509, 2016

The Week in Violas – 9/4

We hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day weekend. The weather here in Pittsburgh has finally cooled down a bit so we can finally enjoy being outside for all the bbqs. Below is our viola news of the week. 11 Airlines are Viola-Approved The International Federation of Musicians (IFM) released a report this week of the most instrument-friendly airlines. Allowing violas onboard airplanes has been an ongoing debate for the last 10 years so it's great that airlines are finally opening up their policies to allow violas on-board, no questions asked. We still recommend buying a hard case for

1608, 2016

Budgeting for a Viola

Violas are expensive, there's no denying that. Even if you are renting a viola, the monthly bills add up quickly. In order to help you budget for a viola, we have laid a basic guide to make sure you are making the most of your money and can afford a viola.   Can you afford a new viola? The first thing you need to decide is whether you have enough money to buy a new or used viola outright. Typical entry-level new viola outfits range from about $75-$250 depending on the quality of the workmanship and materials. These outfits usually include

1408, 2016

This Week in Violas – August 14

Continuing on with our "This Week in Violas" series, we have several interesting viola tidbits to share.   British Airways Denies Cello Entry Due to Visa Requirement We've covered carrying your viola with you on flights before, but this takes that discussion to a whole new level. British Airways apparently denied cabin entry to a cellist because although she had bought an extra seat for her cello, she needed to get a USA ESTA visa. Talk about ridiculous! An amateur Swiss-based cellist has claimed she was refused entry to a British Airways flight from Zurich to Baltimore because the extra seat

1408, 2016

6 Best Viola Mutes

A viola mute is a small accessory, usually made of rubber, that attaches to the bridge of a viola and "mutes" the viola by dampening the higher notes. This makes the sound much more mellow than usual. Below we'll discuss the best viola mutes you can buy. Mutes are used throughout many classical pieces and places where mutes are required are usually notated with a "con sordino" or "con sord." for short which means "on mute." When a mute needs to be removed, the music will state "senza sordino" which means "off mute." Segment of viola piece requiring a mute Composers

1108, 2016

The 10 Worst Things About Playing Viola

Considering taking up the viola this year? Think again. Classic FM did a great job summarizing why playing the viola might not be the best choice for you. Violists are often tormented because no one understands why they exist. It's certainly an existential crisis for many violists. Of course, the rampant spread of viola jokes has not helped violists gain any traction in the orchestra. They are still viewed as the bastard stepchildren of the orchestra destined to wither in the middle of the orchestra from mediocrity. But anyway, as I said, Classic FM pinpointed the struggles we violists face in

708, 2016

Why I Chose Viola

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

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