachers and workshop schedules. They also have an “Events” page that lists all sorts of strings related events going on across the country including festivals and masterclasses.
You can also find a private teacher, buy sheet music, watch video lessons, buy an instrument, connect with other violists, find out about auditions and summer music camps, perform online, and just about anything else you can think of that is related to viola playing, right at the click of your mouse.
CMUSE is a great news site if you’re looking for entertaining information on the classical music and have a sense of humor.
While the website covers a wide range of musical genres, there is a whole section dedicated to classical music, and there is a good range of viola-related material.
Hopefully these resources were useful to you. If you have any other viola resources you recommend, please tell us about them in the comments!